Mare Monstrum, Verso Luce • Paolo Cognetti

In April 2015 there was a terrible boat disaster in the Mediterranean Sea. And it was just one of the many similar tragedies of the year. I felt I had to do something and, since I am a musician, I decided to write a composition focused on the migration issue. A few weeks later I learnt about the international composing competition “Concorso 2 Agosto” and thought it was a very good opportunity to make my idea come true. I immediately got down to work, finished my piece in a couple of weeks and sent it over anonymously to the board of judges. Ten days later I was awarded with the second prize: it was a great joy to know that my little contribution to this important cause received such an honor.

“Mare Monstrum, Verso Luce” (“Mare Monstrum, Towards Light”) for narrator, orchestra and electronics – second prize in the 2015 edition of the “2 Agosto” International Composition Competition – was written on the emotional wave of a tragic shipwreck in the Mediterranean Sea on the 18th of April 2015: over 800 people lost their lives in an attempt to escape war and extreme poverty.

The first half of the ten-minute piece is dedicated to the dramatic testimony of a Syrian migrant, taken from MSF’s Milioni di Passi (Millions of Steps) campaign; then, after listening to a recording of a traditional Sicilian song, the music presents a relaxed melody that grows in intensity and culminates in the reading of a text by María Zambrano which evokes the ideal of a “life in peace”, “tuned to a lost harmony”.


Mare Monstrum, Verso Luce has been awarded with the second prize of the international composing competition “Concorso 2 Agosto”

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