Cecilia Arditto

Post Term: score theater

Esta tarde leo a Adorno/This afternoon I read Adorno (2013)

based on a poem by  Bárbara Belloc for bass clarinet, viola, percussion + record player, ventilator and spinning chairs commissioned by KNM Berlin  

1. Now     Esta tarde leo a Adorno – by Cecilia Arditto based on a poem by Barbara Belloc   Mini music theater piece in 6 scenes for bass clarinet, viola, percussion, pickup player and a electric fan
Scene #1 “After a while, it is difficult to recall what that really was. I remember the tapping though”
Scene #1 “After a while, it is difficult to recall what that really was. I remember the tapping though” Scene #2 “The past is printed on a vinyl that is getting more and more wasted every second” Scene #3 “Memory has holes, and also the present, no matter we experience it as a continuum” Scene #4 “Bass clarinet playing with a past version of itself” Scene #5 “Present and past move at different speeds” Scene #6“…Anyhow, I remember the spring” 2. Before  

At café “Lidos”, in Buenos Aires, the Argentine poet Barbara Belloc orally recalls her poem “Esta tarde leo a Adorno”. She remembers and forgets different parts of it, quoting it and reinvent it at the same time, and then she talks about Adorno, Brahms, vinyls and typewriting machines.

It is summer in Buenos Aires and the coffee is great.   Back in Holland, I start exploring Barbara’s palace of memories to write my own piece. Even in spring, the weather is really cold.  

I decide to stamp the music on vinyl: the soundtrack of my childhood, like Barbara’s, comes in a vinyl envelope. Vinyls are similar to memories: they get more wasted every time we play them. My music is about distortion when time passes. Memory has holes, and also the present, no matter what we experience it as a continuum.

Was it my memories or hers?   It is difficult to know what something really was in the past. Like in the language of dreams, things appear blurry and mixed. I remember some typing… was it a vibraphone or a gigantic typewriting machine? I recall the spinning air… was it a pickup player or a ventilator? In my theater, three musicians are listening to a record player, and everything turns around together with the vinyl: memories, sounds and the air surrounding, like a drunken boat on the sea of music.       In the palace of our memories, all rooms are related in new ways. The same doors are connected to our present through impossible corridors from the past.

We are moving from time to time in a different version of ourselves: in my piece, the clarinetist plays a duo with himself in the past and the percussion player recalls Barbara’s poem in a different language. Memories are blurry and vivid in the same proportion; this seems to be their quality.

 3. Even before

Barbara’s poem 
La casa en llamas Lo poco o mucho que hubo: corazón de ceniza
 Esta tarde leo a Adorno como si leyera las cartas póstumas de mi padre, si mi padre hubiera sido visionario, célebre y furioso. Lo leo como un secreto familiar se lee en voz alta o se rompe un pacto de palabra. Miro a los costados: la cantidad de papel impreso que tiro a la basura me revuelve el estómago. Pienso: debería ser inversamente proporcional a lo que escribo, ‘o no ser nada’. Leo a Adorno. Y mientras tanto repito: Adorno, Adorno, Adorno… como un ronroneo. Lo leo espantada, tan espantada que a cada rato dejo el libro y ando por la casa vagando, espantando a las arañas con un plumero. Y vuelvo. A encontrar un mensaje que creo dirigido a mí y, más allá del asombro, bien interpretar por: una cuestión de consanguinidad. (¿?) Léase: leo a Adorno como si recordara (como recuerdo) los acordes de la Tercera Sinfonía de Brahms, que mi padre me asegura que le pedía una y otra vez en la infancia, con Bartok, Górecki y Saint-Saëns, y no las brumas de sinusoidales y los engranajes rotos que día y noche sí mecían la casa como un barco ebrio en el mar de la musique concrète. Adorno, ¡vaya decorado! ¿Me vas a decir que acaso no sabías que la música hace estragos? ¿Que la música que se escucha en el vientre de la madre no hace mella en el feto que no es sino todo oídos, huevo-sin-cáscara? Importa poco. Esta tarde leo a Adorno como un biólogo lee un programa de forestación artificial en el ojo de un claro de una selva en peligro, en el tercer mundo, en este mundo, cuando la flecha del tiempo clava el cartel en la corteza del árbol: SE ACABÓ. O como un huérfano cae a pique sobre las fotos de sus muertos en busca de aquello que lo desate de su pena. O como un minero japonés que apila una piedra, y otra, y otra más. Algunos hablan de la guerra, otros de quién será el soberano. La sombra vengadora está en la sombra y se despereza. Ahí viene. Adorno, Adorno, Adorno, Adorno: tu nombre es fósforo Fragata prendido al borde de un terrenito de provincia en sucesión perpetua. Dice el testamento: “El único pensamiento no ideológico es el que intenta llevar la cosa misma al lenguaje que está bloqueado por el lenguaje dominante”. De noche duermo y sueño con un campo que es una partitura de vacas que mugen cosas que entiendo. Después del saqueo: el pozo está vacío. (potus)     • Download tape • Video   Related post/s in my blog “Poesía” (Spanish)   Related works:
• Gestalt (2014)
• Time machine (2011)
• Gespleten piano (2010)
• Split piano (2011)
• El libro de los gestos / Book of gestures (2008)
• La arquitectura del aire / The architecture of air (2009)

