September 5, 8:00 PM, Kumho Art Hall, Jinha Park, Piano Recital 

Pianist Jinha Park performed Homenatge a Mompou (Homage to Mompou) on September 5, 8:00 PM at Kumho Art Hall in Seoul.  The program included Mozart Sonata K. 576, Rachmaninoff Variations on a theme of Corelli, Elisenda Fabregas, Homenatge a Mompou, and Schumann Carnaval.

I have always felt very close to Mompou’s music. I performed for him in Barcelona in 1978 right before going to study piano at the Juilliard School in New York City. A few years back, Mompou had performed and lectured on his music at The Juilliard School and he was well remembered and respected there. Mompou was a very imposing and tall man, with very large hands, but with a very gentle and quiet personality. While in New York I studied and performed most of Mompou’s music. The Catalan melodies in his music made me very nostalgic of my country. Later on, the study of Mompou’s music proved to be a powerful influence on my own compositional style. When in the summer of 2006 Marcel Worms approached me with the idea of writing an Homage to Mompou for the 25th anniversary of his death I was thrilled!Homenaje a Mompou is a set of three short pieces where I use quartal harmony and frequent changes of mood and pace. Because Homenaje a Mompou was commissioned to be premiered at an all-Mompou’s piano recital I decided to focus on the playful, joyous and rhythmic side of Mompou’s music so that my piece would provide some contrast with Mompou’s lyric style.

I. “Crits en el carrer” (Screams in the street) – I focus on the characteristic melodic and rhythmic motif (ascending and descending major second) of the beginning theme of “Cris dans la rue” from (“Scenes of infants”). My objective was to work with this melodic and rhythmic motif in different moods: from mysterious and longing to playful and energetic. A fragment of this characteristic theme is featured at the climactic center of the piece marked (Energico). Surrounding the theme appear short variations of the above-mentioned motif in diverse moods, sometimes in an abrupt manner without transitions.

II. “Tengo una muñeca vestida de azul” (I have a doll with a blue dress) – I emulate Mompou’s use of folksongs by featuring a Spanish children’s song: varying it and presenting it with different harmonizations and rhythms. The rhythmic motif of the folksong is a powerful force in this movement and it originates the new theme appearing at the Piu mosso in forte. Afterwards both themes and their variations start a conversation but the first theme has the last word.

III. “Jocs de carrer” (Street games) – This movement celebrates the most playful and rhythmic side of Mompou. It is a colorful piece featuring a characteristic propulsive rhythm in the main theme that permeates the whole movement. The use of clusters, glissandi, syncopations, insistent rhythms, and abrupt changes of harmony and register give color and restlessness to this movement. A varied quotation of a chord and melodic progression from Mompou’s Impresiones Intimas (III) appears in bars 56-60.

 

 

Marsyas Trio performs Voices of the rainforest at Vale of Glamorgan Festival, Wales

The London-based Marsyas Trio performed ‘Voices of Inside Night’ from Voices of the rainforest at Vale of Glamorgan Festival in Wales on May 25, 2017. The program was titled ‘Gates of the soul.’

Voices of the rainforest for flute (alto flute), cello and piano (2007) was written for the Meininger-Trio, who performed the premiere at the Ibero American Institute in Berlin on March 14, 2008, followed by a live broadcasted performance at the WDR Radio Station in Cologne, Germany, on March 15, 2008.

Voices of the rainforest is a loose representation of a day in the life of the rainforest in Papua New Guinea.  This work came about as a result of my life-long fascination and love for nature and a request from Christiane Meininger.  A recording of actual sounds of insects, barking frogs, birds, and the singing of natives of the Papua New Guinea rainforest was the final inspiration for this work.

I. Awakening – At first a mix of darkness and light, then slowly the light filters through the tall trees taking over the darkness, and the stillness begins to move. Birdcalls and the incessant metallic buzzing of insects mark the beginning of a new day. The natives call this part of the day ‘from morning night’ to ‘real morning’.  The flute starts with a birdcall that will be an important structural element in this work. This movement leads without interruption to the second movement.

II. Sago gatherers – During the ‘afternoon darkening’ human voices appear in the forest. The Kaluli women in Papua New Guinea cut and collect ‘sago’, an essential food plant in their diet. They sing haunting monotonous calls inflected with irregular accents while they work. First is one voice, and then other voices join in like a cacophonous choir.

III. Evening rainstorm – “wind arrives, sounds explode”. Cicada calls, barking frogs and the insistent metallic buzzing of pulsing insects brings “afternoon darkening” and the arrival of the daily downpour, the wild wind, the random crash of weak branches, the sonic boom of thunder … a cacophony of sounds.

IV. Voices of ‘inside’ night –The expressiveness of the ‘alto flute’ reflects on the mystery of the rainforest night and the quiet sorrow of the creatures within.

V. Night spirits is an abstract representation of a ceremonial night-dance by which natives drive their dead (spirits) away. Hundreds of dancers run wildly to the edge of a central fire while the chorus sings a song, the dancers then move wildly, doing a circling dance around the fire until dawn, driving the spirits of the dead away and leaving the tribe in peace.

