Ricardo AriasColombiaMusic2004

Under the Umbrian Sun


At my arrival at Civitella on the last day of July, the fields surrounding the castle were covered with light green grass. During the following five weeks I got immersed in work on a computer music piece that uses as its basic sound an instantaneous impulse or “click.” The piece attempts to explore the possibilities of this very precarious material to generate larger, more interesting sound patterns – ranging from rhythmic cells to pitched sounds. Some of the patterns I was producing fit nicely in the midst of the relentless diurnal activity of crickets and cicadas. I made considerable progress as I listened intently to both the progress of the piece and the soundscape of the Umbrian countryside. 


The wonderful food and engaging conversations with my fellow fellows and the staff also helped shape and reshape my initial ideas. Seeing the other fellows work was also a great motivation. I had the privilege and pleasure to collaborate with photographer Naoya Yoshikawa providing a soundtrack to his Civitella installation. There was also brief but intense collaboration with singer Amy Denio. And there was, of course, the landscape, which by the end of our stay was also drastically transformed. The farmers had also been busy plowing the fields. The earth was now open and waiting for new seeds. As Naoya said, this five weeks under the Umbrian sun meant many things but, above all, they represented a new beginning.