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.

“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.

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.

 

Text by Ibn Zaydun and Wallada (in Spanish)

(Wallada writes to Ibn Zaydun)

I. “Cuando apunta la oscuridad” (When night falls) – for Soprano and Tenor

Espera mi visita cuando apunta la oscuridad

Pues opino que la noche es más encubridora de los secretos

Tengo algo contigo que si coincidiera con el sol

éste no brillaría

y si con la luna, ésta no saldría

y si con las estrellas, éstas no caminarían.

 

Ibn Zaydun responds:

II. “Tu amor me ha hecho célebre” (Your love has made me a celebrity) – for Tenor

Tu amor me ha hecho célebre

entre la gente

por ti se preocupa mi corazón y

pensamiento,

cuando tú te ausentas

nadie puede consolarme y

cuando llegas todo el mundo está presente.

 

(spoken) Si he perdido el placer de verte,

me contentaré oyendo hablar de tí.

Si el guardian se descuida,

Me contentaré con un breve saludo.

Temo que los censores sospechen, pero

Hay plazo en el amor?

 

Wallada writes when Ibn Zaydun was absent:

III. “Despues de esta separación”(After this separation) – for Soprano

Acaso hay para nosotros,

después de esta separación, una salida;

puede quejarse cada uno de nosotros

de lo que ha sufrido?

 

Giran las noches y no veo el fin.

De nuestro distanciamiento,

ni la paciencia me libra

de la esclavitud de mi anhelo.

Riegue dios la tierra donde estés

con toda clase de lluvias copiosas.

 

Ibn Zaydun wrote to Wallada:

IV. “Cuando tu te uniste a mí” (When you joined me) – for Tenor

Cuando tú te uniste a mí

como se une el amor al corazón,

y te fundiste conmigo

como el alma se funde con el cuerpo,

enfureció a los detractores

el lugar que yo ocupaba en tí:

en el corazón de todo rival

arde la llama de la envidia.

 

After Ibn Zaydun being seduced by a slave he begged Wallada to forgive him.

He writes:

V. Desde que estás lejos de mí (Since you are away from me) for Tenor and Soprano

Desde que estas lejos de mí,

el deseo de verte consume mi corazón

y me hace lanzar torrentes de lágrimas

mis días son ahora negros y

antes, gracias a ti, mis noches eran blancas.

 

Wallada responds:

(spoken) Si hubieses hecho justicia

al amor que hay entre nosotros

no hubieses amado ni preferido a mi esclava

ni hubieses abandonado la belleza de la rama

cargada de frutos

ni te hubieses inclinado hacia la rama estéril

siendo asi que tu sabes que yo soy

la luna llena en el cielo,

sin embargo, te has enamorado,

por mi desgracia, de Júpiter.”

 

VI. Epitafio (Epitaph) (text written in the monument dedicated to them in Cordoba)

In Ibn Zaydun’s epitaph:

Ay, qué cerca estuvimos y hoy qué lejos!

Nos separó la suerte, y no hay rocío

que humedezca, resecas de deseo,

mis ardientes entrañas; pero en cambio,

de llanto mis pupilas se saturan.

 

In Wallada’s epitaph:

Tengo celos de mis ojos, de mi toda,

de ti mismo de tu tiempo y tu lugar.

Aún grabado tú en mis pupilas,

Mis celos nunca cesarán.

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

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.