Gruppo di Improvvisazione di Nuova Consonanza

Gruppo di Improvvisazione di Nuova Consonanza (1967)

Founded 1964, Rome-based avant-garde ensemble Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuovo Conso was dedicated to the development of improvisation and new music methods. The ensemble functions as a laboratory of sorts, working with anti-musical systems and noise techniques in an attempt to redefine the new music ensemble and explore "New Consonance." The musical deconstructions were published on LP at the time, some of which have been reissued on CD. Many of the techniques reflect the influence of Luigi Nono and Scelsi, and the group created abrasive and intricate sound studies on classical instruments and occasionally employed electronics and tape music methods in the process. The group was the breeding ground for a group of avant-garde composers including the then-burgeoning soundtrack composer, one Ennio Morricone. Other group members included Franco Evangelisti, Egisto Macchi, Antonello Neri, Giovanni Piazza, Giancarlo Schiaffini, and Mario Bertoncini, although the project housed the activities of many guests over the course of the '60s through to the early '70s. Held in high regard in avant-garde music circles, they are considered to be the first experimental composers collective, their only peers being the British improvisation collective AMM. Recordings of the group have been reissued by the Ampersand label and Editions RZ in the '90s. Like the fellow Rome-based Musica Electronica Viva, they were a challenging group of established composers and shared progressive concepts as well as one group member, Fredrick Rzewski, who later became one of the leading interpreters of 20th century classical music.

Through exposure to free improvised music and jazz as much as to post-serialism, music concrete, and avant-gardism of the '50s, the group developed an entirely new strategy of collective composition that functioned outside of any idiom. Their influence can be heard in free improvising ensembles from the European movements including Evan Parker Electro-Acoustic Ensemble, Voice Crack, and in the techniques of modern classical music and avant-garde jazz groups. Group member Giancarlo Schiaffini carried the flame of G.I.N.C. into his Italian Instabile Orchestra, while Franco Evangelisti and Mario Bertoncini would work in contemporary classical music for the ensuing three decades. The ensemble's groundbreaking work informed their work in composition. While Morricone would become one of the most important cinema composers of the century, he would be the only member of the ensemble who could claim to have his work heard in every Western household while his peers would sit on the fringes of obscurity. The ensemble did perform in varying capacities with Morricone adding noise to some of his '60s Italian soundtracks, but their importance in music history remains to be in the avant-garde music world as the premier group for experimental improvisation. -- Sylvie Harrison, Allmusic