Article

Donatoni, Franco (1927–2000) By Renaud, Mitch

DOI: 10.4324/9781135000356-REM560-1
Published: 09/05/2016
Retrieved: 28 September 2021, from
https://www.rem.routledge.com/articles/donatoni-franco-1927-2000

Article

Abstract

Composer and poet Franco Donatoni studied in Vienna before attending the Darmstadt summer music program, where he encountered Pierre Boulez and Karlheinz Stockhausen, among others. Donatoni took to the serial practices of Darmstadt but attempted to join them with John Cage’s project of separating the composer’s ego from the work of art. These encounters eventually led him to apply what he referred to as codes to found or borrowed material. In any given mature work, codes operate on multiple levels and control all musical parameters. His early experiments with codes, such as Etwas Ruhiger im Ausdruck (1967), aim for the creation of a work completely autonomous from its maker; however, Donatoni’s thinking gradually changed to acknowledge his role in the deployment of codes. Works like La souris sans sourire (1988) for string quartet demonstrate his self-defined joyous period, where he employed a wider range of materials. One of the clearest examples of his use of codes is his final piece Esa (In Cauda V) (2000), written for his student Esa-Pekka Salonen, which uses the musical spelling of Esa’s name and material from The Rite of Spring.

Composer and poet Franco Donatoni studied in Vienna before attending the Darmstadt summer music program, where he encountered Pierre Boulez and Karlheinz Stockhausen, among others. Donatoni took to the serial practices of Darmstadt but attempted to join them with John Cage’s project of separating the composer’s ego from the work of art. These encounters eventually led him to apply what he referred to as codes to found or borrowed material. In any given mature work, codes operate on multiple levels and control all musical parameters. His early experiments with codes, such as Etwas Ruhiger im Ausdruck (1967), aim for the creation of a work completely autonomous from its maker; however, Donatoni’s thinking gradually changed to acknowledge his role in the deployment of codes. Works like La souris sans sourire (1988) for string quartet demonstrate his self-defined joyous period, where he employed a wider range of materials. One of the clearest examples of his use of codes is his final piece Esa (In Cauda V) (2000), written for his student Esa-Pekka Salonen, which uses the musical spelling of Esa’s name and material from The Rite of Spring.

Selected List of Works

  • For Grilly (an “improvisation” for seven instruments, 1960)

  • Doubles (solo harpsichord, 1961)

  • Puppenspiel (orchestra, 1961)

  • Per (orchestra, 1962)

  • Etwas ruhiger im Ausdruck (flute, clarinet, violin, cello, and piano, 1967)

  • Lied (thirteen instruments, 1972)

  • Ash (eight instruments, 1976)

  • Spiri (ten instruments, 1977)

  • Arie (female voice and orchestra, 1978)

  • Le ruisseau sur l’escalier (cello and nineteen performers, 1980)

  • In cauda (choir and orchestra, 1982–1986)

  • Refrain (eight instruments, 1986)

  • La souris sans sourire (string quartet, 1988)

  • Refrain II (eleven performers, 1991)

  • In cauda II (orchestra, 1993–1994)

  • ESA (In cauda V) (orchestra, 2000)

Writings:

  • Questo (1970)

  • Antecedente X: sulle difficoltà del comporre (1980)

  • “La somiglianza della continuità”, La musica, le idee, le cose (1981)

  • Il sigaro di Armando: scritti 1963–1982 (1982)

  • “Processo e figura”, Quaderni della Civica Scuola di Musica, no.13 (1986)

  • In-Oltre (1988)

Further Reading

  • Cresti, Renzo Franco Donatoni: studio monografico sulla musica e la poetica di Franco Donatoni in relazione alle problematiche filosofiche e musicali dagli anni ’50 ad oggi, Suvini Zerboni.

  • Gorodecki, Michael (1993) “Who’s Pulling the Strings” The Musical Times, Vol. 134, (1803) pp. 246–251.

  • Osmond-Smith, David and Oxford Music Online , Donatoni Franco, Donatoni Franco.

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Published

09/05/2016

Article DOI

10.4324/9781135000356-REM560-1

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Citing this article:

Renaud, Mitch. "Donatoni, Franco (1927–2000)." The Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism. : Taylor and Francis, 2016. Date Accessed 28 Sep. 2021 https://www.rem.routledge.com/articles/donatoni-franco-1927-2000. doi:10.4324/9781135000356-REM560-1

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