Gianfranco Pernaiachi

Ora

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AllMusic Review by

From Renzo Cresti's liner notes: "Pernaiachi makes silence sacred: it is a silence charged with all silences. It is a flaming silence." The cult of silence (the composer describes himself as "cultivating silence") spread out in avant-garde music at the turn of the century, even though it had been present for much longer (John Cage's "4'33" is the obvious reference to make). ORA runs for exactly two hours (spread over two CDs). It consists of completely silent passages, isolated sounds, and stretches of sounds. Whenever something is heard it appears just at the threshold of audibility. Sounds that are featured for longer periods of time (like a crackling bonfire in "Parts 1" and "6") tend to disappear into the normal background noise of your home -- despite all the efforts you make to quiet things down. It is all intentional. Pernaiachi places sounds (all nature-related, by the way) only to shed light on the role silence plays in the piece. It becomes an exercise in meditation and transcendence of one's expectations. The composer encourages the listener to listen at low volume and has split the work into six parts so that they can be rearranged at will. Poems by Pernaiachi and diagrams of the piece give flesh to this music that is not there. ORA is a unique experience that runs further down that road than anything else this reviewer has heard (including the music of Bernhard Günter, Taku Sugimoto, and Radu Malfatti).

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