Repartido entre tiempo y espacio for soprano, trumpet & piano (2016)

Repartido entre tiempo y espacio for soprano, trumpet & piano was commissioned and dedicated to Antoni Solé. The premiere took place in 2016 at Sala Sole Luthiers in Barcelona and was performed by soprano Margarita Natividade, and pianist Xavier Rivera.

This work is based on a poem in Spanish by Juan Eduardo Cirlot titled “A Osiris”.

Imitació del foc (Imitation of fire) for tenor & piano

  • Duration 12′
  • Poetry by Rosselló-Pòrcel (1913-1938) in Catalan
  • Commissioned by tenor Jess Muñoz,with generous support from a University of Delaware General University Research Grant.
  • Premiered on March 12, 2018, at the University of Delaware in a program dedicated to Catalonian and Latin American women composers.
  • This work was recorded on August 10-13, 2018, by Jess Muñoz, tenor, and pianist Oksana Glouchko, with producer/engineer Andreas Meyer and will be part of an album featuring 24 Art Songs by Catalan Composers of the 20th and 21st Centuries.

Performance history

Text

Imitació del foc (Imitation of fire) for tenor & piano is a song cycle for tenor and piano based on four poems in Catalan by Bartomeu Rosselló-Pòrcel (1913-1938), a Spanish Balearic poet, who wrote in Catalan. He died of tuberculosis at the age of 24. He has a brief oeuvre but dense. His mature work, Imitation of fire (1938) turns him into the first Mallorcan poet who fully belongs to the twentieth century. Once the influence of the Mallorcan School has been overcome, the poetics of this last book are influenced by the generation of 1927, as well as by the avant-garde and specifically surrealism. There are also echoes of his interest in Spanish Baroque literature, along with a neo-populism similar to that of García Lorca or Rafael Alberti. In Rosselló-Pòrcel work is notable the presence of the symbol of fire, and related words, such as fire, flame, ash, charcoal burning and bonfires. The use of these symbol is not purely ornamental, but it reveals a deeper sense. The fire for Roselló-Porcell is purification, the struggle of opposites, light, life, rise, movement and perpetual change, immateriality and mastery. This vision of the fire connects Rosselló-Porcell directly with a pre-Socratic philosopher, Heraclitus, who found in fire an overcoming of all processes of change that view reality.

The four poems selected in this song-cycle come from the collection Imitacio del foc and Quadern de sonets (an earlier work).

  1. Inici de campana (Bells start tolling) from Quadern de sonets, written in 1934
    This opening piece starts brilliantlly with tolling bell-like sounds calling for the parishioners. The spiritual symbol of church bells can be associated with the creative power, poetry and its followers. Rossello’s poem describes the poet in the evening hearing church bells and settlying at dusk into his home as a metaphor for internal search.
  2. Escolto la secreta…(I listen to the secret…) from Imitacio del Foc, Arbre de Flames). In this poem the poet explores the relation between himself and death when he “listens attentively to the secret harmony of the air and the ardor that trembles from great free waters.” The music is intimate and personal evoking the inner life and reflections of the poet.
  3. Pluja brodada (Embroidered rain) from Imitacio del foc, Fira encesa, written in 1938, is a poem in which the poet extols and personifies the rain, a natural element, in a precious manner, first reminding us of the sound of rain in a graphic manner. At the beginning of the poem the rain ‘dances’ joyously but little by little takes on a restless character. The music evokes the sound and moods of the rain; the tímbric sound on the rain is portrayed by sparkling arpeggios in the higher register of the piano.
  4. Ardent himne (Ardent hymn) from Imitacio del foc, Arbre de Flames, written in 1938. This poem states the dichotomy between the poet and the angel. The text is imbued with action and extraordinarily dynamic power, with fire contrasting with angels (‘homes alats’) and the night, portraying a vision of the world as a fight between contrary and opposite forces that need each other to exist.

Published by Hidden Oaks Music Company. 

Tiempo de amor, for soprano, tenor & piano (2015)

Duration 15′

Commissioned by the 2015 Barcelona Festival of Song and director/soprano Patricia Caicedo.

Premiered on June 27, 2015, by Patricia Caicedo, soprano, Lenine Santos, tenor, and Nikos Stavlas, piano.

Texts by Ibn Zaydun and Wallada (in Spanish)

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.

Published by Hidden Oaks Music Co.

