SERGIO CERVETTI (b.1940): Et in Arcadia ego, Consolamentum, Plexus.
Catalogue Number: 04U051
Label: Navona Records
Description: Three large-scale tone poems, accessible without being in any way simplistic or predictable, by a composer who studied with Krenek, turned away from serialism, explored sonorist and aleatoric techniques, and absorbed elements of minimalism, finally arriving at a powerfully expressive programmatic idiom drawing on the three last styles and with a good deal of approachable tonal-sounding harmony about it. His music is often concerned with metaphysical and spiritual matters, as in the three works here. Et in Arcadia Ego takes its title from Nicolas Poussin's painting, a meditation on mortality in the midst of paradise, and relates it to the composer's childhood memories of the tumult of nature that he experienced on an unspoilt paradisiacal island nature preserve off the coast of his native Uruguay. A overwhelming sonorous and harmonious cacophony of birdsong assails the senses throughout, in post-minimalist repeating gestures, while the core of the work is a rugged and stirring neo-romantic landscape. Consolamentum is based on a sacrament of certain medieval Christian groups that were condemned for heresy under the Inquisition. The work is structured as a solemn chorale built on two alternating chords that accumulate texture, weight and increasingly dissonant and obsessively strident embellishments, leading to a vehement climax before achieving a kind of grand but unsettled, ambiguous resolution. Plexus was written in 1970, when the composer was experimenting with aleatory, sonorism and graphic notation. The piece builds an increasingly complex and discordant network of overlapping fragments, which is abruptly dismissed and replaced by strident fanfares and a kind of minimalist accompaniment. The final section resolves the work into an increasingly tonal vocabulary reminiscent of Consolamentum. Cervetti revised Plexus in 2016, removing some rather dated effects, and this is probably when the solemn, elevated coda was added. Moravian Philhamonic Orchestra; Petr Vronský.