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.
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.
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.
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.
1 Piccolo (dedicated)
1 English Horn (dedicated)
2 Clarinets in B flat
1 Bass clarinet (dedicated)
4 French Horns
2 Trumpets B flat
2 Tenor Trombones
1 Bass Trombone
4 Timpani (32”, 28”, 25”, 23”)
Percussion (4 percussionists)
(Provençal tambourine, snare drum, Glockenspiel, Xylophone, bass drum, triangle, cymbals, castanets, woodblocks, tambourine, wind chimes)
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.
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 (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.
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.
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.
Pianist Jinha Park offered a piano recital at Kumho Art Hall on May 27, 2016, at 8 PM which included Homenatge a Mompou commissioned and premiered by Dutch pianist Marcel Warms in 2006. This work was written as an homage to Catalonian composer Federico Mompou, which I had the pleasure to meet and play for back in the late 70s. Jinha’s recital also included works by Beethoven, Chopin and Schumann.
Homenatge a Mompou is published by Friedrich Hofmeister Musikverlag.