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RIPARBELLI, PIETRO / K11 - Three Days of Silence. The Mountain of the Stigmata

Format: CD
Label & Cat.Number: Gruenrekorder Gruen 102
Release Year: 2012
Note: processed field recordings made in the monastery of La Verna in Arezzo, Italy, radiating a magic atmosphere of dreamlike contemplation: monks, organ-sounds, mumbling voices, nature-sounds, all drifting from far away... psychogeographic fog-drones of a higher beauty! the original field recordings for the album plus diary notes are to be found on the label website
Price (incl. 19% VAT): €15.00

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" Three days of silence is conceived as complete phenomenological experience of listening. I have been three days within the Sanctuary of La Verna on the top of a mountain called the mountain of the Stigmata in Tuscany. Ive lived together with the monks recording and attending the ceremonies and the sounds of the place trying to penetrate in a dimension of pure contemplation.

La Verna, in Latin Alvernia and geographically known as Monte Penna, is a locality on Mount Penna, an isolated mountain of 1,283 m situated in the centre of the Tuscan Apennines. The place is known especially for its association with Saint Francis of Assisi (he is said to have received the stigmata here) and for the Sanctuary of La Verna, which grew up in his honour.

Count Orlando of Chiusi gave La Verna to Francis on May 8, 1213 as a retreat specially favourable for contemplation, and in 1218 built him the chapel Santa Maria degli Angeli. In August, 1224, frustrated by the changes in the Order of Friars Minor, Francis withdrew to La Verna to keep a forty days fast in preparation for Michaelmas and while praying on the mountain- side he received (on or about 17 September) the stigmata.
After seeing a vision of a seraphim he began to develop nails of hardened flesh which protruded from his hands and feet. He also began to form a wound in his side like that of Christ. Thus La Verna came to be seen as sacred ground. Pope Alexander IV took it under his protection.

In 1260 a church was consecrated there in presence of St. Bonaventure and several bishops. A few years later the Chapel of the Stigmata was erected, paid for by Count Simone of Battifole, near the spot where the miracle took place. The Chiesa Maggiore was begun in 1348, although not finished until 1459." [label info]


"When buried with a lot of releases to review for Vital Weekly, I sometimes wish to retreat to a monastery and not be interrupted by such mundane things as e-mail, telephone, shopping and just blend in with the tranquility of monastery life. Pietro Riparbelli did visit a sanctuary, Sanctuary of La Verna on top of a mountain in Tuscany, where Saint Francis of Assisi supposed to have gotten his stigmata and recorded life over there during three days. Here he has six pieces, three of them I believe are pure field recordings and three are compositions he created out of these basic sounds. Not that is easy to tell the difference, certainly if you don't play close attention to when the track ends and moves to the next. For the busy western man, non believer at that, perhaps the closest I can get to monstary life, I guess. Riparbelli captured the sounds and the atmospheres of the sanctuary pretty well - the overall idea of this release is 'silence' without being silent. The large empty spaces with a minimum of sound information, the garden and rain in it, the vaguely humming of what could be the church organ, its all there. Music that slowly unfolds and that could invoke a religious experience (government health warning not included here). In the 'Third Day' piece we have the most musical experience, with crackles and what seems to be some sort of stringed instrument, but for all I know it could be the repeated sound of the bucket in the well to get water. A very contemplative release altogether. Excellent soundscaping." [FdW/Vital Weekly]