Cecilia Arditto

Post Term: space design

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)

Spiegeltjes (little mirrors) (2016)

5 pieces for clarinet, tape and objects
The tape can be replaced by a second clarinet OR by any other melodic instrument: transpositions can be applied.
The different pieces of this project can be played as a cycle or individually.

This cycle of pieces (five in total) is inspired by the renaissance Flemish composers and their use of mirror techniques. Most of them are written for a solo instrument in dialogue with a tape/vinyl pre-recorded by the same instrument. Duo versions replacing the recording for a second player, are very welcome.

The music score is not published yet. Please send me an email if you are interested in this work.

# 1. Spiegeltjes / little mirrors: is symmetrically split into two equal parts with a vertical line, organizing the musical material with retrogrades and inversion techniques. On a smaller scale, the clarinet plays in counterpoint with itself conforming little mirrors which are expressed in groups of notes with stems up and down.

# 2. Snel / fast: the recorded clarinet is partially duplicated by the live clarinet creating a new melody (a mirror with holes). Mirrors are not only present in the music but they also reflect the acoustical space. This intriguing “quasi unison” shapes the harmony of the piece. It is advisable to explore the acoustics of the hall finding the most appropriate location for both performers, which will be different in every venue.

#3. Zand / sand: the pre-recorded clarinet plays in counterpoint with the live one in canon. The multiphonic chords are shaped by this written delay creating interesting harmonies.

#4. Tekening / drawing: (two players), the flutists and a drawer who draws in the mirror in synch with the clarinet.

#5. Terug / backward: an evergoing melody is played back and forth, written in classical retrograde style.

The inclusion of real mirrors on stage creates not only visual duplications but a blind spot behind. The two performers have a different setup for each piece of the program playing with the mirror but also taking different locations on the space. Simple movements create very different scenarios and emphasize the acoustics of the hall in a “hide and seek” but “always listening” game.

Spiegeltjes stage design – practical and flexible

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)

 

 

 

 

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)

Libro de los gestos (2007) – Análisis (español)

El libro de los gestos notas de ejecución en ocasion de su estreno el 2 de Agosto de 2007 por el ensamble Musas en Las Jornadas de Música Contemporánea en la Universidad de Santa Fe, dirigida por Hernan Diego  Vazquez.

Estructura rítmica- una estructura vacía

La pieza esta construida en base a la idea de isorritmos. Estas estructuras rítmicas base se repiten constantemente en el discurso de la pieza, a nivel macro (forma de la pieza) y a nivel micro (fraseo).
Los isorritmos en si mismos no representan nada, ya que en la pieza aparecen con distintos “contenidos”: distinta instrumentación, tempos, armonías, alturas.
No es interesante el concepto del isorritmo en la pieza a nivel expresivo, ya que la misma estructura rítmica con un diferente contexto instrumental y musical significa algo totalmente distinto en cada nivel. Es un secreto del compositor que no es interesante difundir, pero si el análisis de estos isorritmos, pueden ser una herramienta para el estudio y el armado de la pieza.

Macro isorritmos

La pieza tiene tres secciones, cada una de tres paginas.
Sección 1: pagina 1, 2 y 3
Sección 2: pagina 4, 5 y 6
Sección 3: pagina 7, 8 y 9

En la primera pagina de cada sección se repiten los primeros 9 compases, con una pequeña variación.
Los 9 primeros compases de cada sección son exactamente iguales a los 9 compases siguientes. Generalmente uno de los instrumentos repite su línea textualmente y los otros instrumentos están filtrados[1]. Por lo que una sugerencia es tocar la repetición completa (ej.: 10 a 18) y luego repetirla con algunas zonas borradas.
Sección 1: Línea del cello se repite textual (1-9 igual a 10-18). Los otros instrumentos se repiten filtrados.
Sección 2 – línea del violín se repite textual (50-58 igual a 59-66), los otros instrumentos ídem.
Sección 3  línea de percusión se repite textual (igual a 99-107 igual a 108-115), los otros instrumentos ídem.

