Coloured minds (2022) for piano

Coloured minds (2022) for piano was commissioned by and dedicated to Jaeden Izik-Dzurko, a 23 year old Canadian pianist first prize winner of the 2022 Maria Canals Piano Competition, 2022 Santander Paloma O’Shea, and 2022 Hilton Head Piano Competition.

World Premiere on June 8, 2023, Ruhr Piano festival in Essen, Germany by Jaeden Izik-Dzurko

Spanish premiere on June 14, 2023, at Auditorio Nacional de Musica de Madrid by Jaeden Izik-Dzurko

Program notes:

After listening to Jaeden’s version of my composition Portraits I at the Canals competition, I became captivated by his colourful and multidimensional playing, as well as the sincerity of all his performances. Although Canadian, Jaeden’s family background is Hungarian and Ukrainian, and we both have some common interests in color (timbre), light (harmonic contrasts), intervallic distance and geometry, melodic and rhythmic motives, and musical polyphony.

Coloured minds is then the product of a kind of meeting of the minds. Being a Spanish-Catalan by birth, I have always been interested in color and light (I used to paint and draw) and I think visually and geometrically, including in music. I am especially sensitive to intervals and their directional tendencies, horizontally and vertically. Coloured minds incorporates a high level of interaction between right and left hand, harmonic and register (timbre) changes, motivic development, spaced out intervals and chords, and polyphony.

Structurally, I used a modified sonata-allegro form that feels as such from the emotional and psychological relieve that the music brings, and not coming from a traditional use of key signatures. For example, the recapitulation brings back the calmness and comfort of the initial exposition theme and feels like coming home after the restlessness of the development, which is not about fighting themes or fragments of themes, but more of a sensation of being away from home. The second theme is almost like a memory in the recap but in a simpler harmonic language sounding more major and optimistic, as if providing resolution. The emphasis at the end (and the coda) is on the wide spaced intervallic motive which I took from Image (from Portraits) and was one of my favourites as well as Jaeden. This motive is very important in the whole piece. In general, all the motives I use help to create and determine the structure of the piece.

© Hidden Oaks Music Company published. Available for sale after the premiere in June 2023.

‘Parlen les dones’ for mezzo, SATB Choir and Orchestra – El Cor Canta, March 5, 12:00, 2023 – L’ Auditori de Barcelona

  • Parlen les dones (Women speak) for mezzo, SATB choir, and chamber orchestra, has been commissioned by the El Cor Canta, based on four poems by Catalan author Montserrat Abelló. The group El Cor Canta consists of 150 amateur singers that work with various professional chamber orchestras and soloists, conducted by Elisenda Carrasco i Eva Martínez. The premiere of “Parlen les dones” will take place on March 5, 2023 at 12:00, at L’Auditori of Barcelona as well as three other performances in various Auditoris (Concert Halls) in Catalunya. Other details about the chamber orchestra and the mezzo will be announced later.

‘Castell de Miravet’ for Cobla (Memorial Joaquim Serra) commissioned by Agrupació Folklorica Barcelona and Musics per la Cobla. Premiere on November 21, 2022, 19:00

  • The Agrupació Cultural Folklòrica Barcelona in collaboration with Músics per la Cobla has commissioned a new work for the Memorial Joaquim Serra 2022. Titled Castell de Miravet, this new work will celebrate the hundred years anniversary of Agrupació Cultural Folklòrica Barcelona at the premiere on November 21, 2022, 19:00. It will premiered by Cobla San Jordi-ciutat de Barcelona conducted by Marcel Sabaté at Casino de l’Aliança del Poblenou (Barcelona). Castell de Mirabet was recorded on June 29, 2022, on CD and available at the premiere in November 2022. 

 

Danses de la terra (2020) for cello

Duration: 10′

Hidden Oaks Music Co. publisher (music available in this web page)

Video of premiere at Palau Güell in Barcelona by Roger Morelló Ros.

©Elisenda Fabregas

Danses de la terra for solo cello (2020) (10’) (Catalan dances) was written for Catalan cellist Roger Morelló Ros who premiered this work at Palau Güell on October 28, 2020.  Although not literally based on traditional Catalan music, this work is inspired by the composer’s childhood memories of Catalonian dances and folk music. As a Catalan living outside Catalonia since 1978, the author recreates a Catalan sound world of melodic and rhythmic folk idioms tinged with emotions from her childhood.

