Julián Carrillo - Preludio a Colón
Julián Carrillo was a mexican composer, born on january 28, 1875 and died on september 9, 1965, known mostly for this work on microtonality, both in theory and in practice. Microtonality get to him by a lucky hit, since in the year 1895, in an acoustics clase, listenning to his teacher talking about the fact of dividing the string in order to obtain the overtones, made him interested in testing that same thing in his violin:
"First I divided the string in half his long and the phenomenon which for me was a miracle: I heard the octave of the fundamental. After that I continued dividing the string on three parts and the fifth was produced, in four, and I heard the fourth, in five and resulted in the third, until I got to the octave division; but there I stopped becuase the thickness of my finger and the little fragment of string left made it impossible for me to continue.
As the days passed my anxiety grew bigger and I wondered: What else is there? How to demostrate the sounds produced by tinier divisions of the strings? Fortunetly I thought of the blade of a knife by it's blunt part and I asked my con-disciple Eucario González to help me using the bow while I started dividing the intervals of the tone which goes from G in the IV open string in the violin to the A in that same string and I could hear cleary and distinctly sixteen different tones, which were sixteenth tones.
This moment marked my destiny. All the knowledge I'd acquire through my entire life would be applied to developing the multiple and complex problems that came from my experiment, in which the clicle of the twelve only known songs was broken, opening the gates of infinity for Music."
Carillo called this discovery "Sonido 13" (13 sound). The name borns from the first sound that exceeds the typical 12 sounds, which he listened while he experimented with his violin, apart of breaking with so important 12 sounds limit.
In this ocasion we are listenning to a piece titled "Preludio a Colón", and with this I add some notes of a concert program:
"This is the first piece written in this new system created by the composer. Dedicated to the great sailor, who discovered America. Here he wants to show the impresions of scare, amazement and joy obtained that were unveiled with the discovery of a new mysterious universe.
A 16th tone harp, a 4er tone flute, a 4er tone guitar and a string quartet, create the sounding atmosphere where a voice sings in delicate arabesques.
The piece was premiered on February 15 of 1925 in Mexico, on the first concert ever where this kind of music was player and during which the amazing emotional possibilities of the 16th tone harp was discovered. A few months were played in New York and in Philadelphia, under the conduction of Leopod Stokowski, with a huge success, several Carrillo pieces, among others a Concertino for little ensamble accompanied by Symphonic Orchestra.
Preludio a Colón, was conducted personally by the composer in the new UNESCO hall in Paris, in 1958, in front of a very enthusiastic audience."