Caterina Rossato

Daily study (Felix Mendelssohn, Prelude op.104 no.12, in B minor), 5’ 45’’, 2008

Do you think music has a relationship with its execution and its visual aspects?
I often watch the video of Wilhelm Kempff concert where he plays the Beethoven’s Sonata op.31 no.2.

Kempff attacks the third movement with half-closed eyes: first theme in D minor. Then, he locks them suddenly, just before the introduction of the second theme in A minor. Then he lowers them on the keyboard, on those calm hands, skillful in their craft. On ending his performance, Kempff finally opens his eyes and, with a blank stare, he gazes off beyond the grand piano, beyond the TV filming and the backstage, completely forgetful of the moment. As far as the eye can see.

Only on seeing such images I’m certain that Kempff isn’t really in that concert hall. I wish I could have been there just to breathe some of that atmosphere of Absolute, which, I’m sure, he had his lungs full of. Just to catch a glimpse of the reflection of what was capturing his gaze.

During a listening, how is significant the context?
I was walking to work in a hurry, hardly making my way through the crowd of tourists of a typical Sunday morning in Venice, with those few hours of sleep weighing on my shoulders like stones, holding an umbrella in one hand and my purse in the other, trying to keep my change of clothes from getting wet. On turning the corner, I heard a feeble and broken flute tune coming from one of the windows of the upper floors. Most likely just an exercise among others, a weekly assignment for compulsory education music class.

Years later, I can still sense the boredom and uncertainty behind those notes, the smell of damp in the street, mixed with the odor of brackish canal water.

I believe it was just the unfavorable circumstance I was finding myself in that pushed those sounds so powerfully into my mind, that carved them into my memories, despite their banality. Such an accidental chance confirmed my certainty for which those notes belonged to me even before I came across them. They weren’t but the evidence of a latent state, of its perfect caricature.

What is the role of a listener?
The Mechanics of Quantum theory states that an observer plays a fundamental role since, through his act of watching, he activates one of the possible versions of reality. For this reason, the existence of measurable physical magnitudes can make sense only if observable.

This is the role of a listener: he can activate a sound, which gains a meaning only when heard. The listener makes it possible for music to reveal itself in one of its several values.