This work consists of four dances:

  1. Ball d’entrada (Opening dance)
  2. Dansa de rondalla amorosa (Dance of amorous tale)
  3. Ball ceremonial de purificació (Ceremonial dance of purification)
  4. Records de sardana (Memories of sardana)

Pluja brodada (Embroidered rain) (2017/21) for Harp

Duration: 3’40”

Hidden Oaks Music Co. publisher

©Elisenda Fabregas

Pluja brodada was arranged and expanded from a song with the same name from the song cycle Imitacio del Foc (Imitation of fire) for tenor & piano.  It was arranged for Catalan harpist Ester Pinyol.

Duende for cello solo (2020)

Duende for solo cello (2020)  was premiered by Catalan cellist Roger Morelló Ros at the Chamber Music Series of Reus, Tarragona (Spain), 10/16/2020).

Published by Hidden Oaks Music Company.

©2020 Elisenda Fabregas

Uphill: from Clara to Robert for vlc and piano (2021)

Duration 7’30”

Uphill: from Clara to Robert for cello & piano (2021) was written for and dedicated to the Duo of cellist Roger Morelló Ros and pianist Anna KhomichkhoUphill was inspired by a 16th century poem of Pedro Padilla, and also inspired by Clara’s feelings over her caring of Robert and the interruption of her composing activities.

My inspiration to write this one movement work came from two sources. I was inspired by a poem by Pedro Padilla (16th century Spain) entitled “Sierra áspera…” used by R. Schumann. I tied this poem with Clara and Robert Schumann’s relationship. I took the side of Clara as the wife/caregiver of Robert Schumann and imagined her struggles and feelings. Besides her duties as a wife and emotional support to Robert Schumann’s, Clara was also the mother of eight children, pursued her own career as a pianist/composer and left us 66 compositions. She was regarded as one of the most distinguished pianists of the Romantic era, with over 61 years of concert career, changing the format and repertoire of the piano recital from displays of virtuosity to programs of serious works.

We know from her quotes that she felt insecure as a composer in a time when women were seen only as mothers and not fit to pursue creative endeavors such as writing music. There were no women composer models to be followed. A famous quote from Clara corroborates such feelings: “I once believed that I possessed creative talent, but I have given up this idea; a woman must not desire to composer – there has never yet been one able to do it. Should I expect to be the one?”  Clara Schumann was a super woman doing it all, like many others during her time. This music is my way of honouring Clara Schumann.

©2021 Elisenda Fábregas

Masks for clarinet, cello, piano (2019/21)

Duration approx. 9′

Hidden Oaks Music Company pub. (available in the music store for purchase – printed or pdf download)

Masks for clarinet, cello and piano (2019/21) was commissioned by the IonSound Project Ensemble for their 2019 concert season and CD recording project.  The New York City premiere took place 2/11/20 by Random Access Music (RAM) Concert Series.

I was asked to write a relatively short composition inspired by certain aspects of the Beethoven’s Clarinet Trio. The title Masks suggests various layers of meaning in the music: I used motivic development procedures from the Classical period on rhythmic and/or melodic motives taken from or inspired by Beethoven’s Clarinet Trio, but I dressed the new melodies with harmonies and rhythms reminiscent of Spain’s music.

An edited version (2021) of Masks was done for performances in Catalunya in April 23-24, 2021

Looking in hindsight, this work and title it anticipated the covid-19 pandemia and the use of surgical masks. The original version of Masks was finished at the end of September 2019.

Movement I – Incantation and consummation – In the first movement of Masks, I start the first and second themes with the half-step beginning melodic motive of the first theme of Beethoven’s first movement, as well as tree-note ascending design. The motivic connection with Beethoven is very subtle in the first movement.

Movement II. Mischievous spirits – In the second movement of Masks, I took almost the entire rhythmic motive of the beginning theme of Beethoven’s 3rd movement. In addition, I varied the theme, although not in strict Variations like in the Beethoven. The spirit of the 2nd movement of Masks is also light and playful, just like the Beethoven.

 

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.