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. 

Recording of “Imitació del Foc”(Imitation of fire) this August

Imitació del Foc (Imitation of Fire) was recorded on August 10-13, 2018, by Jess Muñoz, tenor, and pianist Oksana Glouchko, with producer/engineer Andreas Meyer. This recording will be part of an album featuring 24 Art Songs by Catalan Composers of the 20th and 21st Centuries.  Upcoming performances of Imitacio del Foc will take place in the Spring of 2019 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) (Feb 28), Furman University, SC (Feb 24), Newberry College, SC (Feb 26), and Highpoint University, NC. 

Imitació del Foc (Imitation of Fire) for tenor & piano was commissioned by tenor Jess Muñoz,with generous support from a University of Delaware General University Research Grant.  It was premiered on March 12, 2018, at the University of Delaware in a program dedicated to Catalonian and Latin American women composers. Additional concerts were presented throughout this Spring along other music by Catalonian composers, including  Toldra and Mompou.  Some of the concerts took place at Gore Recital Hall Roselle Center for the Arts, Mansfield University of Pennsylvania, Central Michigan University,  Michigan State University, Indiana University -South Bend, Taylor University, and Market Street Music Concert Series.

Imitació del Foc is based on poetry by Mallorquin poet Bartomeu Rosselló-Pòrcel (1913-1938). It includes four poems: I. Inici de campana (Quadern de sonets); II.Escolto la secreta… (from Imitacio del Foc, ‘Arbre de Flames’); III. Pluja brodada (Imitacio del foc, ‘Fira encesa’); and IV. Ardent himne (Imitacio del foc, ‘Arbre de Flames’).

Roger Morello Ròs, La Pedrera (Barcelona) March 17, 2019

Catalan cellist, Roger Morello Ròs, will perform Homenatge a Pau Casals for cello solo at the famed Gaudi building Casa Mila (La Pedrera) in Barcelona on March 17, 2019. Roger Morello Ròs is an artist in residence for the 2018-19 season at La Pedrera.

Becky Billock & ‘Mother Earth’ Program Spring 2019

Becky Billock will include Mirage in her ‘Mother Earth‘ program, which she will be recording and performing this season. The opening concert will take place on Sunday April 28, 2019. 2:30pm at Levy Hall. Other concerts in Pittsburg, PA; Portland, OR;  Olympia, WA; Seattle, WA; Bellingham, WA; Grove City College, PA; and various concerts in Norway. More information.

 

Jinha Park at Colorado International Piano Academy, July 22, 2018

Pianist Jinha Park gave a lecture on my piano music and performed Mirage at the Colorado International Piano Academy on July 22, 2018.

Tiempo de amor, soprano Patricia Caicedo, February 27, 2018, in Barcelona

On February 27, 2018, Patricia Caicedo performed “Tiempo de amor” in Barcelona, at the Col-legi de Metges'”, in a program of women composers from Catalunya and Latin America.

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