Georg Friedrich Haas received the Franco Abbiati Music Critics Award 2020 for Musiche per Matera
. Multiple world premieres took place during an exceptional music event in the Italian city of Matera, last year’s European Capital of Culture.
We took the opportunity to reflect on the event together with Giovanni Pompeo, the project’s mastermind and Artistic Director of LAMS (Laboratorio Arte Musica e Spettacolo). In this interview, he tells us about the challenges of his project and his impressions on working alongside Georg Friedrich Haas.
with Giovanni Pompeo, artistic director of LAMS
Musiche per Matera was an extraordinary musical event that required a lot of imagination and preparation from all the parties involved. How did you prepare the project and why did you invite Georg Friedrich Haas to create the music?
The project was conceived many years ago, when the company of which I am the artistic director (the LAMS of Matera) won the tender for Matera-Basilicata 2019 Foundation for the proposal and development of innovative and internationally valued projects for the year 2019, that of Matera European Capital of Culture. I meant to create a great unique and original musical event born in Matera and for Matera, gathering local musicians and a world-class composer. A project that was unique and original, sensational and that could therefore project my city and my society on the international context. I already knew and deeply loved Haas' music, so what better opportunity to invite him to create together something absolutely powerful, visionary, unique and original? Together with Vincenzo Santarcangelo we then started seeking out the Maestro: after writing to the institutional emails we had, in the end we tracked him down thanks to his wife, Mollena Williams-Haas while they were on holiday in Israel, in the Negev desert ( it was Christmas 2017!). I introduced myself, and illustrated the idea and the total connection with Matera, and it has been so natural to accept the commissioning.
Performance of MATERA PER SEMPRE: MARCIA DISCENDENTE – MARCIA ASCENDENTE in Matera
Could you tell us a little bit more about meeting and working alongside Haas on this event?
We spent many months discussing several aspects of the project: the basic ideas, the meaning, the connection with places and local artists to employ. This last aspect was not trivial: it would have been easier to involve an ensemble specialized in contemporary music, but we strongly longed for Lucanian musicians to have this great opportunity to make music with one of the greatest composers of our times. The time the Maestro spent in Matera in November 2018 was fundamental: a dozen days to explore the Sassi and the city, the nearby places (the Abbey of Montescaglioso), making hypothesis on different plans and executive structures, linking the music to write (and the staff) to the many places visited and deemed suitable for the performances. We spent much time together (although Haas often preferred to be alone wandering in the Sassi, early in the morning), and there were moments of strong creative tension, until one morning everything cleared up. From that moment, he started creating his composition and he entrusted me (after "testing" me) also the responsibility for the "general artistic direction" of his works: we therefore started 4 months before the scheduled date for performing the rehearsals with the musicians, who reacted with enthusiasm to a completely new “act of composition”.
The event included 6 concerts at 6 sites in the historical city of Matera, so the town was almost literally filled with music for the whole day. How did the citizens react to this complete immersion into the music?
Indeed, on the evening of September 21, 2019, wherever you moved in the city center you were "compelled" to deal with Haas's music! It was incredible to be able to perceive the attraction, I would say magnetic, of his music on the audience: about 1000 spectators (also making long lines to enter the different places) have thus experienced Haas's music, they have totally immersed themselves in it, by being surprised of how it could be so "powerful" and inclusive: in short, all the opposite of what the vulgata (common opinion) attributes to contemporary music. This was probably the greatest satisfaction, even greater than the prizes awarded: having presented the great contemporary music to a large and heterogeneous audience, who appreciated it too much. This gives us such a boost and motivation to go on with our high-quality and innovative projects.
Read more about Musiche per Matera
in the travel report
by Dr. Silke Hilger, General Manager of Ricordi Berlin.
Photos: Stefan Fuhrer (Haas), Dr. Silke Hilger (Matera)