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If a sophisticated compositional craft is the harbinger of great things to come in a young composer, then Zosha Di Castri is well on her way to a distinguished future in the art of sound. She is in good company with the other composers on this concert, whose sensitivity to instrumental timbre as a source of profound musical expression is well recognized. Her addition to this approach to composition ensures the continuation of the famous klangfarbe (tone color) techniques of the 20th century into the 21st.
As its title (taken from a short story by the celebrated Italian novelist Italo Calvino) implies, La forma dello spazio (The Form of Space) for flute, clarinet, piano, violin, and cello is about the form or articulation of space via the placement of instrumentalists throughout the hall. This of course allows for the placement of sound gestures to travel through space (and time) to different timbral realizations, combinations, and juxtapositions. There are in all seven shared sound gestures: sustained “chords,” rapidly repeated notes or clusters, “sighing” (portamento) fragments in the extreme high range of the violin, an ascending melodic passage first heard in the violin, glissandos, rapid arpeggios in the winds and piano, and chromatically descending step-wise minor thirds. These gestures give shape not only to the physical space of the hall, but also reveal an overall A-B-C-A1-B1-D/postlude musical form. Each section ends with materials that overlap with the beginning of the next, creating a kinesis of mobile, energized sound. The most prominent or recurring “klang,” a major seventh dyad (D–C-sharp) heard at the very onset, establishes a consistent sonority that, through addition both vertically and melodically, colors and deepens the physical and metaphysical space encircling the audience.
Canadian by birth, composer/pianist Zosha Di Castri currently resides in New York, where she is pursuing a doctorate in composition as a student of Fred Lerdahl. Her works are performed internationally by such ensembles as the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, the Internationale Ensemble Modern Akademie, Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, JACK Quartet, and the Orchestre National de Lorraine.