jorge a. bosso

musician, composer, cellist


Tre Meditazioni per coro misto e violoncello

For mixed choir and solo cello
I Cantori di Santomio
Nicola Sella, conductor
Jorge A. Bosso, violoncello

First performance, May 22th 2014, Cathedral of Vicenza, Italy

Commisioned by the Festival Biblico

The nature of eternity follows from immutability, just as the notion of time follows from motion ... Thus, as God is supremely immutable, it belongs most particularly to God to be eternal. Further, not only is God eternal, but God is His own eternity; for although no other thing is its own duration, because no other thing is its own existence. God is His own invariable existence. Hence, as God is His essence, so God is His eternity.

(St. Thomas Aquinas)

The music is the shadow of silence. Silence, the music of God

The narrative, the gesture, the word and the Word in the Bible are some of the topics proposed for the tenth edition of the Festival Biblico that has commissioned to me a composition for mixed choir a cappella and solo cello.

The First Meditation is related to the concepts of silence and speech. The first stimulus was the Landscape with the Parable of the Sower (1557) by Pieter Bruegel the Elder:

Everything stops.

The moment is suspended.
A lone blackbird sings:
remote semblance
primitive appearance,

In 2009 I wrote Der Frühling der Minnesänger for mixed choir a cappella and solo violin, based on Bach’s Partita II. One of the texts that I made ​​use of was the Unter den Linden by Walther von der Vogelweide - a nightingale, while flying over the poet’s poem, shares the secrets of the lovers. We are at the end of the twelfth century, in spite of this, we feel the taste of a vision closer to paganism, near the times when the voices of animals communicated the divine will, until Christianity began to inhabit the space of ancient cultures.

schône sanc diu nahtegal.

The swans drensant, the hen cacillat, the chough fringulit, the owl bubilat, the crow crocilat, the cuckoos cuculant … And everything culminates with all the voices of birds and quadrupeds raising to the Lord the praise due to him. (Voci e rumori nel mondo antico, Maurizio Bettini)

Descartes made ​​the decision to pretend that all the things that have always been introduced in his mind were not truer than the illusions of his dreams. But soon after he realized that while he desired to think - that everything is false – properly this thought was something. And observing that this truth: I think, therefore I am, was so firm and sure, that all the most extravagant suppositions of the skeptics could not shake it, and judged that he could accept it without fear as the first principle of philosophy he was looking for.

Even for us – composers - the only truth about we can have no doubt about it is the silence.

As the instant that wrapped Greek urn,
pupil of silence and late time.
And hanging on the absence of time,
my finger touches it,
and it nods,
it agrees.

And later,

Rise slowly involuntary concentric circles
- that vanish into nothingness –
because the words are exhausting.

And I am reminded of the Ouroboros, an ancient symbol represented by the serpent biting its tail, at the same time an allegory of eternal flux. Because this is what it is all about, panta rhei os potamòs. Everything flows like a river - Heraclitus. I immerse myself in it, and it is no longer the same.

The verses quoted above are inspired by Kohelet.

Hèvel havalìm, hakòl hèvel, ahmar Kohelet.

Vanity of vanities, said Ecclesiastes in the Hebrew translation accomplished by Jerome. The term Hèvel transmits an idea closer to nothingness, emptiness. A vast emptiness, wrote the Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi. Personally, I admire the work done by the Italian writer Erri de Luca regarding the translation of this Holy Book. Moreover, several sources point out of Hevel the same root as that one of Abel. De Luca offers to translate Hèvel as waste. Waste is his destiny of a young life cut down, and his blood shed on the earth/adamà. He is the first waste of Adam, a strong green fruit, shed upon the earth without issue. None of us is a son of Abel.

All things are full of weariness; man may not give their story: the eye has never enough of its seeing, or the ear of its hearing.

(Ecc., 1-8)

A concept more real and present would be difficult to find. The abuse of the word until it becomes meaningless is, to the present day, one of the biggest problems regarding communication in a world designed for consumerism. Today's culture destroys the silence, which is the primary and fundamental condition of the authentic word, such as the need to establish an interest: the need to raise the word to a state of legitimacy to let it be, to exist and essere inter nos.

