The song “S’i fosse foco” for solo female voice and electronics by contemporary Italian composer Nicoletta Andreuccetti is a masterful demonstration of texture and restraint to demonstrate transformation. She dwells on the first three words of Cecce Angliolieri’s classic sonnet of the same name for the first 40% of the piece. “S’i fosse” (roughly “If I were”) is repeated again and again to call your attention to the meaning of the words. Even the first three words undergo their own process of shapeshifting as Andreuccetti finds such diverse ways of treating the consonants and vowels. In this restraint, she actually makes the message of her writing more clear and, as a consequence, more poignant.
Just like in the sonnet where Cecco describes what he would do if he were to be fire, water, pope, death, etc., Andreuccetti is calling attention to how she will adapt this idea by allowing the voice to take many forms through electronic manipulation and layering. The piece continuously explores different textures of music that can be created from voice and electronics: it is at times percussive, at other times melodic, and becomes harmonic and even atmospheric with the help of electronics. Tangible silences serve as another transformation of both voice and electronics that bring a perfect sense of balance and pacing to the piece.
I had not heard any of Andreuccetti’s music before tonight, but I’m very excited to hear more of it in the future! Hope you all enjoy this piece as much as I did.