Micro-isorritmos: expansión y contracción del tiempo

Encada sección (1, 2 o 3) cada instrumento repite exactamente la misma frase rítmica 7 u 8 veces, (depende del instrumento). La frase en bloque se expande o se contrae rítmicamente.
violoncelo compases 10-15. La misma frase se repite dos veces. La primera vez (compases 10 y 11) la unidad de tiempo corresponde a la corchea de tresillo, la segunda, a la corchea (el tiempo se expande).
Cada instrumento expande y contrae temporalmente su isorritmo. Esta estructura rítmica básica se va transformando cada vez en algo distinto por los cambios efectuados en los otros parámetros (cambian las alturas, la orquestación, los gestos, etc), pero las duraciones no se alteran.
Expansión /contracción del pulso en el cello:

  1. corchea de tresillo (c. 10-11)
  2. corchea (c. 12-15)
  3. negra de tresillo (15- 19)
  4. negra de tresillo + semicorchea de tresillo (19-24)
  5. negra con punto (c. 25-33)
  6. negra ( 34-40)
  7. negra de tresillo (41-49)

Esta serie de secciones sucesivas en expansión y contracción están notadas en una grilla de cuatro cuartos. El compás es solo una grilla convencional y no representa ningún tipo de acento.

Recuerdos

En la sección 2 de la pieza hay motivos musicales que pertenecen a la sección anterior y que están “cortados y pegados” en forma idéntica y en el mismo lugar en relación a la sección 1. Son citas textuales del pasado de la pieza, o juegos de la memoria. Cada instrumento tiene una recurrencia y debe ser tocado exactamente de la misma manera que en la sección anterior. Pero los recuerdos o rememoraciones son individuales, por lo que el contexto de estas memorias es ahora diferente en relación a los demás instrumentos.

violín: 88-98 cita de 39-49
cello: 74-82 cita de 25-33
percusión: 68-71 cita de 19-22 (¡esta es la razón que vuelve a tocar con baquetas!)
piano: 80-82 cita de 31-33

Horizontal versus vertical

Parafraseando la polifonía medieval., lo importante es que cada línea horizontal es bastante autónoma, teniendo a la vez algunos  puntos de encuentro con  las otras voces.[2]
La dialéctica de esta pieza se basa en las cuatro voces individuales que se expanden y contraen y en los puntos de encuentro que cada uno tiene con las otras voces.
Estos puntos de encuentro están “congelados” y funcionan como una estructura superpuesta (impuesta) sobre la dinámica de movimiento de las voces individuales. Están marcados en la partitura con flechas verticales.
Estos puntos de encuentro tienen un rasgo diferente en cada una de las tres secciones:
Sección 1: un mismo acorde mi3-fa3 (y sol 4)[3], con distintas disposiciones  y colores instrumentales, pero siempre con las mismas alturas. La idea es que es el mismo objeto bajo diferentes perspectivas.
Sección 2: respiración (inhalar o exhalar) compartida.
Sección 3: acorde con la letra [m], bocca chiusa. La altura de este acorde es siempre variable, el timbre homogéneo.
Los puntos de encuentro deben ser siempre precisos en el ataque.

 

 

 

La pieza es una deriva horizontal “atada” con nudos  verticales.

 

La alquimia de los materiales

La expansión y contracción rítmica de la pieza sirve como una estructura elástica que “soporta” diferentes materiales a lo largo de la pieza.
Sección 1: scordaturas extremas, siempre en armonía de cluster. La altura progresivamente va desplazando en bloques de la zona de G2 a la zona de C3, ida y vuelta en algunos casos.
El acorde “nudo”, mi-fa (sol), que nunca se traspone. 
Sección 2: frotados y sonido de aire
Sección 3: textos, uso de la voz y luces.
Cada sección se va “transformando” en la siguiente de forma mas o menos progresiva.
Si bien cada una de las tres secciones es clara y distintas, el paso de una a otra no debe ser brusco.

 

La obra detrás de la obra

Puedo hablar acerca de mis intensiones al escribir la obra, pero sabemos que las intenciones de los compositores y el resultado musical son a menudo mundos bastante disimiles. Me gusta mucho hablar de mis ideas musicales un poco como si fuera literatura, o ficción, pero gusta mucho mas ver las distintas interpretaciones que los músicos tienen sobre mi trabajo.
La historia de esta pieza es el intento de escribir una música que se va desprendiendo de sus rituales.
La obra comienza en el “borde” de los instrumentos. Es la zona donde los instrumentos pierden su familiaridad, pero todavía son reconocibles. Son “instrumentos’, pero en un limite de imposibilidad: extrema scordatura, piano preparado, percusión que se expande a las partes menos resonantes de los instrumentos. 
En la segunda sección, los instrumentos son mas “periféricos”. De las partes resonantes nos desplazamos al cuerpo de los instrumentos, de las baquetas a las manos.
En la tercera sección, los instrumentos son abandonados. La voz, las luces del atril, algunos objetos encontrados como el papel de embalaje abandonan todo gesto tradicional. Los instrumentos son contendedores, cajas de resonancia de otros sonidos externos.
Es posible recrear un escenario diferente al final de la pieza: el pianista esta debajo del piano, el cellista para producir las resonancias dentro del instrumento puede también recostarse sobre el piso al lado de su instrumento, o recostar solo el instrumento o buscar cualquier otra posición escénica  que no remita a la posición tradicional de tocar el cello. Lo mismo para la percusión y para el violín, que pueden buscar otras posiciones en el escenario diferentes a las habituales (dar la espalda, pararse, sentarse en el piso, etc). Lo que es importante es elegir el momento de hacer los cambios, que deben ser graduales y nunca forzados. Tal vez es bueno tocar sin zapatos para no hacer ruido al desplazarse y con ropa cómoda, para evitar crear situaciones extrañas o que generen una expectativa extra.
A rasgos generales la pieza comienza con una situación de concierto standard, y termina con gente “desparramada” en el living de una casa.

