Francesca Verunelli studied composition and piano at the Conservatorio Luigi Cherubini in Florence, followed by further training at the Accademia Santa Cecilia in Rome and IRCAM (Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique) in Paris. She has received commissions and performances from a wide range of distinguished musical institutions, including IRCAM, La Beinnale di Venezia, the Accentus Chamber Choir, the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, the International Con-temporary Ensemble, Radio France, and the Zaïde Quartet. New projects include works for the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra and pianist Bertrand Chamayou and the Béla Quartet, as well as her third string quartet, for the Diotima Quartet.
Unfolding was commissioned by IRCAM in 2010, and was premiered by the Arditti Quartet in Lyon in 2012; it has been per-formed a number of times since. The “unfolding” of the title is the morphing of musical shapes, stretching them until form disappears in movement. Verunelli suggests the art of Kandinsky as an inspiration, in showing to what extent a figure can mutate while remaining recognizable as itself.
Electronics alter the basic sounds, as well as their composite shapes and gestures. Verunelli thinks of the electronics as a fifth instrument, one that can exaggerate essential characteristics of resonance, of attack and decay, ultimately “unfolding” the quartet. In her piece, keening and skittering figures cycle in the stratosphere, with urgent interjections forming below, like a sort of urban night music. The stress of the process generates both energy and anxiety, culminating in a violent climax. The deformed shapes release their musical energy, and the unfolding ends in a benediction of ambiguous dissipation.