Cities and Memory’s Inferno Soundscapes (2020)

“To mark the 700th anniversary of Dante’s masterpiece The Divine Comedy, more than 80 artists from all over the world have created his vision of Hell through sound – this is the Cities and Memory Inferno.”   —Cities & Memory website (posted November 23, 2020)


Listen also to Cities and Memory‘s soundtrack to Giuseppe de Liguoro’s 1911 film L’Inferno, available on YouTube:

Riccardo Muti’s “Concert for Dante” in Rome (2020)

“As part of ongoing programs that commemorate the 700th anniversary of the death of celebrated Italian poet Dante Alighieri this year, Riccardo Muti leads a special “Concert for Dante” in Rome on Oct. 3…

muti-leads-concert-for-dante-in-rome-october-2-2020The program features several works and composers inspired by Dante’s masterwork The Divine Comedy, which portrays the poet’s journey through the afterlife traveling through the Inferno, Purgatory and ultimately arriving in Paradise. The Te Deum, which is recognized as one of the earliest surviving Christian hymns, is heard by the poet as he enters Purgatory. Verdi’s Laudi alla Vergine Maria, an a cappella choral work for female voices, incorporates text from a short prayer in Canto XXXIII of Paradise, the third part of The Divine Comedy. Composer Franz Liszt, who is represented on this program with his symphonic poem Les préludes, was a great admirer of Dante’s work and was also inspired to write the Dante Symphony, which Muti, Zell Music Director of the CSO, led in performance in 2017, and offers a glimpse into the theological and emotional world portrayed in The Divine Comedy. 

The celebrations to honor Dante, whom many recognize as the “Father of the Italian Language,” started several weeks ago on Sept. 5 when President Mattarella participated in a special ceremony at the poet’s tomb in Ravenna, Italy, where the Dante died in 1321.” []    —CSO Sounds & Stories, October 2, 2020

See more information on special Dante anniversary programs at Dante2021.

Selva Oscura Album, Lawrence English and William Basinski (2018)

“Tonight, as part of the Fulcrum Arts Annual Benefit fundraiser—which itself sits within Fulcrum Arts’ A×S Festival: City as Wunderkammer—Lawrence English and William Basinski will present the world premiere performance of their collaborative album Selva Oscura.”    –XLR8R Staff, XLR8R, November 7, 2018

“9 Times Marilyn Manson Was the Greatest Rockstar in Any Circle of Hell”

“Marilyn Manson, the man and his eponymous band, brought darkness back into the spotlight in the early ‘90s. Achieving popularity without a scalp scraped by butterfly clips or an official Pog line, Manson became the new face of fear. Fear of violence, sex, vulgarity, drugs, and most crucially Satanism. He was hailed by fans of alternative music, and reviled by the mainstream, as the self-styled Antichrist Superstar. Just like mythical depictions of the Anti-Christ, Manson has a silver (forked) tongue and an intelligence that few can comprehend. He is a cause for parents to fear their teenager’s headphones, coiled around their babies like the snake in Eden.

[. . .]

In Manson, no creative force has brought such a vivid and lyrical depiction of Hell since Dante’s Inferno, the first part of the fourteenth-century epic poem Divine Comedy. The band’s back catalogue gives as nuanced and sprawling a Hell as Dante, taking listeners through all nine circles. Whereas Dante’s guide was Roman Poet Virgil, ours is the icon formally known as Brian Warner.”    –Daniel Wylie, What Culture, August 10, 2020

Hell O’Dante

Hell o’ Dante è uno spettacolo di narrazione che affronta l’Inferno in 34 serate ognuna dedicata a un canto.

Attraverso una rigorosa ricerca e il commento di brani pop-rock suonati dal vivo, Saulo Lucci sviscera le terzine e i personaggi in esse racchiusi, la situazione storica e le pene tanto mirabilmente dipinte così come il pensiero dell’autore dando nuova vita a tutto ciò, per riconsegnare agli spettatori la bellezza di una commedia che merita più di ogni altra mai scritta l’attributo di Divina.”    —Cine Teatro Baretti, July 17, 2020

Dan Christian, All My Life’s A Circle… A Harry Chapin and Dante Alighieri Anthology (2006)

“Taking ideas and putting them into action is a specialty of Baltimore, Maryland, English teacher Dan Christian. In his quarter century of teaching at The Gilman School, Christian has successfully merged his two passions, the music of Harry Chapin and the teaching of Dante’s poem the Divine Comedy. The result is a thought-provoking and insightful spiral-bound book of student essays called All My Life’s A Circle…A Harry Chapin & Dante Alighieri Anthology.