Out loud #1, #2 and #3 (2013-

Out loud is a music piece in the shape of a strainer where most of the sounds have gone away. The main composing was intentionally erased and only the leftovers of a gone piece survive, the unwanted, the declassed sounds.

I say voiceless: I don’t want to write one more piece.

The music vanished and we are facing now its remains: breaths, movements, mistaken notes, eye contact. As if it were junk spread on the beach, this “new piece” invites to draw the shape of a missing party from the waste.

The music is defined for what it is omitted instead of for what it shows, like a post-Cage experiment reloading the forgotten declassed sounds.

I write a silent piece with a lot of notes.

The musicians and the audience are still there, occupying the hall, facing a full nothingness a bit silly. Both audience and musicians are repeating its concert rituals with the hope of recovering some sense.

Tired of being told…

Tired of solfège…

Tired of abstraction

Talk to me in my face!

The musicians are asked to play the shell of the egg, better said the air around the egg and the trombone return the notes from the outside in, blowing comebacks. Hopefully, the audience laughs, filling the air around like a breath of spring.

 

El libro de los gestos / The book of gestures  (2007 revised 2008)

for violin, cello, piano, percussion and lamps
commissioned by Ensemble Musas, Santa Fe

There are four people in a room making music. Each one has a lamp. They play their musical instruments, and they also play the lights, on and off, creating with this action different atmospheres. The staging of the piece is constantly changing, in real-time, by means of the lights.
The book of gestures proposes a counterpoint of different layers: the rhythm of the music, the rhythm of the lights, the rhythm of the room
There are spaces to be seen, spaces to be heard, spaces to be imagined. Some of the music is played in the dark, in a room full of presences.

• Video
• Notes for performance (English)

• Analysis (Español)

Post Blog “El libro de los gestos” (Español)
Post Blog “Variaciones sobre la cámara Gessell” (Español)
Post Blog “Tip#1” (Español)
Post Blog “Musas” (Español)
Post Blog “La música y las notas” (Español)

Related works:

• Gestalt (2014)
• Esta tarde leo a Adorno/This afternoon I read Adorno (2013)
• Time machine (2011)
• Gespleten piano (2010)
• Split piano (2011)
• La arquitectura del aire / The architecture of air (2009)

I love you (2016)

for flute, guitar, tape, slides and objects
for Luis Orias Diz and Alu Montorfano

I found a collection of slides in a flea market in Holland. The slides reflect a house being remodeled. No holidays, no people, no landscapes. Electric installations, wallpaper being ripped, traps and a gas meter.
In the ’60s, people were really careful about taking pictures, different from the click and through away of the digital pictures.
The story behind is unknown. Just I’ve got images of an empty house in remodeling.  The slides show a garden, a window, gas and electricity meters, a ladder, the bedroom.
In these scenarios, a man and a woman play music. They make music in counterpoint with the electricity sounds, they sing together with the gas pipes and play pianissimos in synchronization with the wallpaper that slowly, maybe for decades, is falling down.

• Audio files

Related post/s in my blog
“I love you too” (Español)
“La vida de los otros” (Español)

Gestalt (2014)

for piano and percussion
dedicated to duo Cuenco de plata – Juanita Fernández y Malena Levín

Gestalt shows diverse forms of communication between two performers and how each way of relating generates different music structures (Gestalt). In between music, sound, and space design, Gestalt is music in the form of a treatise to be perceived in-between categories.

The piece is based on 10 sections in the form of scenes. Each scene speaks about different ways of relationships between performers, their link with objects, musical instruments and the design of the stage, which is changing over time.

