Classical & Contemporary Music

NUM 1188

Title: Compositores Portugueses XX-XXI

Artists: Coro Sinfónico Lisboa Cantat, Coro de Câmara Lisboa Cantat, Jorge Carvalho Alves, Clara Alcobia Coelho

Composers: Fernando Lopes-Graça, Paulo Lourenço, Tiago Marques, Eurico Carrapatoso

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02/25/2010 Posted by | Classical Music, compositores portugueses, Contemporary Music, musica clássica, musique classique, portuguese composers | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NUM 1186

Title: Festival Internacional de Música da Póvoa de Varzim

Artists: Orquestra Sinfónica da Póvoa de Varzim, Osvaldo Ferreira, Camerata Senza Mizura, Elsa Marques Silva, Raquel Camarinha

Composers: Hugo Ribeiro, Gonçalo Gato, Fátima Fonte, Ana Seara, António Pinho Vargas

Camerata Senza Misura is an ambitious project whose main goal is to bring together a new generation of portuguese musicians and to perform chamber music programs.

With an eclectic formation – including winds, strings and piano – this group is able to execute works with the most various combinations, which allows them, at the same time, to have more range and flexibility to execute a repertoire of several periods in the history of music.

This project began on November of 2002 with their participation in the cycle Clarinete À Volta do Côa (Clarinet around Côa). On the XIV Encontros da Primavera (XIV Spring Meetings), at Guimarães, Camerata Sensa Misura premiered the work Contrastes by Luís Cipriano. Participated in the cycle Os Dias da Nova Música Portuguesa (The Days of New Portuguese Music), at Condeixa-a-Nova; in the Festival de Música de Paços de Brandão (Paços de Brandão Music Festival), in Box Music at Centro Cultural de Belém, in the Festival Internacional de Música da Póvoa de Varzim (Póvoa de Varzim International Music Festival), and in the Festival Internacional de Música do Algarve (Algarve International Music Festival), among others.

In 2005 Camerata Sensa Misura commissioned works to several Portuguese prestigious composers: Luís Tinoco, Victorino D’Almeida, Fernando Lapa, Sérgio Azevedo, Christopher Bochman, Carlos Azevedo and João Madureira, among others.

In 2007 the group is invited to take part in the project “Retratos e Paisagens” (“Portraits and Landscapes”), promoted by the Delegação Regional de Cultura do Norte (North Region Cultural Department), a tribute to Miguel Torga, in commemoration of the centenary of his birth, performing a dozen of concerts in the whole country and also in Spain.

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02/21/2010 Posted by | Classical Music, compositores portugueses, Contemporary Music, musica clássica, musique classique, portuguese composers | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NUM 1183

Title: In Monasterio Aveirensi (Musica para a Princesa Santa Joana de Aveiro)

Artists: Ensemble Joanna Musica

Composer: David Perez

The first problem that I encountered was identifying the composers of these works.  In the case of the Calenda, the question of authorship was relatively easy to settle, since an attribution to José Joaquim dos Santos (1747-1801), made by the musicologist Rui Cabral, already exists in the very catalogue of the PNL.  This attribution was confirmed through a study of the calligraphy and watermarks made by the eminent specialist, Dr. João Pedro d’Alvarenga.  Discovering the composer of the Missa de Santa Joana, was rather more complicated. The manuscript is catalogued as “anonymous” and there is no score – the piece exists only in the form of separated parts for each of the five voices and the line for the organ (basso continuo). This transformed the task of transcription into an activity not dissimilar from solving a puzzle comprising thousands of pieces.  Once again the study of the manuscript paper and its dating was used to situate the period of composition.  During this phase, I enjoyed inestimable assistance from Professor J.P d’Alvarenga. As it became possible to “visualize” the composition, and its intrinsic, high quality, I began to consider that it might be a work by David Perez, who was one of the major composers working in Portugal in the second half of the 18th-century.  After proposing this hypothesis to Prof. d’Alvarenga, who considered it very likely, I contacted Prof. Maurício Dottori of the Universidade Federal of Paraná, Brazil, the most important specialist on the sacred music of David Perez in the world.  After detailed study, he confirmed that the Missa de Santa Joana is unquestionably the work of Perez, and added that from stylistic elements found within it, it is a composition from the last decade of the composer’s life (ca. 1770).  At that time, more precisely in 1774, Aveiro was elevated to the status of a diocese, an event of great importance which would justify the commission of a Mass dedicated to St. Joana, from a composer famous throughout Europe, who was in the service of Queen D. Maria I and was held in high regard by the sovereign.  This allows us to understand that music also played an extremely important role during the commemorations of the elevation to diocese that occurred as part of a larger wave of royal compensations for Aveiro.
The Missa de Santa Joana is a true compendium of compositional practice. Constituted by 18 separate numbers, it allows its composer to display various facets of his technique, including homophonic movements, fugue, solos, duos, trio and quartet; and to employ nearly the entire harmonic vocabulary from contemporary treatises of basso continuo, such as basses leaping by fourths, evoking a character more in the style of the 17th-century (in the Gratias), the very characteristic sequences of leaping fifths (in the Laudamus Te and the final group, Sanctus, Benedictus and Agnus Dei), as well as the very frequent use of ninth and eleventh chords – practically the most dissonant material possible during the period.
The uniqueness of this work, divided into 18 movements, is proof of the importance of the commission, as well as a testament of the faith of its composer, and although uncommon, it is not an isolated case in the panorama of the 18th and 19th centuries, considering the great B minor Mass by Johann Sebastian Bach and the Missa Solemnis by Ludwig van Beethoven.
The Responsório de Santa Mafalda, the Discurso de 1ºTom (Discourse on the 1st tone) by Soror  da Piedade and Musica per Joanna complete the CD.
The Responsório de Santa Mafalda is a duet for sopranos and basso continuo, by an anonymous composer, probably from the second half of the 18th-century. The manuscript, from the Monastery of Arouca, is currently housed in the National Library of Lisbon, catalog no. MM 1045.  Beatified one hundred years apart (St. Joana in 1693, St. Mafalda in 1793), the two princesses conferred a renown upon their respective monasteries that continues in devotions to the present day.
Descendents of the Royal Family, the two princesses, Mafalda and Joana filled the Portuguese crown with splendor, focusing national attention upon themselves and greatness upon their respective monasteries. The names Soror Maria do Patrocínio and Soror Maria Barbara are included in the manuscript, probably indicating that they were the singers responsible for the work’s premiere, which may have been composed to commemorate the feasts of their beatifications. The text comes from the Song of Songs, which may be an allusion to the brief marriage of Princess Mafalda with Henry I of Castile.
The Discourse on the 1st tone, for organ, is work in the classical style and may have been composed by Soror Piedade, which would constitute a rare case of a female composer in Portugal during the second half of the 18th-century. However, due to having encountered this name annotated in organ manuscripts by other authors, I believe that Soror Piedade was an organist, and not a composer. The manuscript of this work belongs to the private collection of Professor Gerhard Doderer.
Musica per Joanna is an homage to the Princess St. Joana, which I composed for the reopening of the Museum of Aveiro on December 18, 2008. It employs Latin and Portuguese texts taken from a compilation dating from the 1950’s by Dr. António Christo, entitled  “cancioneiro de Santa Joana.”
Mário Marques Trilha

