Asas 1952 the author of the Mass for the Nyondo Mission, where the theme of the“Tropics” as orientation for inspiration was limited to the“Atmosphere” of the landscape and the spiritual influence fromInner Africa, the composer, Alberto Bruni Tedeschi, returns in this work to asi-milar theme in another biographical order and straight through the midst ofimpressions which are awakened by the description of experiences and conveyedby the “carnets de voyage”, adven-tures in Guyana by RaymondMaufrais. These “Carnets” document the last journey of Maufrais,the daring explorer, who disappeared in Guyana; and the countless expeditions,which were orga-nised by his father (who lives in Toulon), have failed to showa trace of him.
“Explorationis for me an adventure of purity and humility”. These words of Maufraiswere placed by Bruni Tedeschi on the title page of the score. To the title,“Journey and End”, is added the subtitle, “Tropical Cantatafor tenor and orchestra”, text by Giampiero Bona.
Inspiredby Maufrais's adventures in Guyana, the text by Bona is grouped in II fragmentsand short chapters which let the narrative material arise in“hymns” and lyrical situations with such tone, bars, liveliness andquickness of the images as in an almost epic popular ballad: the depar-ture;the rain (the expectation); the rain (approaching march); the mosquitos(approaching march); the ghosts (the night); camp I (the night); camp Il(hunger and thirst); camp III (the storm); the connection; the last hunger; thedisappearance.
Onthe musical level, the dense formulation of the instrumental part and theentirety of the sym-phonic score grant the work the very character andmagnificence which one would require to declare it a “concert fororchestra”, but it is, however, a concert without division into genuineindependent movements, since the tenor voice (with the poetic word which thisbrings with it and the expressive tension presented by the rather varying playof syllables largely immerse in his movements) introduces a dominating role tothe action in the course of the musical portrayal in the form of the changingof his gestures, which conjures and strongly veils the instrumentation rich insound colouration and emphasized by percussion instruments, donned with ageneral “foreign” colouration, that was intended by the personalvision of the composer.
Thework begins with an orchestral overture titled “The Sea”. In slowrhythmic succession a con-tinuous rhythmic fluctuation between a deep pleasantsound at first then developing into more complex forms then vanishing in thecolouration and melodic lines, which are raised by the flute, the saxophone anda solo violin, while the harp produces wave-like chords, and an everincrea-sing tension leads ultimately to the tenor's commencement in the firstpart of the Journey: the de-parture, Antilles green sea/green Guyananevening/dancing and crying/on board the Guascogna...
Theaction of the various hymns in subsequent parts of the “Journey”culminates in the excite-ment of the conjuring allegro agitato in Camp III (thestorm): “As a huge buffalo walking/the thunder over the UagiSwamp/Heaven's bowels are bursting/the mist is rising from the Majouri”.After this is the “End”, beginning with “TheConnection”, feverishly torn accents of the deep instruments underliningthe tenor's song “almost spoken” (“Walking on knees/on thetrail of the deadly anaconda”), and the climaxes of dramatie excitementof the penetrating sounds of the tenor's voice and the stormy movement of theorchestra, engulfing the last words: “Forwards, ever forwards/Hours,days, death, endlessness”, and then it stops subbornly with a serious andpitiful tone in the deepest part of the orchestra with two tones near eachother alternating, then falling off with dissipating strength to thedisappearance, in which the musical and poetic alternation come to a close.