  1. Proximity: Close objects conform a group
  2. Continuation: Moving objects conform a line
  3. Focal point – Point of interest captures attention
  4. Good continuation. Grouping parts into a unique whole
  5. Common region- Events are related when in the same area
  6. Figure and ground
  7. Similarity – Similar features link events
  8. Symmetry – Looking for balance in composition
  9. Common fate
  10. Past experiences

• Video

Related post/s in my blog
 “Si están cerca… Montevideo” (Español)
“Again” (Español)
“Trayectorias” (Español)

Download score PDF

Send download link to:

Related works:

• The magic (2005)
• Esta tarde leo a Adorno / This afternoon I read Adorno (2013)

• Time machine (2011)
• Gespleten piano
• Split piano (2011)

The magic (2005) – program notes

for harp and percussion
dedicated to Arnold Marinissen

The stage shows two sorcerers working in a lab. They are alchemists who use musical instruments and sound objects to perform their magic. A duo for harp and percussion the instruments realm is extended to the world of objects. Metrical metronomes, dropping stones, paper sounds aim to create an aural situation where the theater is acted by the sound.  
Magic in the context of this work could be understood like alchemy. The two sorcerers work in counterpoint in their music spells. The sound is not transmuted into gold but into lights, gestures, and theatrical elements. It is not clear what is to be seen, to be heard or to be imagined in this piece.  The timpani suggests the big pan from the magicians; it is used mainly like a resonator capturing distant resonances.

 They are especially good at transmuting solid objects into soundwaves. In a never-ending modulation wheel, they can change water into air into grains into umbrellas into a c sharp into water again. The sorcerers live in a slightly out-of-phase dimension from each other; for that reason, they relate to each other in canon. We can think that one is the echo of the other, or, in a more adventurous interpretation, that one is the anticipation of the other.

They like experimentation, so, when a spell works, they feel effervescent for a couple of seconds to instantly fall into a melancholic mood. To lighten up, they quickly write down the result of the trick on a paper and give it to the scientists. Magic is not about results; it is about believing in miracles and subtle relationships.
I recognize in their attitude a resemblance with ordinary life, where we live our unsolved spells in canon with our fantasies, slightly late, slightly early.

“The daughter of the sorceress…”  opera page
• Video (excerpts)

Part of the composing process of La Magia was shared in my blog (English and Spanish articles):
• Blog Post “Magia” (Español)
• Blog Post “La magia” (Español)
• Blog Post “Again” (Español)
• Blog Post “Trayectorias” (Español)
• Blog Post “Justo eso” (Español)
• Blog Post “La espontaneidad convencional” (Español)
• Blog Post”Unsolved spells” (English)

La arquitectura del aire / The architecture of air (2009)

for organ and two percussionists
comissioned by Orgelpark, Amsterdam

In the beginning, I thought that the piece was about air and the space between things, space conformed by the emptiness that is shaping the contour of things from the outside…
Perhaps because the two percussionists and the organ conform a triangle spread on the hall; or because the organ has a motor and pipes and the vibraphone has a motor and pipes; but also because the musicians play ventilators, a melodica and old radios and they manipulate air in different states and frequencies; or because the performers communicate with each other with strings tied to tins, in the manner of low-tech telephones -when I was a child I used to build this kind of telephones with my sisters…
Therefore I realized the music was about “in-betweens”. It is music made of air and threads -basically made of nothing- where the musicians tie sounds with strings and send each other signals with the instruments, the motors, and the voice. Something solid made of air…
This is the way I feel, very strong and very fragile altogether, the stronger, the more fragile.

• Audio

 

Related post/s in my blog
 “Arquitectura que canta” (Español)
“Los músicos de La arquitectura del aire” (Español/English)
“La arquitectura del aire and the program notes” (English)
 “Estreno de La arquitectura del aire, para órgano y dos percusionistas (Español)
“Los asistentes” (Español)
“Pan comido” (Español)
“Listen to me” (Español)
“La vida pende de un hilo” (Español)
“La función hace al órgano” (Español)
“La vista flaca” (Español)

Related works:

• Gestalt (2014)
• Esta tarde leo a Adorno/This afternoon I read Adorno (2013)
• Time machine (2011)
• El libro de los gestos / Book of gestures (2008)
• Split piano (2011)
• Gespleten piano (2010)

Around music #1 and #2 (2006 and rev. 2018)