Es una sugerencia. La obra también puede ser tocada en forma casi convencional del comienzo al fin.

Las luces:

Cada instrumento hace su aparición con la luz de atril que se prende, una a una, como un ritual decadente de una situación de concierto que se va a fracturar.
La pieza se empieza a  desprender de los músicos  en un momento, las luces se convierten en un material, que existía desde antes, pero que ahora tiene un significado musical diferente (el “afuera” de la pieza se vuelve “adentro”).
También las luces funcionan como la expresión de mostrar un ritual ya vacío de contenido: la luz del piano se prende y se apaga, pero el pianista NO esta en el banquillo. La luz alumbra una partitura que nadie lee. Lo mismo se puede hacer con los otros instrumentos (no necesariamente con todos, con el piano es suficiente, tal vez seria lindo agregar también el cello).
Finalmente, la obra termina en la oscuridad. La función de la luz de atril se desprende de la función de la música, que sigue sonando sola. La salida sincronizada de las cuatro voces que apagan los interruptores sucesivamente, uno a uno, sigue poniendo la pieza en un marco de pensamiento organizado.
Habría que determinar el rol del director en este contexto. Una opción es que el director siempre dirija mas allá de que la pieza se desbande, al final termina dirigiendo un ensamble que no lo ve. Otra opción es que el también acompaña el proceso de desmaterialización, y sigue cumpliendo su rol de una manera anti funcional (ej., dirigir de espaldas o cualquier otra cosa).

Seria lindo que ustedes formulen su propia propuesta del comienzo al final en caso de que quieran profundizar en una puesta escénica. Estas son solo algunas sugerencias.

Cuestiones practicas:

Esta es una idea base que cada ensamble debe adaptar y reinterpretar de acuerdo a sus ideas y posibilidades musicales y técnicas.
Es mejor aprender algunas secciones de la pieza de memoria, para tener mas independencia de la partitura (sobre todo en las posiciones no convencionales de los instrumentistas: abajo del piano, sentados en el piso, etc). Otra opción es tener una segunda partitura en la nueva locación, o un ayuda memoria.
El tema de los interruptores, creo que se puede trabajar de la siguiente manera.
1) Luces de atril normal, pero con un interruptor de pie para el cello y el piano. Si ambos están en el suelo, o fuera de su silla, todavía pueden alcanzar el interruptor.
Hay que establecer un código de entradas para las secciones donde los instrumentistas tienen ataques conjuntos y no tienen contacto visual entre si y tal vez tampoco con el director. Es un problema a resolver.

[1] Filtrado significa “borrado por zonas”.  Es un filtrado por bloques  donde simplemente se escinden algunas secciones. Las secciones que quedan son exactamente iguales al original, no están transformadas.

[2] Al momento de armado de la pieza, es importante que cada instrumentista se concentre en su línea. Cada frase debe sonar mas lenta o mas rápida que la anterior siempre en relación si mismo, estableciendo puntos de encuentro con las otras voces. En el ejemplo anterior, si el cello entra tarde en el compás 12 es un “mal menor”. Lo importante es que los dos motivos rítmicos de su línea, primero en tresillos y luego en corcheas  conserven una relación exacta (uno es mas rápido que el otro, pero ambos son la misma cosa a distintas velocidades). Acortar el silencio interno de un motivo es desfigurar el motivo y eso es un mal mayor. Si la sincronía con el violin esta desfasada, no importa tanto como que el motivo rítmico se desfigure.

[3] el sol 4 aparece esporádicamente

The air around (2012)

for 13 prepared electric fans

In my orchestration book, electric fans are classified in diverse instrumental families considering diverse features: they undoubtedly belong to the wind family; they are on top of that, noise generators; from a kinetic perspective they are members of the instruments “that spins around.” Multiple interpretations of the same allow a special interconnection between objects, spreading the chamber music experience into a unique personal listening.

