Il Nome (1987)

Duration – 14’40”
Recording – Judith Bettina, soprano

Il Nome is a work for soprano and computer-realized sounds. It was composed in 1987 for Judith Bettina whose voice is also the basis for some of the computer-realized materials. The piece is a setting of two texts, Il Nome de Maria Fresu, by Andrea Zanzotto and a fragment from the libretto of Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo by Alessandro Striggio. Zanzotto composed his short poem in response to the August 1980 bombing of the train station in Bologna, Italy by neo-fascist terrorists that killed 84 people. Maria Fresu was one of those lost in the bombing but whose body was never identified. The two texts contrast and compliment one another; the harshly ironic objectivity of the Zanzotto text depicting the mindless anonymity of the act on the one hand, the sad lament of Orfeo after the death of Euridice evoking the reality of the human loss on the other. The Zanzotto text is mostly fragmented in this setting and not sung straight through until near the end of the piece while the Striggio text is presented intact and is the basis the middle of the piece. The work was composed at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) at Stanford University and premiered there in 1988.