After Marco Minà's recording of Henze's Royal Winter Music was made available online in November 2022, the long-awaited CD has finally been released, supplemented by an extensive booklet and a highly informative documentary on DVD.
Marco Minà met the composer Hans Werner Henze in 1990, and although the two lived in close proximity to each other, this proved to be highly complicated. Minà had studied guitar at the "G. Verdi" Conservatory in Milan and completed his studies in aesthetics and music history at the "La Sapienza" University in Rome. At that time, he was working on his dissertation on the Royal Winter Music, which he had already performed several times at that time, and some questions came to his mind. When he played the work for the Maestro, he told him that he was wondering about some very obvious "foreign bodies" in the printed score. This first meeting was followed by many others both at Villa La Leprara, Henze's residence in Marino, and in London, where Henze heard, among other things, Sonata II in Minà's interpretation at St Martin-in-the-Fields. Afterwards, the guitarist was a frequent and welcome guest at concerts at La Leprara.
Like other colleagues before him, Minà thoroughly studied the Royal Winter Music autograph in the Paul Sacher Foundation in Basel when planning the recording. The planned one-day study turned into a whole week of intensive work, because while looking through the manuscript, the guitarist made sensational discoveries, starting with the exchange of the third and fourth movements, Ariel and Ophelia, in Sonata I. He found more than 300 other changes that Julian Bream - to whom the sonatas were dedicated - had made to the score, some of which decisively altered the atmosphere of the music and the character of the Shakespearean figures depicted. These were therefore serious interventions in the dramaturgical and narrative architecture of Henze's music. Often the notes had been altered in such a way that the original musical structure was in part no longer recognisable.
On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of Henze's death in October 2022, the recording could already be heard online. Now, under the patronage of the Hans Werner Henze Foundation and the Paul Sacher Foundation, the CD has been published by Novantiqua and the new critical printed version, for which Marco Minà (and, for the 2nd Sonata, Otto Tolonen) is also responsible, has been published by Schott. The CD contains a booklet with photos by Fabio Mantegna taken in the Villa La Leprara and a DVD of about two hours which the director Gianmarco Santoro filmed in the country house built by Henze outside Rome. In this documentary, Marco Minà and Michael Kerstan talk about Henze's life, which is intertwined with the places, musical production and encounters experienced by the composer. The film also reveals the gratitude for such an important and precious friendship.
After presenting some three movements in Montepulciano in July 2022, Marco Minà gave a larger public première in January 2023 in Basel (Gare du Nord) curated by the Paul Sacher Foundation.