un filo invisible


for Yarn/Wire Summer Institute (b fl, pno, perc) (2022) (8’)

Program Note:

“Anache a Raissa, città triste, corre un filo invisibile che allaccia un essere vivente a un altro per un attimo e si disfa, poi torna a tendersi tra punti in movimento disegnando nuove rapide figure cosicché a ogni secondo la città infelice contiene una città felice che nemmeno sa d’esistere.”

“Also in Raissa, city of sadness, there runs an invisible thread that binds one living being to another for a moment, then unravels, then is stretched again between moving points as it draws new and rapid patterns so that at every second the unhappy city contains a happy city unaware of its own existence.”

— Italo Calvino, Le città invisibili; Le città nascoste. 2. Raissa.

I am fascinated with the works of Italian author Italo Calvino, notably Invisible Cities (quoted above in its original Italian and the English translation), and how he crafts stories and worlds that are both so complete and so fragmentary. There is a logic that is sometimes apparent to the reader, and sometimes entirely obfuscated. This resonates with how I value and embrace both boundless imagination and strict logic in my own art, and I feel a certain kinship with Calvino.

Nothing about this piece (or any of my work) is programmatic. I have no interest in depicting the hidden city of Raissa, the “unaware happy city,” or any of the other wonderfully simultaneously bleak and vivid cities that Calvino crafts. Rather, the characteristics and trajectories of the cities lodged themselves in my brain about five months before composing this piece: impossible cities that become more and more desolate and disconnected from time, yet retain hope, perhaps against all odds. This became the starting point for the materials and trajectories of the piece. Over the course of composing, they developed into something completely their own, independent from Calvino’s urban landscapes.

un filo invisibile was composed for the 2022 Yarn/Wire Institute.




Performance History:

  • World premiere, 6.23.22, DiMenna Center for Classical Music, New York City
  • Camilo Angeles, flutes

    Han Gul Lee, piano

    Russell Greenberg, percussion