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Iri da Iri, is a small line taken from Dante’s Divine Comedy: Paradiso, Canto XXXIII, a work that influenced me greatly extramusically. The juxtaposition, opposition and friction between light and darkness were the initial inspiration for the music.

There are two levels of connection to be made: one is the spirit of Dante’s work and the other is in the word rainbow itself, as revealed by the title: Iri da Iri, Rainbow from rainbow. The word rainbow has several connotations, both literal and metaphorical. In association with the story of Noah, a rainbow is a sign of hope revealed after a storm. As such, it is a symbol of tranquillity, beauty and calmness after a time of trial, the spirit that this work tries to capture. Scientifically, a rainbow is an arch of light that displays the spectrum colours in their order, a beautiful phenomenon to witness. It is caused by drops of water falling through the air. The raindrops act as tiny prisms, bending and reflecting the different colours of light back to the observer’s eye at different angles and creating bands of colour. There are always two rainbows, one is not always seen though: above the main rainbow (perfect rainbow), there is another bow (secondary bow), whose colours are arranged in reverse order. This secondary bow is usually dimmer because of a double reflection within the drops. This effect also influenced the formal construction of this piece, and it is an attempt to represent in time what it is observed in space. Moreover, in the same way that this colour spectrum is revealed to the eyes, the spectrum of specific musical pitches, as heard by our ears, conveys a spectrum of sound and, coloured by the use of the orchestra forms a sound rainbow. Ultimately, this piece becomes a work of essential representation, both of its title and the work from which it was taken.


15 minutes

Orchestra Sinfonica de Friuli, Venezia cond. Giulia & Christoph Poppen, 22 October 2004

1 Flute, 1 Flute (=piccolo), 1 Oboe (=Cor anglais), 1 B-flat Clarinet, 1 B-flat Clarinet (=Bass Clarinet in B-flat), 1 Bassoon (=Contrabassoon), 2 Horn in F, 2 Trumpet in C, 1 Tenor Trombone, 1 Harp, 2 Percussion, 1 Timpani, 1 Piano, 18 Violin, 6 Viola, 5 Violoncello, 3 Double bass
Composition date