The Famous Box Trick for bass flute and electronics (2015)
Francesca Verunelli studied composition and piano at the Conservatorio Luigi Cherubini in Florence, where she earned both diplomas summa cum laude. She concluded her studies at the Accademia Santa Cecilia in Rome. She went on to attend IRCAM’s cursus 1 & 2 in Composition and Computer Music specializing in electronic music. She has received commissions from important musical institutions and ensembles such as IRCAM, NeueVocalsolisten Stuttgart, La Biennale di Venezia, Orchestre Philarmonique de Radio France, Milano Musica, Accentus Chamber Choir, Lucerne Symphonic Orchestra, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Orchestra, Court-Circuit, 2e2m, ICE, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, GMEM de Marseille, CIRM de Nice, the French State, the FACE Foundation. Her music is performed in many prestigious festivals in Europe and in the US. She has been composer in residence at Ircam (2011/12) at GMEM of Marseille (2014/15), and is currently resident artist at Casa Velasquez (Academie de France à Madrid).
The Famous Box Trick (Illusions Fantasmagoriques) is a 1898 French short black-and-white silent trick film, directed by Georges Méliès. In the words of writer Michael Brooke, the film "harks back to stage magic.”
I found fascinating the hybrid texture of the “trick” which allows the spectator to position himself in between the physical magic of the stage and the virtual “magic” of cinema - the corporeal vs. the incorporeal - biological time vs. the machine time.
The spectator is suspended in between the belief in the trick and the conscious awareness of it. This is not the case in modern cinema, where the spectator is cut out from the “illusion” and can only believe in it from the “outside.”
The flute inhabits corporeal sounds, including the family of vocal sounds obtained by the complex interactions of the voice with the instrument. These are, paradoxically, made to sound “fake” by a sound-world of completely synthetic sounds realized by electronics means.
The result, like Meliès’ absurdist irony, is the reciprocal estrangement of the ontological nature of each sound-world.