Andrea Manzoni in Iceland’s Westfjords
Iceland - Andrea Manzoni, Milan-based pianist, composer and sound recordist, represents a new generation of pianists take an innovative approach that blurs the boundaries of traditional music styles. Manzoni recently embarked on a transformative journey into the Icelandic wilderness to gather nature sounds for the sound design of Qivittoq, a theatrical production depicting a dystopian love story set in the solitude of the North Pole, in a world rapidly depleting its resources.
Working from a draft script from the director of the theatre show, Manzoni was keen to immerse himself in the ambience, and secured a 30-day residency in the remote town of Isafjordur in the Westfjords. Manzoni embarked on 12 excursions over the 30 days to remote locations devoid of human presence, to capture the raw environmental sounds with two Rycote HC-15 shotgun microphones.
"Venturing into the Icelandic wilderness presented a captivating challenge," reflects Manzoni. "The elemental sounds of ice, wind, and dock wood have always fascinated me, and recording them along with the sounds of waterfalls, waves and Ravens amidst the stark beauty of Iceland's landscapes was truly inspiring. My objective was to integrate the essence of nature into the fabric of my composition, establishing a profound connection between sound and narrative. The result is a purely organic auditory experience."
Equipped with the advanced Rycote HC-15 hypercardioid short shotgun microphone, paired with a Rycote InVision shock-mount and Windshield rain cover, Manzoni braved extreme weather conditions to capture the elusive sounds of nature.
"The hypercardioid pickup pattern of the HC-15 enabled precise sound capture, almost akin to monophonic recording. With 60 km per hour blizzards, and sub-zero temperatures, the InVision high grip and the microphone’s lightweight and versatile design proved invaluable, ensuring optimal performance amidst the harshest conditions," comments Manzoni.
Despite encountering formidable challenges, including sudden blizzards and temperatures plummeting to -35 degrees Celsius, Manzoni's dedication propelled him forward.
"Precision in sound recording is paramount," concludes Manzoni. "The HC-15's exceptional quality ensured that every sound, no matter how distant or fleeting, was captured with unparalleled clarity. I consider myself fortunate to have had such a remarkable tool at my disposal during this extraordinary expedition."
The soundtrack will be released in April, alongside a premier of the show to be hosted at the Teatro Sociale Bellinzona in Switzerland on the 11 April 2024.

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