Far away a raft
- painted the painter -
eternal azure and the sea - ancient language,
said a poet - and
around to it, men listen.

Blessed are those who have
more questions than answers:
to believe and then to understand.

John Locke wrote in his Essay Concerning Human Understanding:

God, having designed the man as a sociable creature, made him not only with a predisposition and necessity to have a communion with those of his own kind, but provided him also of the language, which was designed to be the greatest instrument and most common connection of society.


A dialogue about language implies to speak about symbols, therefore about the man as a symbolic animal, as written by Ernst Cassirer.

The symbols entrust experiences and give an identity to the man.

In honor of the Time

Long time ago, a philosopher proposed a theory: the axis of the world made of diamond. Crystal par excellence, Regina gemmarum, approached by extension to the figure of Christ, as symbol of perfection, pureness and inviolability. Each being has a name that befits the nature rightly, wrote the philosopher in his dialogue Cratylus. In fact, adámas in Greek means unalterable. From a crystal, Messiaen chose to erect a cathedral of sounds in honor of the Time.

The lyrics of the Second Meditation enclose precious stones, signs worshipped in ancient times.

“ Take two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel: six names on one stone and the remaining six on the other. Engrave the names of the sons of Israel on the two stones the way a gem cutter engraves a seal.”

I always felt attracted by the etymologies. Every word, has its own inherent antiquity, its own past, and the claim of a present awareness of their path through the centuries propels us into the future with the knowledge of an archaic modernity. Etymon means in Greek, what it is certain; because the Greeks believed that what it is certain of a word is its origin, the primary instance when it happens.

In Hebrew heritage is nahalà, which in turn comes from the term nahal meaning river. I believe that this comparison is very enlightening and render clearly the idea of ​​a stream, of an evolution, a slow but constant transformation through the time: fathers and sons are in a current, as well as the river, nahal.

The water that comes down.

The worship of sacred springs was a natural cult in the distant past, because the water was put in relation to the prodigality of Mother Earth. The tradition of throwing coins in fountains is a kind of continuation of the symbolic offering to the gods of the water, attributed to the ability to grant wishes and according to this association of ideas: water–land-fertility.
Even the river, nahal, was the image of water that does not stop; it influenced the dynamics and the passage of time. The great civilizations of the ancient world were born on the banks of great rivers: the Ganges, the Indus, the Euphrates and the Nile. The paradise of the Old Testament conceives the world bounded by four heavenly rivers: Pishon, Gihon, Hidekkel (Tigris) and the Phrath (Euphrates). Sometimes, we can read that the source of a particularly important river was in heaven, as the Ganges - daughter of the sacred Mount Meru - ; the mountain was a symbol of closeness to the deity. The mountain, on one hand is closer to the sky, on the other hand, clouds are often concentrated over it - the rain grows up the rivers, from the rivers the miracle of life. Both, the symbol of water as that one of the river, were ancient metaphor and representation of life.

Julian Jaynes wrote, abstract words are as ancient coins whose concrete images have been worn from use in the continuous exchange of speech.

Parable and symbol share the same etymological root and from them, the Three Meditations shape and carve the silence.

The need to transcend our own limits in order to give a response to the saving finitude of man - the man as an orthogonal living being - does not admit the possibility of being separated from the past. Nietzsche wrote in 1874 “ but they, on their way to monumental history and immortality, knew how to greet it with Olympic laughter, or at least with a lofty scorn; and they went down to their graves in irony - for what had they to bury? ”. And later on, “ One thing will live,the sign-manual of their inmost being, the rare flash of light, the deed, the creation; because posterity cannot do without it ”.

The man inherits symbols and transmits intentions. Finally, through symbols, the sound adds an extra meaning to weave its small part composed by an infinite texture of ideas and visions that can almost miraculously connect us today to a human being, an entire culture that lived at a distant point, in an ancient space. The sound as an element of union along space and time.

Time uppercase, without article.

We cannot serve the Word better than by being silent and listening, wrote Johannes Tauler. Both actions are essential conditions of the music, complete mirror of infinity - inherent attribute of language.

