Le ceneri del filosofo

OGR  Photographie : © Philippe Lenglet
© Philippe Lenglet
Le ceneri del filosofo Photographie : © Christian Vasseur
© Christian Vasseur
OGR Photographie : © Benoît Méneboo
© Benoît Méneboo

A project dedicated to Giordano Bruno

While since 2011, the first three projects of the group proposed the musical description of a monster collectively appreciated as such, here Christian Vasseur chooses to deviate from this original theme. With Le Ceneri del filosofo (in English, "the ashes of the philosopher"), no monster with tentacles or other morphological oddities. Here, the monster is a man : Giordano Bruno, Italian philosopher, defrocked Dominican, free thinker and avant-garde promoter of an infinite universe.

A daring man, rebellious to all intellectual conformism, whose thought rooted in the materialist philosophy of Democritus and Lucretius shook up the end of the 16th century, Giordano Bruno was a monster in the eyes of many theologians and philosophers of his time. Catholics, Lutheran Protestants and Calvinists found him on their roads, tirelessly questioning the validity and appropriateness of dogmas. Bruno gave precedence to philosophy over theology, an unthinkable for the Inquisition - another monster of this history, whose cruel methods wreaked havoc on minds and bodies. The questioning of the Holy Trinity, the virginity of Mary and especially the promotion of an infinite universe will lead the philosopher to death: after a trial of 8 years, he was condemned in 1600 by the Roman Inquisition to be burned alive.

«It is impossible to make a complete review of all the monstrosities he has advanced, either in his books or in his speeches. To say it all in one word, there is not one error of the pagan philosophers and of our ancient or modern heretics that he did not support... The unfortunate man died in the middle of the flames, and I think that he will have gone to tell in these other worlds that he had imagined how the Romans are accustomed to treat the blasphemers and the impious. This, my dear friend, is how we proceed against men, or rather against monsters of this kind.»
Gaspard Schopp to his friend Conrad Rittershausen. February 17th 1600.

The work

The Ceneri del filosofo is divided into 9 parts which relate the life and the work of Giordano Bruno:

 Ô dolce Monte di Cicala : Mount di Cicala borders the small town of Nola where Bruno was born. Nola is the philosopher’s anchor point, a place of wonder that becomes a symbol of decentralization, because in an infinite world the center is everywhere and nowhere.
 La bestia trionfante : "The expulsion of the triumphant beast" is one of the first great texts to disturb the theology impregnated with Aristotelianism.
 San Domenico di castello : the place where people were imprisoned in Venice.
 Tutte queste terre di esilio : Bruno spent most of his life in exile, from Italy to England, passing through France, Switzerland and Germany before returning to Italy.
 Sant’uffizio : The prison of the Roman Inquisition. Bruno spent 8 years there and was tortured.
 Campo dei fiori : The Roman square where the heretics were burned alive. Since 1889, there is a statue there as a tribute to the free thinkers.
 Lontane vanno le stelle : the names of the stars, their number increases from year to year as they are discovered.
 Un infinita di soli : Giordano Bruno maintained that the universe was infinite, a heresy for the clergy, which led him to the stake.
 Infinito : after the sound, there is more.

The instrumentarium constitutes a kind of expanding guitar evoking the lutes, archlutes, theorboes, chitarones, archicistas and harps that accompanied the nascent opera.
The sounds of guitars and zithers played with bows are reminiscent of viol consorts and the lirone. The voices become tenors of plainchant, actresses of a pagan operatic ceremony and poetic messengers. The gong extrapolates and supports the resonance of the strings.

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Christian Vasseur (composition), Ivann Cruz, Raphaël Godeau, Sébastien Beaumont - Acoustic guitars, classical bass guitar, swarmandal, Austrian zither, Ukrainian bandura, lapsteel-harp guitar, gong and voice

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Muzzix is a collective composed of 30 musicians and based in Lille (northern France). It supports each year many artistic projects going from contemporary jazz to experimental and improvised musics, performed in many various ways, from solo to full orchestra, from concerts to installations or performances.


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