Cassiopeia is a 2016/17 project consisting of three short pieces for piano. The title piece and starting point of the project is an arrangement of a piece for piano, cello and voice, I had written in collaboration with Mazza Claverie in 2015 entitled “La Nouvelle étoile de Cassiopée”.
The piece revolved around the theme of death and mourning, and I decided to keep this central idea to compose the two additional pieces, "Sogno 1" and "Sogno 2".
I believe there are some Arvo Pärt influences, especially in the way I shaped the different voices. Since the theme of these pieces is centred around spirituality and somehow astronomy, it felt natural for me to draw my inspiration from some of his works.
Cassiopeia follows the path of Angles in the fact that these are very calm pieces, played softly and gently.
The opening piece "Sogno 1" is a miniature piece, written under a set of particular rules. Firstly, I decided to limit myself to a hundred notes in total. There is also an ostinato or repeated pattern which acts as a sort of cycle of life. Above it floats musical elements - not much of a melody, but rather punctuations reminding us of how events appear and disappear in our lives.
The closing piece "Sogno 2" is an inversion of "Sogno 1". The way we might rewind an old tape and hear the music being played in reverse. It is exactly the same composition played in reversed horizontally, but also vertically since both hands are reversed. The result is a brand new piece, reminding us of the first one, however a piece on its own too.
The title piece "Cassiopeia" has been composed with a two step approach. First, I wanted to settle the element of life, which is taken care of by the left hand. It takes that idea of cycle again, and revolves around a simple four chord progression. I wanted to have that static quality to it, with few evolution, as a parallel to the background of life. Then over it I have added four voices, that come and disappear on their own. Each one of them is related to the other, and at the same time a voice of its own. Some of them are more important than the others, but all of them play a crucial role in the development of the piece. In the same way people appear and disappear in one’s life, and events happen and leave space for the next ones.
For performers, there would be a tendency to rush time, but it is important to give each life events some time to settle and disappear on its own.
This music is probably the most spiritual I have written so far. It is associated with a philosophical meaning, and although those pieces can be enjoyed and interpreted, I feel like understanding the meaning behind them will help the listener in this short musical journey.