Cd BIAGIO PUTIGNANO – Archivi del XXI° Secolo



MARKUS KREUL piano / piano “rodhes”


01.    commentario a margine
(sul n°6 dell’op.11 di A. Schoenberg)

02.    commentario a forma di glossa
(su “Frammento d’Autunno” di A. Gentilucci)

03.    commentario concentrico
(su 4’33’’ di J. Cage)

04.    commentario anamorfotico
(sul III Klavierstück di K.H. Stockhausen)

05.    commentario interlineare
(su “invenzione a due voci” di I. Fedele)

06.    nuvole elettriche (2009)
for piano “fender rodhes”
(commentario su “vogel als prophet” di R. Schumann)

“Cinque Commentari” for piano by Biagio Putignano

The Latin term Commentarius derives from the word “commentus” (“what is recalled to mind “). Among the ancient Romans Commentarius is a memoir, a book in support of the memory (the most famous within this kind of books are those written by Julius Caesar, “De bello Gallico” and “De bello civile”). It is only with the Alexandrian philologists that the word Commentarius is used to give an explanation or interpretation of a text. The commentary is therefore a literary genre in form of prose with educational and / or interpretation purpose. In order to make them more understandable, the sacred texts (Vedanta, the Koran, the New and the Old Testament) are primarily commented, and secondarily philosophical, legal and literary texts. The texts founding for a tradition need a “commentus”, because in their role they would not want to remain ambiguous. Dark and twisted passages require a more extensive discussion. The rare words are annotated, the complex expressions unraveled in paraphrases, the concise poetic verses explained prosaically, the puzzles interpreted. Comment is a text whose reason to be lies in another text, often written by an eminent authority (for example there were many comments to Aristotle and Dante’s Comedia). With the comment we express clearly the unsaid, what is behind or between the lines. A piece of music can be commented in words, but often very badly. It is with the sounds themselves that a musical composition can be commented at best. As argued by Luciano Berio, ” for a composer the best way to analyze and comment on something is to do something using the same material that you want to analyze and comment. The most profitable comment to symphonies and operas has always been another symphony and another work.” The third movement of Berio’s Sinfonia is intended as a scholar and visionary comment of the Scherzo from the Mahler Second Symphony (Resurrrezione). And the series of Berio’s Chemins are explicitly considered the commentaries of some of its sequences. The starting point of a composition is often another composition (or group of compositions). From the parody mass to the great romantic paraphrases, from the classic variations on a theme to the quotation technique of Stravinsky, and so on until plunder phonics: the use of existing materials is a prevalent practice in all ages, through which the composer creates a continuous dialectic between his music and that of the past. Although the commentary does not represent a form in itself, it can be considered as a particular form of change: free, less binding, in which the critical-interpretive and imaginative contribution to the commentator is more pronounced.

The “Cinque Commentari” (2002/2004) for piano by Biagio Putignano represent an attempt at creative exegesis, where decisive is the addition, the invention (and reinvention), the expansion of the plot. For this reason Renzo Cresti referring to the “Cinque Commentari” speaks of a modern revival of the ancient practice of trope. The Latin term commentus means invention. The five pieces commented by Putignano are only the start point of the poetic process, it is the fomite of the musical imagination  and of the furious composer’s craft, that proliferates from within the basic materials, most of the times lushing. Each of the Commentaries has its own particular specificity (Also in doing this the composer is very inventive): the first is at the margin (on the sixth of Arnold Schoenberg‘s Sechs kleine Klavierstücke Op. 19 ), the second is in the shape of glossa (on Fragment of Autumn by Armando Gentilucci), the third is concentric (on John Cage’s 4’33”), the fourth is anamorphic (on the Karlheinz Stockhausen’s  Klavierstück III), the fifth is interlinear (on the “Invenzione a due voci” by Ivan Fedele). The commented pieces are five piano miniatures, that for their aphoristic and poetic character are suitable to be troped and interpreted. Even their choice is significant. Three of them are key works in the modern music: the feral and hallucinated page by Schoenberg was written in 1911 under the vivid impression of the death of Gustav Mahler, and it is one of figurative pieces of the atonal music. 4’33”(1952) is the manifesto of Cage´s poetry, composed imagining the zen concept of emptiness (and the white paintings of Robert Rauschenberg): here what is proposed in the Commentario “Concentric” by Putignano is rather daring. Comment on the silence (impossible), overlapping to the time frame its isochronous consisting in the explorations of timbre – “colorings” of silence (or ” colored silences,” to use a terminology coming from Stockhausen) -around the piano, the “sound machine”. Klavierstück III (also written in 1952) is the shortest piece ever written by Stockhausen, and can be considered as an emblem of the so-called punctualism of the early fifties. In the fourth commentary the abstract “Tonordnung” becomes without form, as seen through a prism: the sonic points texture of the original is enlarged and projected, resulting in unexpected sounds, tonally rich and bright. The two remaining commentaries (the second and fifth) are dedicated to Putignano’s two countrymen, Armando Gentilucci (who was also one of Putignano’s teacher) and Ivan Fedele, both natives of Lecce and later transplanted in Milan.