Accents Catalans for Symphony Orchestra (2016)

Duration: 12′

Commissioned by the Bucheon Philharmonic and Maestro Youngmin Park of South Korea

Premiered on April 10, 2016, at the Concert Hall of the Seoul Arts Center as part of the annual Orchestra Festival at SAC.

Accents Catalans (Catalan Accents) is an homage to my native Catalonia, an area in the North-East of Spain with its own language, music and dance, known for its great gastronomy, artistic personalities, and fiercely independent culture. In Accents Catalans I represent symbolically some indigenous traits (or accents) of Catalonia which inspired me to write this work. They are: 1) ‘playfulness’, represented by the joyful and spirited national dance, sardana; 2) ‘magical innocence’ exemplified in the purity of their children’s songs; 3) ‘longing and sadness’ present in the haunting folk songs; and 4) ‘quick mood changes’ from major (happy) to minor (sad) mode in much of the Catalonian traditional music. Another characteristic that greatly appeals to me is the spirituality that transpires in some of the older Catalonian songs, imbued with the ancient sound of medieval Gregorian chant.

All the above traits (or accents) can be found in the more overtly ‘Catalonian’ moments present in Accents Catalans. These include the beginning mountain call in the piccolo and the flute, referencing the song titled ‘Mountain shepherds’ (Els pastors de les muntanyes), accompanied by the Provençal tambourine. Variations of this ‘pastoral call’ reappear throughout the work in the woodwinds, either in its entirety or partially, acting as a musical question, which is answered by a new contrasting section. This mountain call and its variations connect much of the music in this work.

After the initial mountain call section, a new tune, syncopated and in major mode is introduced. This tune is initially played by the French horns and later the whole orchestra, eventually developed and combined with a rhythmic motive from the final dance (Dance of Castellterçol), leading to the Giocoso section. ‘The dance of barley” (El ball de la civada) is the main protagonist in this Giocoso section, set in a joyous major mode first with the brass and then the whole orchestra in a festive mood. Two variations of this tune, each time faster, lead to an exciting climax. Eventually an abrupt mood change returns with the mountain call and leading to the Moderato Cantabile. This is the center of gravity of the work featuring the tune “The little boy” (El petit vailet). This tune is a popular Catalonian sardana appearing first on the bass clarinet (f# minor) solo accompanied by the sardana rhythm () on the Provençal tambourine. The tune reappears dramatically in e minor with the full orchestra (Con passione) followed by several variations in triple rhythm. A later majestic entrance of the same tune in F# major occurs in the last section (Maestoso con spirito) played by the whole orchestra.

Before the final fast section, a timeless Incantato (enchanted) section featuring a Catalan tune “Dolls crying” (Les ninetes ploren) send us to a magical world with soft colors of woodwinds, wind chimes, harp, horns and strings. This is a dream world where time stops. But soon enough, the assertive final dance in minor blurts in, with driving syncopated rhythms, strong brass and full orchestra colors. This is based on the (Dance of Castellterçol) Dansa de Castellterçol. A couple of Playful sections in major mode change for a moment the mood to a child’s play before returning to the overtly rhythmical dance.

Accents Catalans is a one-movement work with three overall sections fast, slow, fast. The characteristic interval of perfect 4th (so prevalent in Catalonian music) is present in many of the selected tunes, including the initial introductory piccolo/flute call, unifying motivically this work. Rhythmic and melodic motives from all these Catalan folk songs above are used in its original form, as well as varied and developed, resulting in new material that connects the tightly knitted fabric.

Instrumentation

1 Piccolo (dedicated)

2 Flutes

2 Oboes

1 English Horn (dedicated)

2 Clarinets in B flat

1 Bass clarinet (dedicated)

2 Bassoons

4 French Horns

2 Trumpets B flat

2 Tenor Trombones

1 Bass Trombone

1 Tuba

4 Timpani (32”, 28”, 25”, 23”)

Percussion (4 percussionists)

(Provençal tambourine, snare drum, Glockenspiel, Xylophone, bass drum, triangle, cymbals, castanets, woodblocks, tambourine, wind chimes)

1 Harp

Violins I

Violins II

Violas

Cellos

Db. Basses

Homenatge a Pau Casals for cello (2015)

Homenatge à Pau Casals (Homage to Pau Casals) for cello, was commissioned by American cellist David James Kim, in occasion of its premiere at the ‘Mas i Mas Festival’ in Barcelona on August 7, 2015. In this solo cello work, I pay homage to Catalan cellist Pau Casals by using ‘El cant dels ocells’ (The song of the birds), an original traditional Catalan Christmas song popularized by Pau Casals himself that became internationally known as a symbol of peace and freedom. Throughout this homage, I use the beginning ascending scale of  ‘Cant dels ocells’ as a recurring motive embedded in the melodic structure. The tune in its entirety does not appear until the end as a symbol of hope for the future!

