The Companion Guide to Rome / by Anne Lanzilotti

Thanks to everyone who came to the opening concert of Casalmaggiore Festival! It was wonderful to play Sabina in such a beautiful and resonant space outdoors, and for such an attentive and supportive audience!

Sabina is the last movement of The Companion Guide to Rome (2010), a collection of nine pieces for violin, viola, and cello by the American composer Andrew Norman (b. 1979). One of the things I love about the piece is that there are so many different entry points for audience members: perhaps someone who is an engineer and will love the math-heavy analysis of Ivo, which employs twelve tone compositional techniques; perhaps an art student will be riveted by the musical representation of bel composto, and the physicality of Teresa; yet another audience member may be engaged by their love of history, and the three-tiered timbral structure of Clemente reflecting the church of the same name with layers from the twelfth-, fourth-, and first-centuries.

I wrote my doctoral dissertation on The Companion Guide to Rome, creating a description and analysis of how Andrew uses different compositional styles to express the art or architecture of these churches (read the abstract here). For those who asked if I was amplified/using electronic distortion, the performance was completely acoustic—I was using a variety of extreme timbres as indicated by the composer. If you'd like a closer look at these and other extended techniques in Andrew Norman’s music, please visit: In addition, an excerpt from the trio version of Sabina is included below.

It is always a pleasure to share the work with new audiences. In a way, these musical companions became my patient guides for a few rough years during the rite of passage that is writing a dissertation.