This Cantata was born from the emotion, the pain, the persistence of memory around a story of labor and death, the burning of the ThyssenKrupp Steel plant of Turin in 2007. It interlaces and overlaps three languages: poetry, music and images.
The text. Giorgio Luzzi
It is a sequence of 121 free verses, divided into seven sections of variable length and oriented to face each different aspects, private and public, elegiac and civilians, documented in the period immediately following the event and under the influence of different forms of emotion aroused by the news and images of the tragedy. There are intertwined public and private elements, inclusions of items given to the author by witnesses and survivors, a disdain controlled by reason and piety led by the right to justice.
The music. Adriano Guarnieri
A secular requiem in memoriam. The plant itself of the instruments dislocation dramaturgically explains the musical and "sonologic" structure of the cantata. "The mournful screech of steel" is the key verse of the composition. It is entrusted to the choir on tape and from the beginning it is spread over the room from eight contemporary sources, while slothful stabbing screechings musically wrap that same verse which literary explains the happened tragedy. The episodic sequence of the cantata runs in seven parts, mirror of the seven episodes of the text. To connect these seven episodes there is a deus ex machina: the cello. It is always soloistic from beginning to end and between one episode and the other has its own lyrical interlude. It is the symbol of a taut line, throbbing and aching, that winds throughout the cantata dialoguing always with the soprano representing an imaginary dialogue between the workers of the tragedy and the audience in the hall. So it is a requiem or passion of man that is modeled on Bach's passions.
The images. CONTROLUCE Teatro d'Ombre
Alongside the music of Adriano Guarnieri and the words of Giorgio Luzzi on a so dramatic and terrible theme as the incident of the Thyssen steel plant in Turin, the shadows -metafore of unconsciousness, fears and dreams that reveal hidden aspects of reality- serve as unusual raw material for images which become memento, icon and crying funeral. Collected by a large taut screen-shroud, space of memory and pain, the shadows become one with the other elements of the cantata finding a consonance between the bright interstices of the score and the dark depths of the words.
From the presentation article on La Repubblica 3/12/2014:
"In our secular Requiem music, voices and shadows narrate the agony and the memory of those poor victims. It's those deaths that give us the strength to understand, that tell us where to go: In front of a tragedy such as the Thyssen one silence can not prevail". So the composer Adriano Guarnieri tell the thinking behind "The mournful screech of steel", the scenic cantata on a text by Giorgio Luzzi which debuted December 4, 2014 premiered at the Teatro Astra, seven years after the fire which caused the death of seven workers, shortly after midnight on 6 December 2007. "The scenic cantata is what once was the opera. From the text of Luzzi, much larger, we chose seven episodes that reflect on what happened in a dreamlike way, now civil now poetic. In the music there is lyricism, cantabile form, polyphony, with the voice of the soprano Sonia Visentini singing live, and with her voice recorded and processed becoming a choir of four voices. There is also the Icarus Ensemble directed by Pietro Borgonovo and live electronics for spatial sound. it is a secular Requiem bursting in textural and lyrical moments in which the cello is a common thread and the civil theme, which I felt very strong on me, is that in Italy every day somebody die on the job place."
"The realism would be intolerable, shadows evoke, suggest emotions and moments of the cantata's seven sections -explains Alberto Jona who, with Cora De Maria and Jenaro Melendrez Chas, that is CONTROLUCE Teatro d'Ombre, oversaw the staging- It is a kind of ritual that takes place on an empty white stage which could be an industrial space. There is a screen that is a shroud that is going to tear; behind it the shadows and a dancer who represents the seven victims. In front of the shroud moves the actress Michela Mocchiutti who is the memory of the city. Scattered on the scene as totems the musicians define the space of memory. Besides two large steel plates that will be beaten by the percussionist are hanging: those plates are the presence of steel and they will become red-hot"