In addition to Five Commentaries (2002/2004) for piano, the rich Putignano’s catalog includes two other works in which the word “Commentario” comes in the title (or subtitle), the first before and the second after  this cycle: “Commentario a variante” (2002) on a theme by O. De Lillo, for cello and piano;

Nuvole elettriche” (2009) for Fender Rhodes piano (a particular kind of electric piano) on Robert Schumann’s “Vogel als Prophet”,  written on invitation by the pianist Markus Kreul for the bicentenary of the composer’s birth.  As part of Putignano’s poetic  the commentary is to be considered as an established technique, that maturing over the time expanded and transformed itself from the inside, adapting itself from time to time to the different pieces, situations and materials.

In this sense also other Putignano’s compositions has to be intended as commentaries, even though they are not specifically named as such. For example: Traduzioni a calco (2008) for orchestra (re-elaboration of fragments from works by Nono, Berio, Varese, Boulez and Donatoni) and Metabole dell’estasi (2007) for violin, clarinet in B-B flat, cello and piano (on: Fouillis d´arcs-en-ciel, pour l’Ange qui annonce la fin du Temps “, the seventh movement of Quatuor pour la fin du Temps by Olivier Messiaen). It is therefore clear that the practice of the commentary along with the concepts of “forming form” and “formed form” are at the center of the current musical thinking of Biagio Putignano. It is not to rule out that in future the solar composition forge of the master from Lecce will provide us with new Commentaries …

(by Leopoldo Siano – Translation by Antonella Di Giulio)


Leopoldo Siano in 2006 he earned his degree in musicology (laurea) at the Università degli Studi di Roma “Tor Vergata” with the thesis Opera ultima – opera postuma: Lou Salomé di Giuseppe Sinopoli. Prospettive nietzscheane tra Mahler, Berg e Strawinsky. In 2008 he completed his musicological studies (laurea specialistica) at the Università degli studi di Pavia (Facoltà di musicologia di Cremona), writing the thesis Karlheinz Stockhausen: teoria e prassi compositiva (1951–1961). From 2006 he regularly attended the Stockhausen-Kurse Kürten. Since 2009 he has been living in Cologne, where he is writing his doctoral dissertation on KLANG Die 24 Stunden des Tages, the last and unfinished cycle of Karlheinz Stockhausen. He gave papers at International Conferences and is active as a freelance lecturer. In 2011 he founded the LICHT-Kreis at the University of Cologne, in order to discuss the Stockhausen’s cycle from an interdisciplinary perspective. Besides the Stockhausen’s oeuvre, his actual research fields cover the 20th- and 21th-century music, the acusmatic tradition, the work of Jean-Claude Eloy, music and visual arts, music and ritual.

Biagio Putignano. Since the late 1980s Biagio Putignano’s composition style has been produced in a book in which the absolute rigour and the result of tireless formal research aim to explore and investigate every minimal physical- psychological aspect of the sound and of the absence of sound, in which the amazing ability to evoke emotions through a particular lyricalism merges, aspects rather rare in our age, where experimentations are often the result of a formal exercise. The rarefied atmosphere, where the concept of time is constantly questioned, the refined investigation of timbres and the lucid innovation of the articulation techniques are all characteristics supported by solid philosophical reflections. That of Putignano is a semantic path, where the most advanced musical theories intersect with mathematics, physics, philosophy, psychology, poetry and oriental disciplines. In recent times the composer has devoted particular attention to the concept of emptiness and silence, place and instant where space and time lose their boundaries thanks to the epiphany of sound in its vibrant purity of sense and energy”. (by Paolo Truzzi)

Markus Kreul discovered as the “new star in musical heavens” (Münchner Merkur) was born in Bonn and received his first piano lesson at the age of eleven. He studied piano at the Music Academies of Cologne and Munich. He was repeatedly awarded the first prize in the German youth competition “Jugend musiziert” and also won the following international piano contests: Città di Tortona – Trophy Kawai, “Jupiter” in Genua including the extraordinary Beethoven-award and IBLA Grand Prize Italy/USA. Markus performs throughout Europe and since 2009 also makes regular appearances in the USA. In the “European Project Chamber Music” he holds classes for young highly gifted eastern European students, and regularly master classes in Germany, Denmark, Italy and Greece. He is the artistic director of the European Chamber Music Workshop Altomünster/Germany. In January 2009 Markus was appointed honorary member of the German-Italian Institute for his outstanding artistic performance and his contribution to the cultural alliance between Germany and Italy. Various composers have written works for which he has given first perfomances; a close cooperation connects Markus with the italian composer Biagio Putignano. For Markus bringing “classical music” to children and young people is of special importance, whether it be through audio books, workshops or concerts in schools.