“A choir of small ventilators, that like a mechanical garden, move their heads bringing sound and movement to the music.”

The more concrete, the more abstract

Rather than prescribing an ideal music of the future, Schaeffer’s didacticism
requires us to submit to a process in which sound is re-imagined or experienced anew, and new effects of listening are discovered and learned.

 Ian Stevenson, Schaeffer’s sound effects

The fan is attached to the sounds as much of the sound is attached to the fan. We cannot conceive the machine without the sound, or the sound without the machine: one refers to the other. But when the fan is on stage making music, the sound appears to lose its inherent connection to its source and becomes an independent phenomenon: we start hearing the fan as a music instrument. After this switch in our mind, we can focus on the sound itself: its overtones, pitch, colored noise, residual tones, and all kinds of glorious “side- effects”. Curious enough, the production of fresh air, the main purpose in any electric fan, becomes something completely irrelevant. When the fan goes musical, the sound can be undoubtedly routed with its source without losing its identity: it looks like a fan, it sounds like a fan, it is a fan!. Even the modifications applied to the sound by the use of “extended techniques” enhancing and preserve the nature of the sound as two sides of the same process.

“everyday listening, which identifies sound sources as objects or events; and musical listening, which focuses on the intrinsic properties or features of sounds.”

William Gaver, How do we hear in the world?

When a fan is performing in a concert hall, this new context brings new associations and displacements in our minds. We can concentrate more easily on the sounds because the device is on stage. Same as we focus on the textures, colors, size, and position of Duchamp’s porcelain urinal because it is shown in an art gallery. Context is substantial.

Matter matters
What is music? What is a sound object? This unanswered question triggers all kinds of different theories and works, inspiring not only the composition of new music but mainly changing our way of listening.

• Video (excerpts)
• Photo gallery

Download score PDF

Send download link to:

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)

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

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

Notes for performance

Four musicians in a room play music. Each one has a lamp. Besides the music, the performers “play” the lights on and off during the piece creating different scenes. The space of the stage is always changing because of the lights. This music suggests a counterpoint of different layers: the rhythm of the music, the rhythm of the lights, the rhythm of the room: spaces to be seen, spaces to be heard, spaces to be imagined. Some music is played in the light, but also there is other music coming from the dark in a room full of presences.
This music suggests 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 music is played in the light, but also there is other music coming from the dark in a room full of presences.
The musicians are switching ON and OFF the stand lights creating different scenes on stage. Some actions happen in the dark and should be played by heart following other musicians’ cues. 



1. Violin:

1. The IV string is a 5th lower. It is easier bowing the string lowering the II string  with the left hand. Sul tastissimo means exagerated sul tasto. The sound is rather opaque, very dumped.
2. m16. Turn light ON and m.17 OFF. This cue you should be learned by heart following the violoncello. It would be nice if you are familiar with his/her part. Once your light ON. don’t look at her, look at your score.
3. m. 105 glissando in the dark. It is in the IV string, starting very high and ending in the violoncello note unisono (real sound and not effect). You should check the starting point (with percussion) and ending point (with violoncello) with your ear. You are playing in the dark.
4. m196 pop bubble wrap. It is better if you leave the instrument aside in a safe place, (on a pillow) and pop the bubble wrap, casually,  with both hands.

2. Cello:

The I string is a 5th lower. It is easier bowing the string lowering the II string  with the left hand. Sul tastissimo means exaggerated sul tasto. The sound is rather opaque,  dumped. 
2. The beginning of the piece is a long solo for the cello. The cello is illuminated and the rest of the instruments are playing background things in the dark. In fact the cello plays almost the same melody repeated many times but slightly varied. In every repetition the melody becomes a little bit longer. This sections should be extremely cantabile, but NO VIBRATO at all.
3. Turning the pages in mm.4 and mm.8 should repeat the exact gesture the two times. Not very theatrical but a very clear action and rather exaggerated. 
4.  mm.177 whistling inside the instrument throughout the sound holes. There is a picture in the score that may be useful. The singing inside the cello works better than the whistling. 

Please, memorize when you will have to turn your light ON, because being in the dark (OFF) won’t allow you to follow the score. Get familiar with the other instruments actions.

Light ON:
1. Measure 77 after violin motive
2. Measure 112, after the pianist turn three consecutive times the page.

