Most recent works
Written for the extraordinary soloist Leila Josefowicz, DUENDE. The Dark Notes, for violin and orchestra, was jointly commissioned by SR Sweedish Radio, RAI Orchestra and the BBC Proms in 2013.
It was well worth the wait. As the title suggests, Francesconi’s concerto takes the idea of the Duende, the dark, demonic spirit of flamenco, as its starting point, but the music never seems simplistically pictorial or programmatic. Instead, with the violin as protagonist, the five movements (the last two merged seamlessly together) evoke a threatening world of extremes, of heightened emotions and dramatically contrasted colours and registers. The orchestra weaves febrile webs around solo writing whose cracked arpeggios and steep scales manage to be more or less traditionally virtuosic within musical contexts that are anything but conventional, especially in the ferocious cadenza at the heart of the final movement.
Andrew Clements, The Guardian
Commissioned by the Teatro alla Scala for the Strauss cycle, Dentro non ha tempo, for large orchestra, is dedicated to Luciana Abbado Pestalozza; it was performed at the Scala on 14 June 2014 under the baton of Esa Pekka Salonen.
Vertical Invader, concerto grosso for reed quintet and orchestra was written for the Calefax Rietkwintet . On May 23 2015 was premiered at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam with the Radio Filharmonisch Orkest under the direction of Osmo Vänskä.
It’s a “quest for transparency and the elimination of the mass of redundancy that is present today both in contemporary music and in commercial music’. The ‘vertical invader’ to which the title refers is a metaphor for a connection that is true and profoundly desired – as opposed to the false relationships presented by mass media – a synchronicity that in music is as perennially elusive as it is in the world’.
On October 2nd 2015, the WDR Sinfonieorchester Cologne performed the world premiere of Luca Francesconi’s concerto for two pianos, Macchine in Echo, for Grau-Shumaker at the Philharmonie in Cologne, conducted by Peter Rundell.
On October 3rd 2015 at the Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome, Sir Antonio Pappano together with the soprano Pumeza Matshikiza and the Orchestra and Choir of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia, performed the world premiere of Bread, Water and Salt on texts by Nelson Mandela.
Francesconi spiega che il suo pezzo si sviluppa nel respiro tra il coro e la principale parte solistica, interpretata dal soprano sudafricano PumezaMatshikiza:«CanteràinlinguaXhosa, la stessa di Mandela e delle canzoni di Miriam Makeba. Un linguaggio che vive molto nel tramite del corpo, poiché ricco di consonanti che determinano schiocchi e sonorità percussive». «In una sorta di oratorio», prosegue Francesconi, «saranno evocati i passaggi della vita di Mandela, che mise al centro del proprio messaggio universale la dignità umana. Un patrimonio che nessuno, mai, deve offendere, al di là delle differenze di cultura e colore della pelle. Sembrano luoghi comuni, purtroppo. Come la bontà, sentimento fondamentale, capace di salvare coloro ai quali non è stato lasciato nulla, neppure la dignità, condizione esistenzialmente indispensabile. E sono innanzitutto le esigenze primarie del corpo a doverla rispettare. La situazione di enorme dolore degli emigranti, negli scenari disastrosi del presente, mostra quanto brucino questi argomenti».
Das Ding singt for cello and orchestra, commissioned by Lucerne Festival, was premiered on September 2nd 2017 with soloist Jay Campbell and the Orchestra of the Lucerne Festival Academy conducted by Matthias Pintscher. .
Luca Francesconi has a really exciting and fresh way of speaking about music. It’s very visceral and immediate, and this concerto feels that way. It’s incredibly demanding but also has a totally unique beauty to it. It morphs into something special in the last movement, a kind of reference to one of the earliest cello pieces ever written, and the way it emerges from the build up of the previous movements is really cool.
Daedalus for flute and ensemble, was commissioned by Daniel Barenboim Foundation in 2017. The world premiere (Boulez Saal, Berlin) was performed on January 2018 by Emmanuel Pahud and the Boulez Ensemble under the baton of Daniel Barenboim.
Trauma Études, for ensemble, was commissioned by The Library of Congress in Washington DC and performed by Ensemble Signal under the conduction of Brad Lubman. The world premiere was in Washington at the Library of Congress on March 15th 2019.