‘Accents Catalans’, USA premiere by The Florida Orchestra, 23 & 24 February, 2022, Clearwater and St. Petersburg.

The Florida Orchestra under the directions of Stuart Malina will perform the American premiere of Accents Catalans (2016) for orchestra -23 February 2022  at the Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, FL USA; and 24 February 2022 at Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg, FL USA.

Accents Catalans for Symphony Orchestra (2016) was commissioned by The Bucheon Philharmonic Orchestra, who under the direction of Youngmin Park, performed the World premiere at the Concert Hall, Seoul Arts Center Orchestra Festival, South Korea, on April 10, 2016. Video of premiere.

The score and parts of Accents Catalans are available for hire at Hofmeister MusicVerlag http://www.hofmeister-musikverlag.com

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.

“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.

May 13, 2016, IBK Concert Hall (SAC), Ensemble La Mer et L’ille performance of Voces de mi tierra

Ensemble La Mer et L’îlle performed two movements of Voces de mi tierra for violin, cello and piano at IBK Concert Hall of the Seoul Arts Center on June 3 and at Ulleung Island on May 13, 2016. Voces de mi tierra is available from the publisher Friedrich Hofmeister.

Solitary for baritone, clarinet, cello and piano

Duration 3’30”   Solitary for baritone, clarinet, cello and piano, based on poetry by Hollis robins, was commissioned by Andrew Talle and it was premiered in the fall of 2009 at Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins.

According to Hollis Robins, the author, the poem Solitary is part of a sonnet sequence called “Sonnets of Imprisonment,” which are all loosely about being bound either by the form or by real or psychological bars. The poet William Wordsworth considered the sonnet form both constraining and liberating; in this longer sequence Robins says that she explores the nature of formal and psychological constraints as they work together. The music attempts to capture the frame of mind of the narrator when faced by real or imaginary threats: the dreadful ‘waiting’ of the footsteps of the guards; the resistance to what one is “supposed to do’ and the violent consequences; the ‘remembrance’ of ‘normal’ life; the foreseeable dread and inevitability of an certain future.

Published by Hidden Oaks Music Co.

Audio of premiere of  Solitary

“Solitary” by Hollis Robins

There is a furtive echo you get used to.
You spend enough time waiting for the sound
of the footsteps of the guard on midnight rounds, it tells you that you’ll do what you’re supposed to.

It reminds me of the summer nights I used to fish at night without a light to hear the sounds of screen porch cocktail laughter drifting down where I listened still and silent well past curfew.

It was worth it still despite the midnight beatings.

Fish helped but fishing wasn’t why I went.

I wished to see how normal people spent Their time on ordinary summer evenings.

I tended not to do what I was told to.
And the whispers told me where I would be sent.

 

Colores Andaluces Program Notes

Goyescas for flute and guitar (2009)

Duration: 20′
This is an arrangement of the piece of the same title (Goyescas) for flute & guitar. The flute & guitar version was written for flutist Marina Piccinini and guitarist Emanuele Segre
It was premiered on January 23, 2009 at the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society.
The flute, viola and piano arrangement was made for Ensemble Gaudi in Barcelona, Spain. It was premiered on June 28, 2009 at the International Music Festival of Sitges (Concerts de Mitjanit)

I.     Pregón
II.    La familia de Carlos IV (The family of Charles IV)
III.   Las majas en el balcón (The maiden on the balcony)
IV.   El sueño (The dream)
V.  La fragua (The foundry)
VI. El entierro de la sardina (The burial of the sardine)

Click here to see GOYAS’ PAINTINGS
Click here for full PROGRAM NOTES

Published by Friedrich Hofmeister Musik Verlag.

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Three performances in England – July 3, July 26 and October 6, 2011

Voices of the Rainforest (2007) for flute, cello and piano

Marsyas Trio 
Burgh House, Hampstead, London – July 3, 2011, 3:00 PM
Warwick Road United Reformed Church, Coventry – July 26, 2011, 1 PM
Molley Valley Arts Alive Festival
St. Martin’s Church, Dorking, England – October 6, 2011, 13:00 PM.

Voices of the rainforest is a loose representation of a day in the life of the rainforest. This work came about as a result of my life-long fascination and love for nature. 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. It consists of five movements:

I. Awakening
II. Sago gatherers
III. Evening rainstorm
IV. Voices of ‘inside’ night
V. Night spirits
.

The slow movement (Voices of the night) uses both the alto flute and the regular flute. However there is a version for regular flute only.

Read full PROGRAM NOTES
Published by Hofmeister MusikVerlag. Available for sale.

Finland – May 27, 2010

Voces de mi tierra for flute, cello and piano

Performance at Tapiola Symphony Concert Series in Finland 
Hanna Juutilainen, flute
Huilu Tuija Rantamaki, cello
Naoko Ichihashi, piano 

Voces de mi tierra was written for the Meininger-Trio and was premiered at the 15th International Bodensee Festival in Meersburg, Germany, on May 24, 2003.

Voces de mi tierra has received many performances in the US and Europe including Bargemusic in Brooklyn (NY), Cactus Pear Music Festival (Texas), Mendelssohn-Festtage 2005 – Kammermusik im Schumann-Haus, Leipzig; Potsdamer Festspiele SansSouci, Potsdam, Brandenburg (Germany); Bodensee International Music Festival in Bad Waldsee, Germany. Chamber groups that have performed Voces de mi tierra include theMeninger-Trio (Germany), Trio Murali (Belgium), NeoArs Sonora (Spain), All Season Chamber Players,Toki Ensemble, neoLit Ensemble, Terzetta Trio, Davanti Trio Kathryn Master and friends, and Terra Voce.

Published by Hofmeister Musik Verlag

I. El Cortejo (Courtship)
II. Noche en la Alhambra (Night in the Alhambra)
III. La moza y el gitano (Scherzando) (The peasant and the gypsy)
IV. Gigue.

PERFORMANCE HISTORY

PROGRAM NOTES

Meininger-Trio‘s recording of Voces de mi tierra for flute, cello & piano is available on the Haenssler PROFIL EDITION label distributed by Naxos.