Simone Beneventi: percussionist


performance of unusual percussions, evocative in name and substance: ancient gongs, mechanics and objects of both sound and visual suggestion.


– Luigi Ceccarelli, TITANIC & ICARUS S.P.A. (1984 – rev. 2020) for a percussionist and 4 vibration exciters, 18’

“Titanic & Icarus s.p.a. it is a work composed with process of layering. It starts from a magnetic tape on which signals obtained from a synthesis of sinusoidal sounds are stored. These oscillations couldn’t be heard, but they are sent to four vibrating exciters which vibrate three cymbals and a tam-tam. With this system, percussions take unusual characteristics: sounds of a very pure spectrum and without attack with the possibility of obtaining notes of different pitches. Within this self-sufficient “machine”, the percussionist’s action is not aimed at generating further sounds, but at varying the present ones, placing various types of sticks on the vibrating body that will give a different tonal characteristic depending on the type of material that they make up. The result of these operations is then detected by a series of microphones placed very close to the instruments and sent to a quadraphonic listening system.” (L.C.)

– Mario Bertoncini, ALLELUIA (1982) for 8 gongs (7 ancient Japanese + 1 Paiste gong of 70 cm) played on a grand piano mechanic. 1 performer, 12’

“In 1968 I was in Greece in the Meteora area in Thessaly among these weird little monasteries perched on a huge stone and one day I heard a wonderful ringing of bells. I approached the monk who was making these incredible sounds and I saw that the bell was instead a slab of very hard wood, harder than rosewood, harder than teak I don’t know what it was, it had an incredible almost metallic resonance. He produced very rapid rhythms like a repeated invocation, and I said “I have to do this too!”. This is the background. In Alleluia, a set of 8 gongs arranged horizontally, in a semicircle, and supported by a rotating structure, is set in vibration by the mechanical system of a grand piano. The very rapid and precise piano percussive execution ‹of polyrhythmic figures, the variable angle of incidence of the hammers produced by the rotation, thanks to the resonance of the gongs, generate an incessant and changing flow of sound timbres” (M.B.)

– Thomas Meadowcroft, PLAIN MOVIN LANDFILL (2003) installation-concert for a percussionist and 8 lo-fi audio tracks placed in the environment, 14’

“It’s inspired by the various layers found at open garbage sites in rural Australia. Each small town in Australia has a small ‘tip’ where trash is dumped, the collective environmental subconscious of the town’s inhabitants. A landfill is a place where rubbish is dumped, buried, lined with plastic and covered with grass or other light vegetation. As a slow yet nonetheless dynamic process, all the carious stages of construction of a landfill are often visible at one site: from open piles of fresh rubbish to complete ‘rolling plains’. Plain Moving Landfill was modelled on landfill design insofar as one keep adding material (or rubbish) and yet come with the same finished form everytime. In turn, the piece consists of little isolated bits and pieces for percussion solo which are dumped together into a short hand score used in performance. PML uses found materials as musical objects. The art of instrument ‘recycling’ is fundamental to the development of percussion instrumentation. Here, a ‘poorman’s harmonium’ has been constructed using melodicas, hose and foot pumps. PML uses an array of speakers of different audio quality where ‘the old and the new’ coexist peacefully. PML was inspired by Sunday morning trips as a child to the landfill site on the edge of town. Memories of first wondering about what we do with all our ‘stuff’, the art of landfill construction and waste burial, remain ‘moving’”. (T.M.)

– Mario Bertoncini, TUNE (1965) for one or more series of 5 suspended cymbals (and tape, for solo version), variable duration

“I started in 1962/63 to experiment by extracting continuous sounds both from idiophone instruments, especially cymbals, and from the piano, with different techniques that I found and then brought into the GINC (Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza). The title means song or song in English. There is an allusion to this possible phonic interpretation that emerges from this, let’s say, alternative way – for that time – of treating the instrument. In these pages, all these events are noted to be performed only once, choosing the path freely but in harmony with the criterion of informal, non-repetition and total asymmetry, absolute irregularity. The most interesting form is to pop this ductus, make it explode. It is necessary to understand where events begin and to choose an interior, musical, not bizarre time. You have to consider a reading in a progressive sense, choose your speed, count if you want, slow down or accelerate as you like but always following the suggestion of the gesture that is noticed, written.” (M.B.)

– Alexander Knaifel, SOLARIS (1980) fragment of Canticum Eternum for 35 brest gongs, 12’

“In the late ’70s, fascinated by the masterpiece novel of philosophical fiction of Stanislaw Lem, Solaris, I had the idea of creating a musical transposition. I talked about it with Stanisław who, hilariously confessing his lack of musical skills, agreed encouraging me to carry out my project.”

“Solaris – the tuning fork for the breath of our consciousness’ mystery, it’s incomprehensibility and indestructible oneness.” (A.K.)

Solaris, the great living planet endowed with a conscious ability to react, linked to the apparitions of ghosts, living projections of nightmares, dreams and fantasies. A thrilling adventure full of anticipation and mystery. But it could also be called an epistemological adventure, in the sense that it presents to the lens of reflection an enormous number of questions that inhabit the branches of philosophy. Among them, the most suggestive seems to be the theme of Identity, of the Subject, of the Ego. There is no single ego identical to itself. Each is an archipelago of Io, and each of the islands of this archipelago moves towards the ego that contains them, like a parallel universe.