Synopsis by Clarke Fountain
The director of this documentary originally set out to make a documentary on the life and thinking of the controversial Italian composer and politician Luigi Nono (1924-1990). His death prevented her from filming interviews which would have allowed the man to speak for himself. Instead, she has taken the brief footage she made with him and fleshed it out with footage of a rehearsal for his only string quartet Fragmente-Still, an Diotima. Additional footage shows the director, Edna Politi, contemplating the relationship between physics, astrophysics, and music, and reading aloud some of the literature which inspired the composer. Luigi Nono was a controversial figure during his lifetime, a passionate figure in the Italian Communist party, which he joined during Mussolini's rule. His avant-garde compositions made extensive use of Schoenberg's twelve-tone serialist techniques, and they are considered extraordinarily difficult to perform (and, as many aver, to listen to).