Cecilia Arditto

Post Term: Marx, Karl

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

The dearest dream (2018)

anti concerto for percussion and ensemble of 10 instruments
2nd prize Wilde Lieder Marx Competition by the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group

The dearest dream is an anti-concerto for simple means based on concepts by Karl Marx.
The music has 4 sections displaying different relationships between the soloist and the ensemble.
I. Dialectic of the strings, a string-telephone quartet is in dialogue with the ensemble strings.
2. The song of the land makes music with grains.
3. The man (repetition and alienation) where the percussionist sweeps the concert hall floor with a broom.
4. The machine is characterized by 4 electric fans with rotating heads.

The sound architecture of The dearest dream is based mainly on one note: it uses the spectrum of the note F-1, starting with A 440 (20th overtone) which progressively opens to the complete overtone series.
The sound changes during the piece from sine wave at the beginning to noise at the end, making changes in color but always respecting the overtone hierarchy. The rhythms used in the piece are mainly repeated notes, just slight fluctuations of the fixed sounds: in other words, they represent variations over the same. The whole ensemble play basically only one note and its overtones represents the tradition that perpetuates itself (status quo), leading to movement but without real changes. The dialogue with the outside objects breaks the fixed order bringing an unorthodox musical dialogue. The percussion plays diverse objects that impregnate the rest of the music. He is a soloist, or better said, an anti-soloist. Some members of the ensemble also play some objects apart from their instruments, to show some sympathy to the percussionist.

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Download score PDF

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Related post/s in my blog
“Barrer en quintillos” (Spanish)

Related works:
• Tissue (2019)
• Anthropology of trash (2020)