OREB, the title of Dimitri Grechi Espinoza's last project, is another name for Mount Sinai, where Moses came “face to face” with God, in a dialogue directed at all of humanity and conducted in words of fire: the Ten Commandments. But Oreb is also the mountain on which the prophet Elias, disgusted and tired of killing, hears the silent voice of God. The Lord was not in the wind, nor in the earthquake, nor in the fire, but in a “voice of suspended silence”, barely audible. It is this quality of silence that the solo sax of Dimitri Grechi Espinoza emanates: a silent space that one must create inside oneself before one can speak to the Other, or to others.
Gabriella Caramore – host of “Uomini e Profeti” raiRadio3
RECREATIO, the second step on the OREB project for solo sax, is the fruit of my experimentation in composition, based on my knowledge of the canons of western classical music and those of other musical cultures on this planet. Each piece tells of an aspect of Nature and its creation. The compositions are based on both modal and tonal harmony principles. I used the method of repetition/small variation of limited melodic/rhythmic sequences, and established a dialogue with the reverberation of the musical architecture and the harmonics this generates in order to produce, with a monophonic instrument and without any kind of overdubs, a genuine polyphony. My principal aim is to lead the listener, through the sound and the musical form, to rediscover that interior reverberation from which all music springs.
The Cisternino Pian di Rota, in the hills just outside Leghorn, is an enormous space, concealed inside a neoclassical building erected in 1845. Once it was used as a cistern, collecting and purifying the water flowing from the Leopoldino aqueduct. Its shape is rectangular, with two semicircular exedras on the short sides. Two rows of columns support a series of rib vaults and divide the cistern longitudinally in three naves and transversally in five. A balcony, built halfway between the bottom of the cistern and the vault, runs around the inside of the entire perimeter. On our first visit we confirmed the feasibility of recording there, listening to the building’s natural reverberation, and chose the positions for the microphones and the engineer. For safety reasons, we couldn't descend to the bottom of the cistern, but the balcony, thanks to its height, proved quite suitable for our recording needs.
Dimitri decided to play in the semicircular exedra to the right of the entranceway. We immediately noticed the reverberation that arose as we moved away from the sound source: we could hear modulations that increased steadily with the distance from the source, probably due to the parallel structural features and the stationary waves these produced. This allowed us to use eight microphones for the recording. One large-diaphragm condenser microphone for the closest point, a small-diaphragm condenser microphone for a recording about two meters away from the musician and three pairs of stereo condenser mics for the ambient recordings: one in the transversal nave closest to the sax, one in the central nave and one in the opposite exedra from the musician. The concept behind our choices was to attempt to faithfully render the spirit of Dimitri’s musical project: one musician plays his instrument, interacting with the environment, which then becomes an integral part of the composition and the audio production. So it was not only the saxophone that was recorded, but the entire structure that became a musical instrument. The recording thus attempts to present the music as a unique and inimitable listening experience of a single performance and only in the place where it was produced. If a listener had been present during the recording, he would have had to choose a single listening point, probably standing near Dimitri, rather than at a point where there was greater reverberation. Instead, the CD provides the sum of several sound recording points, otherwise impossible for the human ear. The best possible sound for enjoying this musical experience.
The music you are about to listen is the result of many years of study on the relationship between sound and space, and on its spiritual significance.
I would like to thank S.E. Mons. Benotto, Mons. Lucchesini and the Opera Primaziale for having allowed me the privilege of recording these “prayers in sound” in the Baptistery of San Giovanni, in one of the most “miraculous ” places in Christendom. The Baptistery is the perfect acoustic architectural setting for the task that I, as a musician, have set myself: contributing to bringing music back to its original function of “dialogue” with the Sacred, without distinctions of creed or culture, and thus gain awareness of oneself and others, in the presence of the Unity that holds the cosmic order together.
Recorded live at the Baptistery of Pisa in March 2014 and mastered in April 2014 at Redroom Studio (Nodica, Pisa) by Flavio Innocenti, Giovanni Ghezzi and Luca Matteucci.
Oreb has been performed in :
Pantheon (Roma), Chiesa della Pietà ( Venezia), Duomo di Barga (Lucca), Battistero S.Giovanni (Pistoia),
Notre Dame d' Espérance (Parigi), Mediateca Helèn Berr (Parigi) Museo Archeologico (Verrucchio),
Museo Interreligioso (Bertinoro), Cattedrale St.Giles (Edimburgo),
Chiostro Sisto Sacro Convento ( Assisi), Battistero S.Giovanni (Pisa), Parco delle Groane (Milano),
Pinacoteca di Brera (Milano), Rocca di Castruccio (Serravalle), Castello dei Vicari (Lari), Chiesa S.Caterina (Livorno),
Chiesa S.Caterina (Pisa), Museo Diocesano (Milano), Pieve S.Maria (Ancona), Santuario della Madonna dell'Umiltà (Pistoia),
Museo del Tessuto (Prato), Chiesa della Grande Madre (Torino), Oratorio del Crocifisso (Foligno), Teatro Asioli (Correggio) P.za dei Cavalieri (Pisa), Chiesa S.Teresa (Formia), Villa Bombrini (Genova)Lungomare Falcomata ( Reggio Calabria), Chiesa S.Michele (Lucca), Basilica S.Gaudenzio (Novara), Chiesa del Purgatorio ( Terracina), Balaton Festival ( Ungheria), Monte Cucco Park (Perugia).
In 1998 he founded the experimental music ensemble Dinamitri Jazz Folklore, collaborating with the Congolese group Yela Wa on the study of traditional healing music known as Kongo. Since 2001 his musical activities have evolved in two different directions: the development of the findings of his research on traditional cultures to the music produced by Dinamitri Jazz Folklore and his solo saxophone music: Oreb. In 2011 he was at the Festival au Désert in Timbuktu, Mali and in 2012 he directed the Azalai Musical Caravan project performing in some of the biggest European music festivals.