Triple Concerto for Piano Trio and Orchestra (2015)

Duration: 30′

Commissioned by Trio Nova Mundi

World Premiere by Trio Nova Mundi and the Atlanta Community Symphony Orchestra (ACSO), conducted by Juan R. Ramirez on February 8, 2015, Kopleff Recital Hall, Georgia State University, Atltanta, GA, U.S.A

YOUTUBE VIDEO of excerpts of the premiere

The Triple Concerto for Piano Trio and Orchestra by Elisenda Fábregas is a reflection on the state of coexistence among diverse populations of the world and an homage to the unique medieval culture of Al-Andalous in Spain, a culture in which three diverse populations – Arabs, Jews and Christians – coexisted harmoniously for almost eight centuries. Metaphorically, these three populations are represented by three soloists – sharing equally the limelight, interacting with each other, and dialoguing with the orchestra. There are three movements, each with a tripartite structure.

The first movement (Allegro moderato) features haunting harmonies and pleading melodic gestures evocative of flamenco, as well as an exciting cadenza-like passage for the three soloists in the center. The second movement starts and ends with a Pensaroso (Pensive) section that flanks an intense Appassionato and a triumphal section marked Con resoluzione. The third movement (Allegro deciso) is distinguished for its energy and rhythmic vitality, with an expressive and quasi-religious passage in the center played by the violin and the cello.

Gacelas de amor for soprano, flute & piano

Duration: 9′ 30″  Based on three poems (in Spanish) by Federico Garcia Lorca from the collections Diwan del Tamarit (1931-1934) and Canciones. Commissioned by and written for Christiane Meininger, flute; Jörg Waschinski, male soprano; and Rainer Gepp, piano. World premiere at the Zentrum for Information und Bildung in Unna, Germany. Sponsored by the American Embassy in Berlin, the Center for International Light Art in Unna (Germany) and a travel grant from the Peabody Institute of John Hopkins University.

See full concert program.
Read Concert review (in German) and in English).
I. El amor desesperado
II. Lucia Martinez
III. El amor maravilloso

Published by Hofmeister Musik Velag.

Concerto for Violoncello and Orchestra (2010)

Retorn a la terra (Return to the homeland) (2012) for narrator, clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, trombone, percussion, violin, and double bass

Duration: 20′. Premiere on May 26, 2012, by the Virtuoso Ensemble under the direction of Unai Urrecho and Jong Hoon Yoo narrator Hwaseong Arts Center (Ban Sook Concert Hall of the Dong Tan Art Center of Hwaseong), South-Korea.  The Virtuoso Ensemble included Rodrigo Puskás, violin; Hyo Sun Lee, double bass; Hyonsuk Kim, clarinet; Nguyen Bao Anh, bassoon; Eric Robins, trumpet; Lim Hyun Su, trombone; and Kevin Clarke, percussion.

This composition was inspired by two Catalan poems: Retorn a Catalunya by Josep Carner and La Sardana by Joan Maragall. The first poem is narrated in its entirety and certain parts repeated at certain points in the first and second movements. Carner’s poem portrays the excitement of the poet returning to his native country describing the most characteristic attributes. In the first movement the music is inspired by the anticipation of the return, the excitement at seeing familiar landscapes and vegetation, as well as meeting the Catalan people; in the second movement, connected to the first without a stop, the music freely uses a melancholic Catalan melody that imbues a religious tone to the entire movement. The third movement uses the basic ‘sardana’ rhythm as well as certain melodic turns typical of sardana’s melodies.

Retorn a la terra uses the same instrumentation as L’Histoire du soldat by Stravinsky, and both works were performed at the concert.  Retorn a la terra consists of three movements (the first two are connected.)

I.   La terra de foc (The land of fire)
II.  Records (Memories)
III. Dança (Dance)

Youtube Video of premiere

Published by Hidden Oaks Music Co.