Around music #1 (2006)
for alto flute, trumpet, violoncello, percussion and piano
commissioned by Stichting Perpetuumm

Around music #2  (2006/rev. 2018)
for alto flute, electric guitar, cello, piano and percussion
new version commissioned by New Maker ensemble

“What is for the eye must not duplicate what is for the ear”
“The eye solicited alone makes the ear impatient, the ear solicited alone,
makes the eye impatient. Use these impatiences. ”.
Robert Bresson

Around music attempts to be a philosophical-humoristic reflection about the rituals of modern music and the concert situations. Actions related to the practice of music like counting, failing, facing technical difficulties, repeating or dropping instruments are the new musical material for this piece, written in a score.
Around music is music to be heard, music to be seen.

 

Program notes Around Music#2  by New Maker Ensemble (July 2019)

Terms such as “absolute music”, or “abstract music” can be seen as dialectical responses to major philosophical systems, which were influential in central Europe during the mid 19th century. Music – in these people’s minds – should therefore be an art form, free and independent from everything else. It should only respond to its own laws and, for bearing an essentially pure and formally perfect nature, any produced discourse would prove incorruptible.
The interest of any musician subscribing to this thought ghetto, should, above all, in the abatement and suppression of any noise, sonic and visual, but also semantic and political.
At the moment each piece finds itself realized, only that which most resembles the imagined formal ideal must survive! However, in each concert, there always happens a number of things which are not music in those terms. People have solely learned how to ignore them.
New Maker Ensemble, London July 2019
http://www.nmensemble.com/sistema-concert.html

Sistema Project
If we think a system is a cohesive form of a group of inter-related elements, then, depending on the temporal and spatial framing, anything can be a system!
These types of considerations have been a focal point in the culture of production, conception and critique of the New Maker Ensemble. This time, Sistema (system) has served as a starting point for all the work developed in this project, from the new music program to the complementary educational activities.
The way we challenged the various creators, we also challenge you to think of systems: where are they? how are they created? how are they useful? how do they work? what do they tell us? how do they constitute themselves? what are they made of? how do they manifest themselves? what do they produce? how complex or simple are they? how do they evolve? what direction do they have? how are they part of us? what autonomy do they have? how are we part of them? etc.

Videos:

• Video Around music #1
• Video Around music #2

Press:

• Press – Ratatouille TV – Around music
Press – Ratatouille TV – De metafysica van de humor
Press – Het parool
Press – NRC

Related post/s in my blog

“Cómo escapar del orden y no lograrlo” (Español)
“Del sentido del humor y la angustia de vivir” (Español)
“Los verbos irregulares” (Español)

Related works:

• Out loud – project page
• Gestalt (2014)

• Score Around music #1

Download score PDF

Send download link to:

• Score Around music #2

Download score PDF

Send download link to:

 

 

Flyer (front) Concert Muziekgebouw Amsterdam December 2006 Humor in hedendaagse muziek uit Argentinië. De metafysica van de humor
Flyer (back) Concert Muziekgebouw Amsterdam December 2006 Humor in hedendaagse muziek uit Argentinië. De metafysica van de humor

Time machine (2011) – program notes

for violin, trombone, piano, radio, cassette player and a rocking chair
commissioned by NFPK, Holland

There are three people sitting in a room; they are just staying but also remembering the past and dreaming about the future all at the same time. It is always difficult to say what now and here means because our hearts gets always confused about organizing emotions on a timeline.
Koen rewinds, anticipates and plays the cassette player as a metaphor of past (and future?) memories. Bas plays a radio that catches the air in an ever-flowing present. Nora moves back and forth from the piano in a rocking chair, looped in her own clock.
Music is a powerful time machine, traveling through chronologically organized sounds, but mainly through the mixed archeology of our emotions.

 

Part of the composition process of “Time machine ” was shared in my blog
• Blog Post “La máquina del tiempo” (Español)
• Blog Post “La máquina del tiempo 2” (Español)
• Blog Post “La espuma de los días” (Español)
• Blog Post “Trio 7090” (Español/English)
• Blog Post “Gespleten piano o el piano escindido” (Español)
• Blog Post “La música del teatro” (Español)

 

Related works:

• Gestalt (2014)
• Esta tarde leo a Adorno/This afternoon I read Adorno (2013)
• El libro de los gestos / Book of gestures (2008)
• Split piano (2011)
• Gespleten piano (2010)
• La arquitectura del aire / The architecture of air (2009)