Un Re in Ascolto II


Program Note

This piece is based on Italo Calvino’s story “A King Listens,” the tale of a king who is tied to the throne (lest it would be usurped), and whose only interaction with the world is through the sounds that reach him in the throne room. The story is filled with extremely suggestive sound descriptions, building up to “And all acoustical routes converge on the throne room. Into the great lake of silence where you are, floating rivers of air empty, stirred by intermittent vibrations.”
The piece itself recreates this build-up, and the convergence onto a lake of silence, at which point a special effect in the piano inaugurates a directed improvisation. “You can move through the palace, guided by the echoes, localizing creaks, clangs, curses, pursuing breaths, rustles, grumbles, gurgles. Every footstep, every click of a lock, every sneeze, echoes…”
Un re in ascolto is dedicated to Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon, and a first version was premiered in 2014. The composer revised the score in 2019.


Federico Garcia-De Castro has lived in the US since 2001, when he moved from his native Colombia to pursue graduate studies in composition at the University of Pittsburgh. An award-winning…