Like Francesca Verunelli, organist and composer Francesco Filidei graduated from the Conservatorio Luigi Cherubini in Florence. He went on the Paris Conservatoire, winning several first prizes. His principal teachers include Salvastore Sciarrino in composition and Jean Gillou for organ. His works have been performed by ensembles around the world, from the London Sinfonietta to the Tokyo Philharmonic, and he has earned prizes and commissions from IRCAM and the UNESCO Rostrum of Composers, among many others. He has a new opera in the works for the Opéra Comique in Paris, and is Musical Advisor for the Fondazione / Teatri Emilio Reggio in Italy.
Composed in 1995, Filidei’s Toccata is an early work, reminding us that the piano is a percussion instrument and that “toccata” comes from “toccare,” meaning “to touch.” Pitch has fled almost entirely from this graphically notated sound world, and the performer awakens a very “hands-on” music from the body of the instrument, circling it with patterned touches – toccata as physical drama.
“The form is simple,” Filidei says, “and plays on the ambiguity of the title, in fact the pianist is limited to ‘touching’ the instrument, without lowering the keys. The interpreter evokes an intimate voice of the piano, considered as a species of large black animal with legs, and teeth (white and black) sometimes covered by a large lid lip, giving rise, in its manifestation, to a sort of musical skeleton.”