Floriana Chailly – Interview for RAI TV Rete 3 – 1983

Q. Portrait: introduce yourself as a composer.

A. I had a precocious vocation, started at the age of 4 years and 8 months, and continued to compose 32 piano pieces till the age of 19 when I began my official compositional studies. I have always been an independent composer and have never belonged to a particular musical current. I have followed my naturally eclectic inclinations and the need to express emotions with all their possible shades and forms. I do not believe in premature stylistic choices and feel the necessity of enriching my artistic experience before making any eventual unilateral choice. I think a lot of time will pass before this can happen in the most natural of ways, if it ever will. However, I follow with interest the Avant-garde experimentation though I feel more tied to traditional forms of expression. Independence also implies individual work that is handicapped in respect to collective work, that of those composers who belong to a particular stylistic current. Obviously, my independence limits, though up to a point, the possibilities of performance. I believe, though, that if the music is independent but has its own validity it should have the probability of affirming itself some time or other.

Q. How do you write and in what way do you live the “job” of a composer?

A. My way of composing is purely based on the pleasure of composing instinctively. For the time being, I have only had one commission from the Angelicum Orchestra of Milan for some “Fables” to be performed with Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf”, otherwise, I have not really experienced any compositional job probably because it is too early, and I am still unknown.

Q. What do you want to say in your compositions?

A. I do not have any political or sociological message. Mine is a purely musical and emotional expression, though it can be either abstract or more descriptive if inspired by a text.

Q. For whom do you write? What performance possibilities have you had?

A. I write for myself and I don’t try to please anyone, nor do I write for money. However, this doesn’t mean that one should write for free. I write for myself not because I am narcissistic but because I feel an exponent of musical thoughts and emotions that are shared by many others. I don’t write for a precise public, but I am sure that my music, just because of its spontaneity, will find its public. For the time being, I have only had very few possibilities of performance.

Q. How does the universe of the sound of daily life come into your musical world?

A. Only through other works of Art. If a Fable by Aesop necessitates the sound of an animal then I will musically insert it in my work, otherwise, the sound of daily life and pure sound in itself does not interest me. In fact, as a Milanese citizen, the cacophony of the city is chaotic and exasperating. The universe of the sound of daily life in Milan does not express civilization.

Q. What is your relationship with composers of your age and with friends?

A. Independently from my own will I do not frequent Italian composers of my age group. I have stronger relationships with English and American composers whom I have met in several summer music schools. However, I also have friendly relationships with some composers of the previous generation both in Italy and abroad. My habitual Italian friends are conductors and pianists as well as my best friend who is a nuclear physicist.

Q. Tell us about your relationship with teachers in Italy and abroad.

A. I have kept an excellent relationship with my teachers in Italy and I also have very good relationships with other composers and teachers such as Peter Maxwell Davies, Elliott Carter, Niccolò Castiglioni and Brian Ferneyhough. Niccolò has helped me a great deal and has presented me to many important persons and institutions.

Q. Different sensibility of the composer: according to you what differences are there between men and women?

A. I don’t believe in the fundamental inferiority of the woman as a composer. However, I believe in the conditions of inferiority in which a woman composer can find herself in that it is an all-absorbing work that deters her from her traditional domestic destiny. Obviously, a woman generally has minor possibilities of making a career than a man, but I believe that in present times a woman must work with conviction and tenacity and fight for her ideals, as a man would, consequently liberating herself from any inferiority complex she may have.

Q. Do you think there are equal career possibilities?

A. In my brief experience as a young professional composer I have a feeling that there are no equal career possibilities but I’m not sure of this yet.

Q. Is composing for you disquieting or reassuring?

A. Composing is disquieting for me because it presents aesthetical and technical difficulties that may be distressing to solve but in the end, it is also reassuring because it brings creative and artistic satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment. 7.3.83