Borletti-Buitoni Trust
04 May 2020

#BBTathomeforawhile –
Lockdown Commission For Singing Percussionist Simone Rubino

by Simone Rubino

Not being able to play in theatres because of Coronavirus has led me to set myself a personal goal – not to see it as a limitation, but as a chance to create something never done before.

I immediately asked myself during the first day of the lockdown where to start and I came up with composers’ names straightaway.

As history has taught us, great composers in wartime have given birth to wonderful and unique works. Obviously we are not at war today, but I think the emotions we all experiencing could be very similar – especially for many artists living in these times – and could be used and expressed in a way to give life to something that will be remembered in history. This was a need for me and it was my first priority – to keep art and music alive!

That’s why I immediately called Lamberto Curtoni, a childhood friend, cello player and fantastic composer. He immediately accepted my proposal and told me about the wonderful poem that the world famous poet Mariangela Gualtieri had just written and published,Nove Marzo duemileventi.

Since singing has always been a passion of mine, this would give me, as a percussion player, the possibility of expressing a deep message through Mariangela’s poetry and Lamberto’s music. Lamberto was enthusiastic about the idea of introducing my voice while playing the vibraphone in the new piece and he immediately asked Mariangela if we could use her poem. With great surprise she agreed.

We’ve worked 12 hours a day for two weeks together, writing, editing and improving the piece. It took me another two weeks to learn it by heart, the text, and everything that is part of the performance.

This film is just the start of something bigger. The values and emotions that we experience with live performance in a concert hall are not replaceable and they should not be. That’s the reason Lamberto and I are now developing a new project for solo percussion/voice, string quintet and electronics, a new format that does not replace theatre, but is an innovation in the world of music!


March the Ninth, Twenty Twenty


Nove marzo duemilaventi
Maria Gualtieri


I’m telling you this
we needed to stop.
We knew. We all felt
that it was too furious,
our frenzy. Being inside of things.
Outside of ourselves.
Squeeze every hour – make it yield.

We needed to stop
and we couldn’t.
We needed to do it together.
Slow down the race.
But we couldn’t.
There was no human force
that could hold us back.

And since this
was for all of us a tacit wish
like an unconscious will –
perhaps our species has obeyed
loosened the bonds that protect
our seed. Opened
the innermost cracks
and let it in.
Perhaps this is why there was a leap
in the species – from the bat to us.
Something in us wanted to be opened. Perhaps,
I don’t know.

Now we are at home.

It is extraordinary what is happening.
And there is gold, I believe, in this strange time.
Perhaps there are gifts.
Nuggets of gold for us. If we help one another.
There is a very strong call
of the species now and as a species
we must each see ourselves. A common fate
holds us here. We knew it. But not well enough.
Either all of us, or no one.

The earth is powerful. Truly alive
I feel it thinking a thought
that we do not know.
And with what’s happening now? Let us consider
whether the earth is not what’s moving.
Whether the law that rules
the entire universe, whether what’s happening,
I wonder, isn’t the full expression of that law
that governs us too – just like
every star – every particle of the cosmos.

Whether the dark matter was this
being bound together in an ardor
for life, with the sweep of death that comes
to rebalance every species.
Keep it within its dimensions, in its place,
going in the right direction. It is not us
who made heaven.

An imposing voice, without words
tells us to stay home now, like children
who are in trouble and don’t know why,
and won’t get kisses, won’t be hugged.
Each within a suspension
that takes us back, perhaps to the slowness
of ancient ancestors, of mothers.

Look more at the sky,
daub a dead man ochre. Bake bread
for the first time. Look intently at a face. Sing
a child softly to sleep.
For the first time
hold someone else’s hand tight
feel the strength of the accord. That we are together.
A single organism. All of humanity
we carry within us. We are saving it inside us.

To that grasp of a palm
in another person’s palm
to that simple act that we are now forbidden –
we will return with greater understanding.
We’ll be here, more attentive, I believe. Our hand
will be more sensitive in the living of life.
Now that we know how sad it is
to stand one metre apart.


Questo ti voglio dire
ci dovevamo fermare.
Lo sapevamo. Lo sentivamo tutti
ch’era troppo furioso
il nostro fare. Stare dentro le cose.
Tutti fuori di noi.
Agitare ogni ora – farla fruttare.

Ci dovevamo fermare
e non ci riuscivamo.
Andava fatto insieme.
Rallentare la corsa.
Ma non ci riuscivamo.
Non c’era sforzo umano
che ci potesse bloccare.

E poiché questo
era desiderio tacito comune
come un inconscio volere –
forse la specie nostra ha ubbidito
slacciato le catene che tengono blindato
il nostro seme. Aperto
le fessure più segrete
e fatto entrare.
Forse per questo dopo c’è stato un salto
di specie – dal pipistrello a noi.
Qualcosa in noi ha voluto spalancare.
Forse, non so.

Adesso siamo a casa.

È portentoso quello che succede.
E c’è dell’oro, credo, in questo tempo strano.
Forse ci sono doni.
Pepite d’oro per noi. Se ci aiutiamo.
C’è un molto forte richiamo
della specie ora e come specie adesso
deve pensarsi ognuno. Un comune destino
ci tiene qui. Lo sapevamo. Ma non troppo bene.
O tutti quanti o nessuno.

È potente la terra. Viva per davvero.
Io la sento pensante d’un pensiero
che noi non conosciamo.
E quello che succede? Consideriamo
se non sia lei che muove.
Se la legge che tiene ben guidato
l’universo intero, se quanto accade mi chiedo
non sia piena espressione di quella legge
che governa anche noi – proprio come
ogni stella – ogni particella di cosmo.

Se la materia oscura fosse questo
tenersi insieme di tutto in un ardore
di vita, con la spazzina morte che viene
a equilibrare ogni specie.
Tenerla dentro la misura sua, al posto suo,
guidata. Non siamo noi
che abbiamo fatto il cielo.

Una voce imponente, senza parola
ci dice ora di stare a casa, come bambini
che l’hanno fatta grossa, senza sapere cosa,
e non avranno baci, non saranno abbracciati.
Ognuno dentro una frenata
che ci riporta indietro, forse nelle lentezze
delle antiche antenate, delle madri.

Guardare di più il cielo,
tingere d’ocra un morto. Fare per la prima volta
il pane. Guardare bene una faccia. Cantare
piano piano perché un bambino dorma. Per la
prima volta
stringere con la mano un’altra mano
sentire forte l’intesa. Che siamo insieme.
Un organismo solo. Tutta la specie
la portiamo in noi. Dentro noi la salviamo.

A quella stretta
di un palmo col palmo di qualcuno
a quel semplice atto che ci è interdetto ora –
noi torneremo con una comprensione dilatata.
Saremo qui, più attenti credo. Più delicata
la nostra mano starà dentro il fare della vita.
Adesso lo sappiamo quanto è triste
stare lontani un metro.