Inventio for orchestra by Oscar Bianchi, commissioned by musica viva des Bayerischen Rundfunks with the friendly support of the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, will have its world premiere on 2 June 2017 with the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks conducted by Johannes Kalitzke.
Read the interview of Oscar Bianchi by François Dru
Could you tell us how this piece was conceived?
After hearing my cantata, MATRA, and my first string quartet, ADESSO, Winrich Hopp – musica viva's director – asked me to think about an ambitious orchestral work to be premiered by the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. It was 2012, but as all ambitious things need time, we found the best opportunity for a new piece to come to fruition would be summer 2017.
The chosen title introduces an historical reference: Inventio from the Renaissance period combines music and literature, and the Baroque Inventio explores a demonstrative, virtuoso crusade. Do you refer to these in your Inventio?
Inventio is indeed the first part of an orchestral cycle inspired by the Art of Rhetoric. Rhetoric is embraced here, although in political terms: as a pretext to fighting against a recent historical path of reductionism, while nurturing (perhaps as a sort of antidote) the most vivid and anti-ideological form of expression. Today I was talking to Marco Postinghel, BRSO’s solo bassoon, about the irreparable damage done by populist leaders through crushing the role of culture and music in our society. I’ve therefore picked the Art of Rhetoric because in an era of Trumpism and Brexit, where both media manipulation and populism are corroding social cohesion, economic progress and, in general terms, the perception of reality, rediscovering the truthfulness of a discourse, in structured terms, seems to me a worthy and necessary exercise, an obligation – as a creator as much as a citizen – to contribute to a possible redefinition and reset of our moral compass.
How is an orchestra qualified in 2017? Do you think it must now be enlarged?
Thanks to the hard work of my beloved colleagues, both living and deceased, the orchestra in 2017 has become an immensely beautiful and generous space to be explored inside out. I’ve received the touching support of the musicians of BRSO, for instance, to embrace the myriad of extra instruments sometimes included in their parts with dignity and fun. By deduction and association, the orchestra in 2017 is therefore an opportunity to connect with both the roots of sound, and with the roots of written music.
Reading the score, your knowledge of the orchestra seems endless: you request some very precise percussion set models, for example. Where do your passions and references come from?
If you’re referring to the obsessive use of my beloved waldteufel (touché!), I can say that new textural and orchestral ideas are there to be constantly reinvented and reintroduced. My influences span, in fact, from the use of ritualistic instruments (such as bullroarers, waldteufels, friction drums) to the charismatic parts of Lachenmann's “musique concrete instrumentale”.
Your indications on the score are very clear and precise: do you give any freedom to the conductor and players?
Interpretation is more than welcomed; even better, it is necessary! Without it, music would just be a sterile act of reading grammar, without caring about its deepest message or its existential worth.
Could you tell us a little bit about your next projects?
There are some new pieces for Ensemble Modern, London Sinfonietta, Remix Ensemble, Asko│Schoenberg… a third string quartet, musical theatre and possibly new orchestral adventures.
Have a look at the score