Radio Amore – an eclectic live mix
At a court performance during the annual Carnival at Mantua in 1607, Claudio Monteverdi’s latest work L’Orfeo was performed. Based on the Greek legend of Orpheus and his descent into the underworld, it is one of the earliest works in the opera genre that is still regularly performed. As an archetype of the inspired singer and musician, Orpheus is one of the most significant figures in classical mythology, and has generated a host of interpretations in different media including poetry, film, opera, music, and painting.
Nearly 350 years later, Jean Cocteau, the French poet, writer and artist, made the film Orphée in 1950, based on the same story. During the film, Orpheus is shown listening to messages transmitted to his car radio. Cocteau confirmed this sound imagery was “inspired by the BBC broadcasts of the occupation” – by the mysterious and enigmatic radio transmissions which carried coded messages from the British military to French resistance fighters during WW2.
The Italian writer and chemist Primo Levi also recalled in his book of short stories Il Sistema Periodico (The Periodic Table, 1975) an “intricate universe of mysterious messages, morse tickings, modulated hisses, deformed, mangled human voices which pronounced sentences in incomprehensible languages or in code… messages of death… the radiophonic Babel of war”; and during WW2 the philosopher A J Ayer worked for Special Operations Executive and the British Intelligence Service MI6, working with exactly the kind of radio traffic that Cocteau’s sound imagery drew upon.
Inspired by live mixes and late-night radio broadcasting, and evocative of the sizzle and crackle that accompanied new musical discoveries on a bakelite tuning dial, Radio Amore is a musical journey – a voyage of wonder, mystery, emotion and vitality.
Commissioned by Tŷ Cerdd, and part concert, part imaginary late-night radio broadcast, Radio Amore fuses new work in a live mix of Baroque and contemporary classics together with less well-known works. The eclectic mix includes music by Pergolesi and Handel alongside oboe concerti by Vivaldi, Corelli and Albinoni as well as theatre music by Purcell, film music by Michael Nyman, transcriptions of Italian music by Sir John Barbirolli and radio-inspired works by Charlie Barber.
Musical / harmonic structure
Although the structure of Radio Amore is non-narrative, it follows what is known as the ‘Circle of Fifths’, a progression of key signatures in music theory. Beginning in the key of A flat, the programme ends in D, passing along the way through an ascending cycle of major and relative minor keys.
Hey Joe, the song popularised by Jimi Hendrix in the 1960s, employs a shorter portion of the ascending harmonic circle – C, G, D, A to E – in a 4-bar sequence which is repeated throughout the entire song.
The concept and design of the programme has also been influenced by the black and white Italian films of the 60s by Visconti and others. The Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana in Rome, featured in the promotional publicity, also known as the Square Colosseum, was designed in 1937. The building is featured in the 1962 film Boccaccio ’70 in the section created by Federico Fellini titled Le tentazioni del dottor Antonio (The Temptation of Dr Antonio).
The images below are from Fellini’s ‘Le tentazioni del dottor Antonio’ from Boccaccio ’70
Electrical Mains Hum
Mains hum, electric hum, or power line hum is a sound associated with alternating current at the frequency of the mains electricity. The fundamental frequency of this sound is usually 50 Hz or 60 Hz, depending on the local power-line frequency. The sound often has heavy harmonic content above 50–60 Hz.
Vivaldi ‘Vedro con mio diletto’
From the opera Giustino by Vivaldi, composed for the 1724 carnival season in Rome and premiered at the Teatro Capranica
Vedrò con mio diletto l’alma dell’alma mia Il core del mio cor pien di contento. E se dal caro oggetto lungi convien che sia Sospirerò penando ogni momento…
I will see with joy, the soul of my soul heart of my heart full of content. And if from my dear object I be far away I will sigh, suffering every moment…
Milan Fashion week
Established in 1958, the Milan Fashion week is held in February/March and September/October of each year. Example of location are Palazzo Reale, Palazzo Serbelloni and many others
Retro fashion images:
Men in the Cities – Robert Longo images
Robert Longo (born January 7, 1953) is an American painter and sculptor. Longo became a rising star in the 1980s for his “Men in the Cities” series, which depicted sharply dressed men and women writhing in contorted emotion
Robert Palmer – music videos
His iconic music videos directed by British fashion photographer Terance Donavan for the hits ‘Addicted to Love’ and ‘Simply Irresistable’ featured identically-dressed dancing women with pale faces, dark-eye makeup and bright-red lipstick, which resembled the women in the art of Patrick Nagel, an artist popular in the 1980s
Robert Palmer – Addicted to Love (1985)
“Love Is the Sweetest Thing” (1932)
Strange bedfellows: “Love Is the Sweetest Thing” (1932) written by British band leader Ray Noble, sung by Al Bowlly alongside scenes from the surrealist film classic “L’Age d’Or” (1930) by Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dali…