Tiempo de amor presented in California, Barcelona, and recorded by Patricia Caicedo

Tiempo de amor (Time for Love) (2015) for soprano, tenor and piano, was commissioned by soprano Patricia Caicedo, founder and director of Barcelona Festival of Song.  It was premiered at the Barcelona Festival of Song in July 2015.  Patricia Caicedo recently performed this work at the Biblioteca de Catalunya (Sala Llevant) on December 12, 2016, and at the University of California Riverside on February 1, 2017.  She has recorded this work on CD along with Brazilian tenor Lenine Santos and pianist Nikos Stavlas and is available on Mundo Art Records.

Tiempo de amor (Time for Love) (2015) for soprano, tenor and piano is set to texts by Andalusi poet Ibn Zaydun (1003-1071) and princess Wallada (1011-1091). Both poets were born in Cordoba at the height of the Al-Andalous culture in Spain and were known as the lovers of Cordoba, due to their passionate love relationship. The text used in this work are fragments of the letters they wrote to each other, which have come to us through Wallada in the form of poems.

This song cycle includes six songs that are sung without a break. The tenor (Ibn Zaydun) and soprano (Wallada) sing alternate songs as if it were a dialogue, sometimes questioning each other or commenting on the state of their relationship. The text of the last song are the epitaphs written in a monument in Cordoba dedicated to them.

Extended program notes and text lyrics in Spanish

 

Triomos to perform Voces de mi tierra in Spain and Argentina

Triomos, a young group based in the Netherlands, will present Voces de mi tierra for flute, cello & piano in several concerts in Spain and Argentina.  More details to come.  Promo video of their tour. Recent performance of Voces de mi tierra by Triomos.

2017 USA Tour – Voces mi tierra for piano trio with Trio Nova Mundi

Trio Nova Mundi will perform a series of concerts in the USA featuring Voces de mi tierra for piano trio. Twelve performances  will take place from February through June in Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Oregon, and Washington State.  In addition, this September they performed Voices de mi tierra in three concerts in Michigan.

September 30, 2016, Accents Catalans performance by the Bucheon Philharmonic in Bucheon

A second performance of Accents Catalans (2016), a Symphonic overture based on Catalonian folk music, was performed by the Bucheon Philharmonic with Maestro Youngmin Park in Bucheon on September 30, 2016, 7:30 PM.  Accents Catalans (‘Catalan accents’) was commissioned by The Bucheon Philharmonic of South Korea and Maestro Youngmin Park, and was premiered at the Concert Hall of the Seoul Arts Center during the Orchestra Festival Series on April 10, 2016.  This September concert will replaced the originally scheduled May 12 concert. Maestro Park just released a new CD on SONY records featuring Mahler’s 6th Symphony. 

July 15, 2016, Plaça del Rei, Barcelona, performance of Symphony No 1 for Band (two mov.)

On July 15, 2016, the Banda Municipal de Barcelona conducted by Maestro Salvador Brotons performed the second and last movements of Symphony No. 1 for symphonic band, at the Plaça del Rei in Barcelona.

‘Wandering Spirit’ for vln & pno, was performed on July 2 at MNAC (Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya) in Barcelona by Heriberto Fonseca and Keiko Ueno

Wandering Spirit (2013) for violin and piano was recently performed several times in Barcelona by Heriberto Fonseca, violin, and  Keiko Ueno, piano. On July 2, 2016, at MNAC (Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya), on June 27 at Puig Pianos, and on April 30 at Sole Luthiers.

Wandering spirit for violin and piano is a musical metaphor for the quest for truth, symbolized musically by moments of discovery, with longing and soaring solo lines in the violin, and moments of struggle marked by dissonant interaction between the violin and the piano. This work ends with a bright major harmony through which both the music resolves and the quest comes to an end.

Published by Friedrich Hofmeister Musikverlag.

June 2016, Barcelona, Symphony No. 1 for Symphonic Band recorded for Naxos by the Banda Municipal de Barcelona with Maestro Brotons

This June, the Banda Municipal de Barcelona conducted by maestro Salvador Brotons recorded for Naxos Elisenda’s Symphony #1 for Symphonic Band. On July 15, two movements from the Symphony were performed at the historic Plaça del Rei in Barcelona on July 15.  Symphony #1 for Symphonic Band was commissioned and premiered by the Banda Municipal de Barcelona on February 8, 2014, at L’Auditori de Barcelona with Maestro Youngmin Park conducting.

April 10, 2016, Seoul Arts Center Orchestra Festival, premiere of ‘Accents Catalans’ by the Bucheon Philharmonic & maestro Youngmin Park

Accents Catalans (‘Catalan accents’), a Symphonic work based on Catalan folk music commissioned by The Bucheon Philharmonic of South Korea and maestro Youngmin Park, was premiered to an enthusiastic audience at the Concert Hall of the Seoul Arts Center during the Orchestra Festival Series on April 10, 2016.