For the Cordas et Bentu Duo, Sardinia has always been a source of inspiration; the ensemble’s name, Sardinian for “strings and wind”, is an homage to the island’s culture. Apeddu and Luciani’s mission to find original compositions connected to their roots began after hearing the stunning Acabbadora for guitar by Francesco Morittu, and the Duo would commission a new work from him: Attítus for alto flute and guitar. That was the first step in a project that went on to see them commission a range of composers from Sardinia and beyond to write music celebrating Sardinia. Traditionally, families would gather in front of the fire after dinner to tell each other stories from legends and ancient myths. Contos de foghile (Tales from the fireside), by the Sardinian composer Roberto Piana, is divided into four short episodes, each dedicated to a different story. The island’s fascinating mythology includes epic tales, monstrous creatures and legendary beings, and without a doubt the key players in these fables are the Janas, beautiful little creatures with a dark side – at times fairies or witches – who have extremely delicate skin that must avoid sunlight. These five short compositions depict a few moments from the lives of these mythological creatures, from the moment they wake until the dawn, when they go back into their caves to avoid being burned. According to Sardinian tradition, the Attítus are laments sung by wailers at a funeral. These dirges are highly repetitive in nature but can change suddenly and take on a very different tone depending on what the singer wants to express about the deceased. This piece is made up of four episodes. Composed at the height of lockdown in March 2020, it came from the need to give grant some mental space to death, understood in cultural rather than biological terms. As the title suggests, Memorie di Nora is a piece that takes inspiration from the archaeological site of the same name and is intended to evoke a possible imagined past for it. The composition, formally a fantasia, is made up of several parts that flow seamlessly from one to the next, invoking ancient rituals and dances as if to celebrate their survival in the traces of temples and mosaics overlooking the sea. Ammentos de siddhàdos et janas (Memories of treasures and fairies) is a short suite, originally titled Three Sardinian impressions, that expresses the composer’s emotions, thoughts and memories from his brief stay on the island. A unique piece inspired by the birthplace of the musicians to whom it is dedicated, Concertino di Alghero is an homage to Maria Chessa Lai, a primary school teacher and poet who wrote predominantly in Algherese. This dialect, an ancient branch of Catalan, is a linguistic island within an island. The work’s three movements trace a musical outline of one of many possible readings of Maria Chessa Lai’s Algherese poem En Dins De Mi.
- Recorded April 2023, Torralba, Italy
- All of the compositions recorded are dedicated to the Cordas et Bentu Duo
- Bilingual booklet in English and Italian contains liner notes written jointly by the composers and the artists, as well as a profile of the duo
- This heartwarming concept album presents works for flute and guitar by composers born on the magical island of Sardinia, or who have a close association with it: Cristiano Porqueddu (b. 1971), Alfredo Franco (b. 1967), Roberto Piana (b. 1971), Franco Cavallone (b. 1957) and Francesco Morittu.
- The composers profess their love for this ancient land and the people who inhabit it, with its ancient traditions and legends: each author speaks out in a personal way and with his own style, offering the listener different points of view and sound. The island is recounted through the eyes of those who were born and lived there, or from the point of view of those who have visited or studied it, and have been fatally fascinated by it.
- Played with deep affection and commitment by the Cordas and Bentu Duo: Francesca Apeddu (flute) and Maria Luciani (guitar)