The music is the shadow of silence. Silence, the music of God. The silence encloses it.

Despite the music lives through the time - and exists through it - it represents a gesture that will certainly not be a victim of its container, unlike the non performing arts that suffer the course of time. It is an art that has the need of the human being, of his participation, to continue existing. Every performing art is the marvelous blending between ποιεῖν and πράττειν: the wonderful union between creation, mastery and skill.

Time - uppercase - encloses it and, inside it, the notion and intention of a faith in human kind.

Jorge A. Bosso

The lyrics

Meditazione Prima

(Matteo 13, 1-9)
(pensieri in seguito a un dipinto di Pieter Bruegel)


Tutto si ferma.

L’istante è sospeso.
Canta un merlo solitario:
parvenza remota,
sembianza primigenia,

Tutto si ferma.

Come l’attimo che avvolse quell’urna greca,
alunna del silenzio e del tempo tardivo.
E appeso all’assenza di tempo,
Il mio dito la sfiora,
ed essa annuisce,

Sorgono lentamente involontari
circoli concentrici - che svaniscono nel nulla - ,
perché le parole stancano.

Sator Arepo tenet opera rotas.

Un vecchio pittore e
un arcaico gesto:
azzurro senza tempo,
policrome metafore spuntano lì,
da dove i cerchi, uno ad uno,
alla vista prima si sottrassero.

Simboli e allegorie che ripetono se stesse
come il calcolo di quel vasto periodo celestiale,
perché dal mio moto partono e
verso il mio gesto esse fanno ritorno.

Lontano una zattera,
- dipinse il pittore -,
sull’azzurro sempiterno, il mare - antica lingua
disse un poeta - , e
ad essa intorno, uomini ascoltano.

Beati coloro che hanno
più domande che risposte:
per credere e quindi comprendere.

Canta il silenzio,
un merlo solitario.
E Arepo - con cura -
tiene le ruote del suo carro.

Jorge A. Bosso


Everything stops.

The moment is suspended.
A lone blackbird sings:
remote semblance
primitive appearance,

As the instant that enfolded that Greek urn,
pupil of silence and late time.
And hanging on the absence of time,
My finger touches it,
and it nods,
it agrees.

Rise slowly involuntary concentric circles
- that vanish into nothingness –
because the words are tiring.

Sator Arepo tenet opera rotas.

An old painter and
an archaic gesture:
timeless blue,
polychrome sprouting metaphors,
where the circles, one by one,
at the sight before escaped.

Symbols and allegories that repeat themselves
as the calculation of that vast celestial period,
because from my motion they set up
at my gesture they do return.

Far away a raft
- painted the painter -
eternal azure and the sea - ancient language,
said a poet - and
around to it, men listen.

Blessed are those who have
more questions than answers:
to believe and then understand.

Sings the silence,
  a solitary blackbird.
And Arepo - with care -
keeps the wheels of his chariot.


Meditazione Seconda

(Es. 28, 6-43)

L’efod, le pietre

Sarà l’efod d’oro, di filo violaceo, porpora, scarlatto, e di fin lino. Sarà l’oro, in lamine tagliato in fili, tessuto nella stoffa violacea, porpora, scarlatta, e nel fin lino. Su due pietre d’onice incisi i nomi dei figli d’Israele: sei dei loro nomi sulla prima, e gli altri sei sulla seconda – in castoni d’oro. Sopra di esso quattro ordini di pietre: nel primo sardonio, topazio e smeraldo; nel secondo, rubino, zaffiro e diamante; nel terzo opale, agata e ametista; nel quarto crisolito, onice e diaspro. Saranno dodici, come i nomi delle stirpi d’Israele. E alle fimbrie di esso manto melagrane di color violaceo, porpora e scarlatto, di filo ritorto. Poi, sonagli d’oro puro; e i sonagli in mezzo alle melagrane sopra i lembi del manto, tutt’all’intorno, fra le melagrane. Un sonaglio e una melagrana, un sonaglio e una melagrana, alle fimbrie del manto d’ogn’intorno. E in quel modo Aaron porterà i nomi dei figli d’Israele, sul suo cuore, quando entrerà in luogo santo.
(adattamento Jorge A. Bosso)



