Nono – the Italian grandfather I never had.

Well, it’s happened again. I’ve got a cold and I need to recover, but I’m awake and it’s almost 3.00am. It has also been over a week since I saw Nono compositions being performed by Maurizio Pollini at the Queen Elizabeth Hall as part of the Fragments of Venice series, and I’ve still hardly told anyone about it. It was an amazing experience, the kind of thing that you imagine some people might call a “bit frightening”; someone in the audience at the end rather annoyingly said “this has surely got to be taking the piss.” I won’t give a biography here (although this is a good one http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0CE7DB123EF932A25756C0A966958260). It’s certainly awkward – there are quite a few long pauses, and the live music usually accompanied by recordings which mean the music seems even less transient, inducing a sort of prolonged disconcerting state for me, at least. I kind of like Nono’s works because to me they evoke a sense of defiance. We’re not likely to get a satisfaction for our desire for harmony or even spontanaity, so do we get up and leave? Also, they remind me of very solitary nights where every noise is noticeable and has an elusive meaning, and is maybe disturbing somehow, or comforting. You could say that similar compositions have become a hackneyed part of horror films and such, but I think there’s a beauty to them, unrelated to what might be presumed to evoke fear. Anyway, I’m no music critic; you could listen to this video in the dark…

It’s not really that scary to be alone on a dark night. As I was searching for Nono videos I found this rather unrelated one by Nancy Nova (who I should have known before this night…what a woman!), which proves that being alone isn’t so bad, especially if you can do dance moves such as these and have a coat that turns into a tiger.

If you like Nono, or have a lovely Italian grandfather, you could buy these mugs (although I’m not sure about the stigmata-style red heart on the stick boy’s hand):

nono-mug.jpg

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