Sottoposto a peer review

Andrea Agostini, gli atomi che si accendevano e radiavano,
for barytone saxophone and live electronics: from the neutral to the poietic level

Fabio De Sanctis De Benedictis

Nuove Musiche Numero 7 - 2020, pagine: 67-90
DOI 10.12871/97888333972144 | @ Pisa University Press 2023
Pubblicato: 20 maggio 2023


This contribution takes in consideration the composition gli atomi che si accendevano e radiavano by the Italian composer Andrea Agostini, for barytone saxophone and live electronics. The work is analyzed from the point of view of the neutral and poietic levels, this latter thanks to composer’s personal communications and materials.

About the neutral level, the score, the Max/MSP patch and the audio materials are considered. Certain formal proportions, the use of musical figures – both in the instrumental part and in the live electronics treatment – and a pitch space characterized by references, polarizations and invariants are therefore detected. The comparison with the poietic level invalidates the initial hypothesis of pitch material deduced from spectral composition techniques; the pitches do not have a predetermined organization, except for some points: an Open Music patch is used, to create «mostly ascending diatonic sequences with a rough controllable level of irregularity». The composer confirms the use of musical figures, the form teleologically conducted towards the section after the instrumental cadence, and the multiphonics ordered from low to high.

The poietic level confirms most of the observations made through the analysis of the neutral level. This latter alone, however, should be unable to identify neither the derivation of gli atomi from a previous project, nor the use of algorithmic composition. Conversely, some proportional observations on the score are not part of the composer’s original project, thus enriching what detected at the poietic level. The need, where possible, to use an analytical approach that embraces both levels is confirmed. The composition appears well structured and integrated into European music tradition.

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