L'Ora di Barga
L'Ora di Barga, based on a poem of the same name by Giovanni Pascoli, was written in the early summer of 2012, a commission from the city of Barga as part of their celebration of the 100th anniversary of the poet. It was premiered in Barga on the 14th October 2012.
Giovani Pascoli is so closely linked with Barga that in this 100th anniversary year of his death, it seems most appropriate to set the words of this important poem. And so I have chosen soprano and piano to be the vehicle, acting as a compliment to the baritone and piano setting of Dall'Alba al Tramonto that I made some years ago. What attracted me to the latter was that it encapsulated so many aspects of Pascoli's life, loves, and experiences. But L'Ora di Barga is so interesting because while containing these elements they are much more subtle and hidden. Add to this my own reflections of Barga and the result is a piece that is a blend of the two.
Naturally in such a setting it is impossible to ignore the importance and influence of the bells of the duomo of Barga, and as with Dall'Alba al Tramonto they appear throughout - sometimes from afar (as they would be heard from Pascoli's house), and sometimes closer and more dramatic; their variation of character is considerable both in this piece and in reality. But equally prominent is the line 'È l'ora; È tardi'. I have given this different interpretations, not least as a phrase of great drama, something reflecting the closure of life as much as simply hearing the bells. But gradually this piece transforms, from the more nervous and dissonant to the warmth that both Pascoli and Barga has in abundance.