Cecilia Arditto

Post Term: early music

Las trampas del tiempo / traps of time (2011)

for early music ensemble and voices
based on texts by Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz
commissioned by Borealis Festival, Norway

The true picture of the past whizzes by. Only as a picture, which flashes its final farewell in the moment of its recognizability, is the past to be held fast.

Walter Benjamin “On the concept of history”

I like to think about the mechanism of time as a switch with a bad contact that turns randomly the light on and off. We are in an intermittent room where the chairs, the stage, the instruments appear and disappear in flashes of sense; the full picture of the continuous space is only in our minds; the real space is in fact fragmented, full of emptiness. The present is even more ungraspable than the past.

Time is a bunch of threads all tied up together with our precarious mind mechanisms, wrapping the emptiness around with more hope than certainties. Most of the time, time is about jumps or just a continuous waiting we attempt to fill with notes. But when more notes, more emptiness.

As in a science fiction movie, the music I am imagining is related to the idea of teleportation where remote music from the XVII century travels through time to nowadays, but for some inner mechanism of the travel process, the essence has been altered.

The new space of reproduction is also different from that original one, so the old music lands in a fragmented present. In this distorted present, full of inhabited spaces, a record player inside the harpsichord talks like a guitar; some instruments are activated from the distance and old cassette tapes are reflecting the other music like acoustical mirrors, express not only the shade of early voices but also the alteration of time itself.

The new landing experience from the XVII music failed and music is hence spread on a present that is also fragmented, full of holes. But the travel was not about the historical reproduction of a past forever gone. It was mainly about showing the backstage of our present, which is so discontinuous, distorted and fragmented as the past we recall. Maybe this music is not about a specific time location, even not about a dialogue, but about the mysterious nature of time itself.

 

Related post/s in my blog:
“Las trampas del tiempo” (English)

 

 

 

 

Cuarteto (1996)

Cuarteto is inspired by the Sederunt Principes by Perotin, a four-voice chant setting (organum quadruplum) composed in the XIII century. Sederunt Principes is presumably the first polyphonic composition for four voices, where colorful textures and ingenious motivic games come together at the end of every phrase. This phrasing in arcs was a conventional technique in the late medieval polyphony, rooted in the Gregorian chant, reminding the pillars of Gothic cathedrals.
Cuarteto utilizes vocal techniques from the XX avant-garde inspired on the exuberance of this pioneering masterpiece from the Middle Ages. It also addresses its arc form. Both pieces, Cuarteto and the Sederunt Principes, even with a completely different outcome, share similar composition technics and a close spirit.

• Audio 

Download score PDF

Send download link to:

Related works:

• Las ciudades y los signos (SATB)
• Anatomy of a jar (2020)