Until this year, Christian’s in-class efforts had been informal, with references to Harry being made as ideas arose while teaching. Recalling a concept that emerged from a 1990 seminar for teachers of Dante’s work, this year Christian formally put ‘celestial cross-pollination’–the intersection of art and literature–into place. Christian notes, ‘I asked my students to answer the question: Why and in what ways could a character in Dante’s poem have benefited from or been enriched by listening to this particular song?'”    –Linda McCarty, Circle!, Summer 2006

Dan Christian was the 2017 winner of the Durling Prize of the Dante Society of America, which recognizes exceptional accomplishments by North American secondary school teachers who offer courses or units on Dante’s life and works. Read more about Dan’s teaching philosophy on his website https://danteiseverywhere.com/.

Lou’s Inferno – Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock

“Lou’s Inferno is located in the Rock Underworld (revealed after you play through Story Mode) and is a very large room with Thick Izzy sitting on a throne behind the drummer. During a song, he will hit his hammer against the floor if your Rock Meter is in the green level as if rocking out to the music. To the left of the band (the right side of the stage from the crowd’s point of view) is a relatively small fire in a chimney. On the opposite side of the stage is a much larger fire. In front of the stage, a large crowd of people, possibly demons (in this case meaning people who have died and been sentenced to Hell, or, possibly, souls of people collected by Lou or Grim Ripper) has gathered to watch the show. All around the venue, there are red, horned women dancing. It’s basically the Guitar Hero version of Hell.”    —WikiHero, February 19, 2018

Learn more about Neversoft’s 2007 video game Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock here.

Tedua, Vita Vera Mixtape (2020)

Italian rapper Tedua’s 2020 album Vita Vera Mixtape features a Doré-inspired cover. The track “Mare Mosso” (featuring Bresh, produced by Garelli) opens with a reference the first canto:

“Mi ritrovai in una selva oscura, scura
E non sapevo più nulla, nulla
Perdonerai chi in amore ti trascura, scusa
Ma infondo già lo sai
Restar da solo può fare più paura
Vorrei prendermi del tempo per me
Vorrei metterti nel letto perché
Vorrei chiederti se ancora provi le emozioni
Di quei giorni e come autori
Mi racconti le tue storie o vuoi tenerle per te?”

In an interview in Corriere della Sera, Tedua had this to say about his relationship to Dante: “Il concetto sarà chiaro con l’album, il terzo della mia carriera. Questo è uno spoiler per tenere alta l’attenzione del pubblico. Non sarà però una tesina su Dante: non ho la competenza culturale dei classicisti, sarà il mio racconto.” Il Sommo Poeta sarà la terza incarnazione del rapper, nei panni di DanTedua. “Amo metafore e allegorie: aiutano molto a dare una linea a tutto il progetto.”

[. . .]

“Con Dante affronterò il percorso all’interno della società borghese per analizzarne pregi e difetti, ipocrisie e contraddizioni. L’artista quando diventa famoso entra in contatto con i borghesi ma per non perdersi nella selva oscura e tornare a vedere le stelle deve rimanere se stesso, purezza e verità.”   –Tedua with Andrea Laffranchi, “Tedua, rap vincente: «Musica di strada pensando a Dante»,” Corriere della sera (June 25, 2020)

Contributed by Alex Basili (MA, Florida State University ’22)

Dante at the Innovation in Music Conference

“The annual Innovation In Music conference in London recently saw Audinate’s Dante help deliver a first of its kind performance, according to audio engineer Dr Paul Ferguson.

“The conference is an international music event that brings together researchers and professionals  shaping the future of the music industry. The event welcomes academics, artists, producers, engineers, music industry professionals, and manufacturers to come together and hear presentations and discussions on a wide range of topics. The most recent conference was held at the University of West London’s Ealing Campus and covered a number of topics including music production, performance and composition, studio technology innovation, and platforms for music sale, streaming and broadcast, to name a few.

[. . .]

“‘Unfortunately, the COVID-19 virus has brought a new perspective to performing, and for gigging musicians, this GPS clock capability potentially allows musicians to safely connect and collaborate over hundreds of miles,’ added Ferguson. ‘What happens when artists want to do their next album or collaborate with others? Until our work lives return to normal, this presents an excellent, next-best-thing-to-being-there option. And even after the ban is lifted, this will be an economical and efficient way to bring creativity together over great distances.'”    –Daniel Gumble, Installation, June 9, 2020

In this case, the reference is to DANTE, the AV networking protocol (Digital Audio Network Through Ethernet). The acronym and the image of the circles (as well as some of the marketing around Audinate’s Dante and related products) play on the name and fame of the poet.

L’Orfeo – Claudio Monteverdi

Italian composer Claudio Monteverdi’s 1607 opera L’Orfeo, the third act of which includes the words “Lasciate ogni speranza voi ch’entrate.”