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Pritchard: La Settima Bolgia
'La Settima Bolgia' (The Seventh Trench) is that realm of Hell described in Cantos 14 and 15 of Dante's 'Inferno', in which thieves are subject to eternal torment by having their own identities stolen by serpents. The music contains no specific programmatic references to the Dante, and at a purely musical level explores, within a clear formal scheme, four basic forms of motion: 1) suppressed, but volatile and unstable; 2) irregular, angular and unpredictable; 3) almost static and inert; 4) regular, smooth and flowing.
These are frequently superimposed, sometimes creating complex, almost chaotic, textures - analogous to Dante's paradoxical chaos, that is nevertheless conforming to a divinely preordained plan. The music seldom settles into definable material, the constituent elements frequently dividing and regrouping, paralleling Dante's vision of a constant state of flux in which serpents and sinners are continually exchanging identities. Further similarities between the music and the text abound, both structurally and conceptually.
'La Settima Bolgia' was completed in the Spring of 1989, for the Southampton International New Music Week at which it was given its first performance by the Bournemouth Symphony under Kees Bakels It is dedicated: 'to my good friend Valerio Casciarri'