To say Aldo Clementi uses canons, is like saying Wagner wrote operas or that Beethoven was good at variations. Clementi’s elegant constructions use all manner of repetitions at different speeds and intervals. It may be hard at first to catch the structure because of the alternately knotty and playful tapestries, so well does Clementi’s music deliver mesmerizing events. Some pieces are long; the wintry Momento is 18 minutes, whereas we get two versions of the flowering Canone which takes about 75 to 80 seconds per pass. These extracts from Otto frammenti last 22-and-a-half minutes and contain a contradictory subtitle, “canoni 1-8, 33-40,” which suggests that the eight fragments are repeated or perhaps that they embed a subset. In fact, the entire work rich in palindromes explores the possibilities of the 15th-century tune L’homme armé.
The slipcase provides this telling artistic statement: “It has been my conviction for a number of years that Music (and Art in general) must simply assume the humble task of describing its own end, or at any rate its gradual extinction.” Imagine music boxes winding down after an intricately designed maximal moment. Taken together, this quartet program is powerfully autumnal. The Bozzini’s superbly blended colors have been mentioned before, and here they create galaxies that wobble before receding.