Ospedaletto for cello and fixed media

Ospedaletto for cello and fixed media

While I was in residence as a fellow at the American Academy in Rome, I developed a keen interest in the relationship between music and architectural spaces. With Ospedaletto I explore three spaces within the complex known as Ospedaletto in Venezia. The Ospedaletto isa building that hasgone through many transitions. One of its most notable functions was as an orphanagein the 16thand 17thcenturies.During that time, the girl orphans were taught music and their choir became very well known for its exceptional performances.Many composers were known to have written for them, and in fact, Niccolo Porpora worked as a director there for three years.*When I visited the place, I wasfirst led into a large cathedral, then through a hospital lobby, then out into a courtyard. I was told that the courtyard was the only place the girls were allowed to play outside. Across the courtyard, I was ledup some stairs and finally into the Saladella Musica (the music room)where the girls use to performtheir concerts.When composing my piece I used the cathedral, the courtyard, and the music room as a spring board for deriving the material for the piece, not just in terms of musical ideas, but also in terms of physical space and how sound would work in each space. I did not use a narrative approach, instead my approachwas to create a sort of cubistic representation of the Ospedaletto to attempt to create a whole consciousness of the buildingincluding its modern and historical usage.I created a more fragmented presentation but one that used music to stitch the rooms together.

 

Charles Norman Mason's "Ospedaletto," composed during his Rome Prize residency, was the spirited closer. Intricately-woven computer-generated sounds bounced off the hard surfaces with delightful abandon....suggestions of bells and chirping birds brought humor to this light-hearted, cleanly-rendered piece. ...the recorded sounds worked to emphasize the live element.Michael Heubner, Birmingham News, September 3, 2009