‘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.

October 28, 2021, Premiere of ‘Danses de la terra’ (Catalan danses) for cello by Roger Morelló Ros at Palau Güell in Barcelona

Danses de la terra (2020) (Catalan dances) for solo cello was written for Catalan cellist Roger Morello Ros. He will premiere this work at Palau Güell in Barcelona on October 28, 2021.

Danses de la terra was written for Morello and consists of four dances:

  • I. Ball d’entrada (Opening dance);
  • II. Dansa de rondalla amorosa (Dance of amorous tale);
  • III. Ball ceremonial de purificació (Ceremonial dance of purification);
  • IV. Records de sardana (Memories of sardana).

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 concert will also include other solo cello works by Catalan composers such as Albert Sardà, Josep Maria Guix, and Gaspar Cassadó.

‘Duende’ for cello, August 7, 2021, in Tarragona (Catalunya) & September 17, 2021, in Koblenz (Germany)

Duende (from the collection Colores Andaluces for cello & piano) was arranged as a solo cello piece for Roger Morello Ross who will perform it on August 7 at Sant Pere de Belltall, Belltall (Tarragona, Spain) during the celebration of ‘la Festa de l’All‘; and on September 17 at Stiftung Florinskirche in Koblenz (Germany).

Danses de la terra (2020) for cello

Duration: 6′

Hidden Oaks Music Co. publisher

©Elisenda Fabregas

Danses de la terra for solo cello (2020) (6’) is a collection of dances inspired by Catalan folk music. It was written for Catalan cellist Roger Morelló Ross.

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”

Commissioned by Catalan cellist Roger Morelló Ross. Recording to be released on Austrian Gramophone in 2021. Hidden Oaks Music Company.

Uphill (from Clara to Robert) for cello and piano (2021), was written for Catalan cellist Roger Morelló Ros to accompany selected songs by Robert Schumann’s Spanische Liebeslieder Op. 138 in a forthcoming CD recording.

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.

 

Performance of ‘Masks’ for clarinet, cello & piano at Primavera Musical a Vistabella, Tarragona, April 24, 20:30

A newly edited version of ‘Masks for clarinet, cello & piano‘ will be performed in Tarragona, Spain, at a beautiful modernist church Esglesia del Sagrat Cor de Vistabella within the concerts series titled “Primavera Musical a Vistabella” (Musica Spring in Vistabella). Performers will include Roger Morello Ros, cello; Oriol Estivill, clarinet; and Dani Ruiz Hurtado, piano.

“Imitacio del foc” for tenor & piano released on Bridge records

Imitacio del foc for tenor and piano was recently released on Bridge Records. This song cycle was commissioned and recorded by Jess Muñoz, tenor, and pianist Oksana Glouchko (with the expertise of producer/engineer Andreas Meyer) and is part of an album entitled Visca L’Amor: Catalan Art Songs of the XX and XXI Centuries. The Album is now available worldwide on all major platforms including ITunes, Amazon and Spotify. I am very proud to be in the company of such well-known Catalan composers as Frederick Mompou, Eduard Toldrà, Ricard Lamote de Grignon, Narcis Bonet, Joan Comellas.  Listen to some samples of the music