Prometeo, Tragedia dell’ascolto, a ‘musica per dramatica’, presents a ‘theatre of consciousness’ and an affirmation of the continuity of creative endeavours for freedom. Seeking to discover ‘a new way of thinking music’ and ‘a transformation of thinking’, Nono explored the possibilities of new modes of listening and re-awakening active listening. Prometeo is a realisation of listening as thinking.
Prometeo comprises shifting microtonal chords in the chorus (cori spezzati, split choirs of the polychoral singing in Venice in 16th century), the contrapuntal overlapping of the solo voices and the orchestration in which the instruments are played at the extremes of their ranges.
The electronic acoustic configurations in Prometeo generate continuously changing contextualisations of sound.
In presenting a ‘mobile sound’ Prometeo provides immersion in a ‘multi-directional listening’. Nono’s conception of composition as ‘a consciousness of technique which is made possible by a transformation of thinking’ expands the understanding of the aims of music analysis in exploring the syntax and the semantics of musical text and performance.
The present approach builds on Nono’s engagement with Critical Theory. Nono’s ‘critical composition’ emphasises the simultaneity of musical invention, moral commitment, political action and the necessity for contemporary music to ‘intervene in the sonic reality of our time’. Engaging with Nono’s music expands the methodology of music analysis to integrate interdisciplinary methods of exploring the cognitive and social dimensions of music.
Nono’s musical thought articulated the central themes of the relations between the composition and social reality, the nature of musical material, listening approaches, and musical time and space.