Experimentum Mundi (1981)

Opera di musica immaginistica per un attore, cinque voci naturali di donne, sedici artigiani e un percussionista

Libretto by Giorgio Battistelli
(from the Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers by Denis Diderot and Jean Le Rond D’Alambert)

Experimentum Mundi is a music theatre work featuring sixteen tradesmen, four female vocals, a percussionist and an actor. While reciting captions from illustrations taken from the Encyclopaedia of Diderot and D’Alembert (written during the Enlightenment) describing the tools represented on stage, an authentic village of sounds emerges page after page. The village is Giorgio Battistelli’s hometown of Albano Laziale where the performers of Experimentum Mundi actually live and work. On stage they play themselves at their jobs. Trades that are being threatened with extinction: a baker, cobblers, knife sharpeners, carpenters, coopers, blacksmiths, pavers, a stone mason, bricklayers – some with wives in tow that make up the women’s chorus. By the end of the performance, each craftsman has produced his own product in perfect synchrony with the musical and theatrical tempos of the score: a game of wedging notes and rhythm together that enhances the movements forged by ancient traditions. A theatrical piece about work, a ritual that appeases to stop time, a tribute to a personal memory theatre.

First performance: 
Rome, Teatro Olimpico, 15 May 1981

Instrumentation (with amplified microphone):
perc, tmb con corda, 2 bongos, 2 tumbas, 2 tp, balafon, mar, gui, 4 go picc,  wind chimes, t bl, 4 w bl, maracas, claves, tmb di legno, rag, 3 roto tom, crot, t-t grande, 3 g flex con arco, 4 ps, campanacci, 2 fusti di metallo, 2 cmp tbl, 3 trg, 2 lst di metallo, sonagli di metallo, spring guiro, tmb con corda, 6 t-tom, gc sinfonica, gui, tamburello basco, 4 go picc, t-t grande
[text available in Italian, French, English, German]

Duration: 60’

Score Number Catalogue Ricordi: (134762)