Make the ephod of gold, and of blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and of finely twisted line. Made with gold, and with blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and with finely twisted linen. Take two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel: six names on one stone and the remaining six on the other. Engrave the names of the sons of Israel on the two stones the way a gem cutter engraves a seal. Then mount four rows of precious stones on it. The first row shall be carnelian, chrysolite and beryl; the second row shall be turquoise, lapis lazuli and emerald; the third row shall be jacinth, agate and amethyst; the fourth row shall be topaz, onyx and jasper. There are to be twelve stones, one for each of the names of the sons of Israel, each engraved like a seal with the name of one of the twelve tribes. For the breastpiece make braided chains of pure gold, like a rope. Make two gold rings for it and fasten them to two corners of the breastpiece. Fasten the two gold chains to the rings at the corners of the breastpiece, and the other ends of the chains to the two settings, attaching them to the shoulder pieces of the ephod at the front. Make two gold rings and attach them to the other two corners of the breastpiece on the inside edge next to the ephod. Make two more gold rings and attach them to the bottom of the shoulder pieces on the front of the ephod, close to the seam just above the waistband of the ephod. Whenever Aaron enters the Holy Place, he will bear the names of the sons of Israel over his heart.

Meditazione Terza

(Sant’Agostino, discorso 119)

In principio erat Verbum, et Verbum erat apud Deum

In principio erat Verbum, et Verbum erat apud Deum,
et Deus erat Verbum.
In principio erat Verbum. Quid quaeris quid ante erat?
In principio erat Verbum.
si factum esset Verbum, Scriptura diceret: In principio fecit Deus Verbum;
quomodo dixit in Genesi: In principio fecit Deus caelum et terram.
Non ergo in principio fecit Deus Verbum, quia: In principio erat Verbum.
Hoc Verbum quod in principio erat,
ubi erat?
Sequere: Et Verbum erat apud Deum.
Sed solemus, audiendo quotidie humana verba,
vile habere nomen hoc Verbi.
Hic noli habere vile nomen Verbi: Deus erat Verbum.
Hoc, id est Verbum, erat in principio apud Deum.
Omnia per ipsum facta sunt; et sine ipso factum est nihil.

Et Verbum caro factum est et habitavit in nobis,
et vidimus gloriam eius, gloria quasi Unigeniti a Patre,
plenum gratiae et veritatis.


In principio era il Verbo e il Verbo era presso Dio,
In principio era il Verbo.
Perché ricerchi cosa era anteriormente esistente?
In principio era il Verbo.
Se il Verbo fosse stato creato, la Scrittura direbbe: " In principio Dio creò il Verbo ",
come dice nella Genesi: In principio Dio creò il cielo e la terra.
In principio, dunque, Dio non creò il Verbo, perché: In principio era il Verbo.
Appunto il Verbo che era in principio,
Prosegui: E il Verbo era presso Dio.
Per l'ascolto consueto di parole di uomini,
noi siamo abituati a non dar peso al nome che è proprio della Parola.
In questo caso, non ritenere senza valore il termine: " Parola ": Il Verbo era Dio.
Questo, cioè il Verbo, in principio era presso Dio.
Tutto è stato fatto per mezzo di lui, e senza di lui niente è stato fatto.

E il Verbo si fece uomo ed è venuto ad abitare in mezzo a noi;
e noi abbiamo contemplato la sua gloria,
gloria come dell'unico Figlio che viene dal Padre,
pieno di grazia e di verità.


In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
Why do you look for what it was before?
In the beginning was the Word.
If the Word was created, the Scripture would say: In the beginning God created the Word,
as written in the Genesis: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Therefore, in the beginning God did not creat the Word, because: In the beginning was the Word.
In fact the Word that it was in the beginning,
Where was it?
Then: And the Word was with God.
For the typical listening to words of men,
we are used to not give weight to the name that it is the Word.
In this case, do not feel worthless the term: Word, the Word was God.
So, the Word in the beginning was with God.
All things were made through him, and without him nothing was made.
And the Word was made flesh,
and dwelt among us,
and we beheld his glory,
the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,
full of grace and truth.