3. Percussion:

Instruments: You have two spots on stage. One with all the instruments and the stand light, the second towards the front with only a flash light, a cowbell without stand and a timpani mallet. All the mallets in this piece are just 2 timpani mallets. The lion’s roar should have a 3 meters string.
There is a motive mm. 49/51 exactly repeated in 103/105. The second time is in the dark, so you should memorize it (it is very easy and short).
In mm.100 also you have 4 beats in the dark. Take the cue from piano breathing in mm.99. It is better if the piano is not making a cue gesture because it is anticipating the surprise.
mm.121 on, the lion’s roar has a kind of solo. The instrument seems “like talking in an incomprehensive language”. Should be expressive.
mm.134 errata. There is a missing 16th rest at the end of the measure.
The second spot on stage could be a little carpet on the floor, very intimate and casual setup.
Please, remember when you will have to turn your light ON, because being in the dark (OFF) won’t allow you to follow the score. Get familiar with the other instruments actions.
Light ON:
Measure 43 after long cello solo, and second long voice glissando.
Measure 112, after the pianist turn three consecutive times the page and cello turn her light ON.

 

 

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

Notes for performance

Four musicians in a room play music. Each one has a lamp. Besides the music, the performers “play” the lights on and off during the piece creating different scenes. The space of the stage is always changing because of the lights. This music suggests a counterpoint of different layers: the rhythm of the music, the rhythm of the lights, the rhythm of the room: spaces to be seen, spaces to be heard, spaces to be imagined. Some music is played in the light, but also there is other music coming from the dark in a room full of presences.
This music suggests 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 music is played in the light, but also there is other music coming from the dark in a room full of presences.
The musicians are switching ON and OFF the stand lights creating different scenes on stage. Some actions happen in the dark and should be played by heart following other musicians’ cues. 



1. Violin:

1. The IV string is a 5th lower. It is easier bowing the string lowering the II string  with the left hand. Sul tastissimo means exagerated sul tasto. The sound is rather opaque, very dumped.
2. m16. Turn light ON and m.17 OFF. This cue you should be learned by heart following the violoncello. It would be nice if you are familiar with his/her part. Once your light ON. don’t look at her, look at your score.
3. m. 105 glissando in the dark. It is in the IV string, starting very high and ending in the violoncello note unisono (real sound and not effect). You should check the starting point (with percussion) and ending point (with violoncello) with your ear. You are playing in the dark.
4. m196 pop bubble wrap. It is better if you leave the instrument aside in a safe place, (on a pillow) and pop the bubble wrap, casually,  with both hands.

2. Cello:

The I string is a 5th lower. It is easier bowing the string lowering the II string  with the left hand. Sul tastissimo means exaggerated sul tasto. The sound is rather opaque,  dumped. 
2. The beginning of the piece is a long solo for the cello. The cello is illuminated and the rest of the instruments are playing background things in the dark. In fact the cello plays almost the same melody repeated many times but slightly varied. In every repetition the melody becomes a little bit longer. This sections should be extremely cantabile, but NO VIBRATO at all.
3. Turning the pages in mm.4 and mm.8 should repeat the exact gesture the two times. Not very theatrical but a very clear action and rather exaggerated. 
4.  mm.177 whistling inside the instrument throughout the sound holes. There is a picture in the score that may be useful. The singing inside the cello works better than the whistling. 

Please, memorize when you will have to turn your light ON, because being in the dark (OFF) won’t allow you to follow the score. Get familiar with the other instruments actions.

Light ON:
1. Measure 77 after violin motive
2. Measure 112, after the pianist turn three consecutive times the page.

3. Percussion:

Instruments: You have two spots on stage. One with all the instruments and the stand light, the second towards the front with only a flash light, a cowbell without stand and a timpani mallet. All the mallets in this piece are just 2 timpani mallets. The lion’s roar should have a 3 meters string.
There is a motive mm. 49/51 exactly repeated in 103/105. The second time is in the dark, so you should memorize it (it is very easy and short).
In mm.100 also you have 4 beats in the dark. Take the cue from piano breathing in mm.99. It is better if the piano is not making a cue gesture because it is anticipating the surprise.
mm.121 on, the lion’s roar has a kind of solo. The instrument seems “like talking in an incomprehensive language”. Should be expressive.
mm.134 errata. There is a missing 16th rest at the end of the measure.
The second spot on stage could be a little carpet on the floor, very intimate and casual setup.
Please, remember when you will have to turn your light ON, because being in the dark (OFF) won’t allow you to follow the score. Get familiar with the other instruments actions.
Light ON:
Measure 43 after long cello solo, and second long voice glissando.
Measure 112, after the pianist turn three consecutive times the page and cello turn her light ON.

 

 

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)