Musique concrète makes music with second-hand objects, mostly bought in the markets or rescued from the trash. Two performers manipulate sound objects and slide-projectors in different spots of a dark room, producing performative installations in dialogue with the architecture of the space. Music, sound, and space design are organized in a score creating complete audiovisual scenes with simple means.
The human skin has its sonic representation on the whole orchestra like a flexible and elastic body, represented by big percussion instruments: timpani, thunder sheet, bass drum, lion’s roar, and tam-tam Big surfaces of skin, wood, metal, string and paper are hit, rubbed, stroked, scratched, and touched with the fingers by the percussionists, echoed by the rest of the orchestra. It is a “concerto” for big surfaces, where the soloists are not only the percussionists but “the matter itself.” The orchestra doesn’t play “around” or “with” the players but “inside”: in an implosive gesture, the percussionists “swallow” the orchestra which is playing from the heart of their matter. The orchestral tissue expands and contracts in various levels: density (from solos to full divisi), rhythm, and tone division (going from small microtones to wide intervals). Ornaments and microtones in this piece are used mainly to create textures, crafting the sound from “inside out” and modeling micro-variations. As a cantus firmus, Tissue uses a traditional Mexican song, “La llorona (The weeping woman”) close to the spirit of Adél Koleszár’s geographical and emotional landscapes. Lyrics refer to romantic love, mainly as suffering and death, and women as an object to be deathly loved and consequently disposed of.
conceptual score based on a landscape comisisoned by Rümlingen Festival, Switzerland
DRINNEN VOR ORT
vier Landschaften – vier Jahreszeiten – vier Wege
Die Klangspuren in unseren Köpfen – auch 20 Jahre Festival Rümlingen haben ihnen einige hinzugefügt. Jetzt sollen sie aktiviert werden, unsere inneren Lieder, und zwar an den schönsten Orten der Rümlinger Umgebung, an Orten zudem, die vom «Mythos Rümlingen», von Momenten der Festivalgeschichte, durchweht sind.
Insgesamt 16 Komponisten und 4 Schriftsteller haben im Auftrag des Festivals, ausgehend von je einer Landschaft und Jahreszeit, Ideen zum inneren Hören entwickelt. Daraus entsteht ein großes Hör-Wander-Buch, mit dem sich der Besucher doppelt auf die Reise machen kann: Am ausgewählten Ort angekommen, entsteht die Komposition im Kopf.
Zum Auftakt dieser Reisen nach aussen und innen erwandern wir am 25.September 2011 die Ziele gemeinsam. Passend zum Datum führen die «Herbst»-Komponisten Tom Johnson, Manos Tsangaris, Cathy van Eck und Hans Wüthrichvon Rümlingen aus vier Gruppen zu den unterschiedlich weit entfernten Orten der imaginären Klänge – später finden alle Festivalbesucher sternförmig zu einem Imbiss in der Natur wieder zusammen.
based on a poem by Bárbara Belloc for bass clarinet, viola, percussion + record player, ventilator and spinning chairs commissioned by KNM Berlin
1. NowEsta tarde leo a Adorno – by Cecilia Ardittobased 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 #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”
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 adrunken 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
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)
Video step motion animation film: Jorge E. Lumbreras Music: Cecilia Arditto Camera and photography: Pablo Delfini Production: Caracú Time: 10:11 Buenos Aires, Argentina
Resumen/Abstract: Un grupo de nativos americanos viajan y descubren el continente europeo tiempo antes que Colón realizara su travesía de la que se cumplen en 1992 quinientos años/A group of Native Americans travel and discover the European continent some time before Columbus made his journey, which in 1992 has its 500 anniversary
for three trombones (Bb, F, F) based on “Fauna of mirrors” by J. L. Borges and images of Ida Lohman (images are optional)
Original texts by Jorge Luis Borges (in English)
The following fascinating myth was taken from “The book of imaginary beings” by Jorge Luis Borges with Margarita Guerrero. Revised, enlarged, and translated by Norman Thomas di Giovanni. Published by E.P. Dutton & Co., 1970.
“In those days [legendary times of the Yellow Emperor] the world of mirrors and the world of men were not, as they are now, cut off from each other. They were, besides, quite different; neither beings nor colors nor shapes were the same. Both kingdoms, the specular and the human lived in harmony; you could come and go through mirrors. One night the mirror people invaded the earth. Their power was great, but at the end of the bloody warfare the magic arts of the Yellow Emperor prevailed. He repulsed the invaders, imprisoned them in their mirrors, and forced on them the task of repeating, as though in a kind of dream, all the actions of men. He stripped them of their power and of their forms and reduced them to mere slavish reflections. Nonetheless, a day will come when the magic spell will be shaken off. The first to awaken will be the Fish. Deep in the mirror we will perceive a very faint line and the color of this line will be like no other color. Later on, other shapes will begin to stir. Little by little they will differ from us; little by little they will not imitate us. They will break through the barriers of glass or metal and this time will not be defeated. Side by side with these mirror creatures, the creatures of water will join the battle.”
for 8 low strings based on the homonymous novel by Samanta Schweblin
commissioned by Innovations in Concert, Montreal
Distancia de rescate is based on the homonymous award-winning novel (“Fever dream” in the English translation) by the Argentine writer Samanta Schweblin. My piece is inspired by the psychological atmosphere of the novel and its fascinating polyphonic structure, which inspired me to write a piece for a big ensemble.
In the novel, the characters are attached to each other by a “psychological string” which expands and stretches depending on emotional content, mostly related to fear. In my composition, the cellos are physically attached to each other by strings, one resonating on another. Extra pieces of strings tied to the instruments bridges and tailpieces connect literally each other occupying the stage. Distancia de rescate is also a trip inside the deep heart of the string. Its sound world is based on the natural harmonic series, finding unexpected patterns in the upper harmonic series of the string. These bright and fragile sounds are like crystals found in the earthy residual tones of the strings. • Video
for violin, viola and violoncello selected for Concurso de Composición BAC-Arditti String Quartet 2000
Calder´s circus is inspired on the Circus by Alexander Calder*, the American sculptor inventor of mobile and kinetic sculptures. Calder used to perform himself a vast, miniature circus conformed by a compendium of ingenious string mechanisms and wire artifacts. These artifacts are represented in my piece with different musical motives, which, like mobiles, spin around in loops. Each motive has it own weight, color, trajectory, and speed. The motives, when in interaction with each other, modify their rhythm, form, and behavior in analogy to Calder’s mobiles parts.
Calder used to build his kinetic sculptures with varied materials like stones, wire, wood, and pieces of metal. My spinning motives are made with different sound textures. Both circuses, Calder’s and mine, are a fragile compendium of small pieces to be performed live.
Anatomy of a jar explores the sound quality of discarded objects, making music with bottles and jars literally rescued from the glass container. These objects refer clearly to a known and familiar world, that through the composition process acquires an abstract and a poetic condition. This piece explores the subtleties of sound, both in the choir and in the objects. These sounds free themselves from their sources, having their own musical value independently of coming from the vocal tradition or the trash can. Anatomy of a jar makes chamber music with objects converting them into refined musical instruments. Objects are now empowered on stage, and their sounds are written in a music score, acquiring thanks to the music notation “eternal life.” The act of re-appropriation is not related to the idea of nostalgia but to resistance and change.