martes, 27 de agosto de 2013

Sixth listen - Julián Carrillo - Preludio a Colón

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."

Fifth listen - George Rochberg - Imago Mundi

George Rochberg - Imago Mundi

George Rochberg was an american composer, born in 1918 and died in 2005. He was one of the most important XX century composers in USA. His musical life started first exploring with serialism and, after the dead of his son (1963), he started to feel that that language wasn't enough to express his feelings, therefore he starting composing in a language that many classified as neo-romantic.

Imago Mundi (Image of the World), composed in 1973, is a response to the experience of the composer with Japan traditional music. It is much more than the typical "occident meets orient", that became so popular during the XX century, just like that furniture in your granma's living. What particulary fascinated Rochberg of asian music was the treatment of time: the statism, without the quality of develpment in which the events happends one after the other, giving a very different sensation from that of the symphonic music. If we compare this piece with his second symphony, it is possible to see the difference in the form of both, being Imago Mundi much more suspensive and fulfilling than what we might hope of a well composed piece according to european tradition.

Source: David Hurwitz,

Fourth listen - Penderecki - Cello Concerto 1

Krzysztof Penderecki - Concerto Nº 1 for Cello & Orchestra

Krzysztof Penderecki is one a polish composer. He was born on 1933 in Debica. He's one of the most important composers of the XX century, mainly because of his compositon "Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima (and Nagazaki)" which was quite revolutionary. After this piece several others came, as the one that is presented here today. But after, Penderecki, started leaving behind this revolutionary style and changed towards a post-romantic style, remembering composers like Rachmaninoff or Shostakovich (in some of his pieces). In the words of the composer himself, in an interview by Pacho O'Donnel for Canal á, he said this style change is due to that the music that he's now composing has the only objective to be likeable for him, while the music that he composed back in those revolutionary years was music meant only for that... to be revolutionary.

The first cello concerto is composed in a single movement, and its based on a concerto that Penderecki wrote for "Violino Grande" and orchestra, in 1967 by commission of the polish violinist Bronislaw Eichenholz, who had that instrument built. The isntrument is a sort of viola, but with 5 strings, which allows it to have both the extension of the violin and the viola. This version was premiered on the 1st of July of 1967. Penderecki said he actually thought of the cello since the first moment he started composing the concert, in December of 1966, but it wasnt until 1971 when he started adapting the concert for a cello, thinking on the technic and expresiveness of his friend Siegfried Palm. Who had premiered some of his cello pieces before: Sonata for Cello and Orchestra (1964) and also Capriccio (1968).

The orchestration is kind of atypical, which contributes to its beautiful sonority, on one hand the orchestra has no violas, which was made to emphasize the violino grande, and then it was left like this on the cello version. Some years after the premiere (1972), Penderecki adeed some instruments to the orchestra, sax, accordion and electric guitar. It's also noticeable that there are other atypical instruments on the orchestra, like electric bass, and a saw (played with bow), among others.

The text about the concert was published on the booklet of Arto Noras recording, published by elatos, and written by Jaakko Haapaniemi.