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01/17/2010 Posted by | Classical Music, compositores portugueses, Contemporary Music, musica clássica, musique classique | , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on NUM 1183

NUM 1182

Title: Música Portuguesa Para Um Quarteto (Portuguese Music for a Quartet)

Artists: Quarteto Lopes-Graça

Composers: António Victorino D’Almeida, Fernando Lopes-Graça

The members of this Quartet, formed at the School of Music of the National Conservatory (Lisbon – Portugal), are musicians possessing outstanding solo and chamber careers who are also teachers at that institution. This project intends to bestow on its Conservatory, as happens at many of its fellow schools around the world, a group of reference in the area of string performance capable of developing permanent teaching activity (quartet master-classes) as well as promoting the school, both in Portugal and abroad.
The ensemble performed in the most recent editions of the “La Folle Journée” Festival at the Cultural Centre of Belém, Lisbon, as well as in the Festival “In search of a Lost Concert House”, in Lisbon, and in many other major venues, including anniversary commemorations for Lopes Graça and Mozart.
It devotes special attention to repertoire by contemporary Portuguese composers, having given several world premieres of such works. One important example, a concert given last December in Andorra on the theme of “the Portuguese musical tradition of the 20th century,” deserves particular mention.
Its first CD includes major works by Lopes-Graça and Antonio Victorino d’Almeida.

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01/14/2010 Posted by | Classical Music, compositores portugueses, Contemporary Music, musica clássica, musique classique, portuguese composers | , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on NUM 1182

NUM 1181

Title: Musica Contemporanea Portuguesa para Piano (Tres Compositores Algarvios)

Artist: João Rosa

Composers: Joaquim Galvão, Cristóvão Silva, Tiago Cutileiro

Joaquim Galvão
This Piano Sonatina was written in 2000 and is dedicated to João Luis Rosa. In a certain way, its three movements describe João’s psychological attributes. The first movement, strikingly rhythmic, well suits the enthusiasm and determination of the interpreter. The second movement immediately shifts towards a more dream-like and lyrical side.  The third, a harmonized song in the form of a chorale, brings to the fore João’s technical qualities. The work ends with a coda that sums up all of these facets.
The first movement is divided in three sections: A (measure 1 to 47), B (measure 47 to 101) and C (measure 101 until the end). It is written in a sonata form. The A section exposes the first and second themes followed by a small re-exposition. A development of the previously presented themes is carried out in the B section. Immediately we find a bridge that leads us to the C section, where the themes are recapitulated. The movement concludes with a small coda.
The second movement was built in a way that might be termed free. In spite of this, we find three very well defined sections. In the A section (measure 1 to 17), a theme is followed by its own variation. The B section (measure 17 to 24), more rhythmic, provides the bridge between the first and third sections. In the C section (measure 24 until the end), we return to the ambience found in the A section but with a more varied melody.
The third movement is constituted by an original theme and four variations, ending with a coda that recalls the second movement and also the rhythmic pattern of the first movement, thus bringing the work to its close.
This work was premiered on October 4, 2000, by João Luis Rosa at the Lagos Music Academy Auditorium.
Cristóvão Silva
Variações is a piece from 2001. The composition is based on the numeric series of Fibonacci (Italian mathematician of the 12th century). The work’s formal structure, its durations, melodies, rhythms and harmony are defined according to it (the series). After a brief introduction and presentation of the thematic material, these variations (five, in all) happen over one or more notes of the full chromatic collection, were we find them serially distributed throughout the entire tonal gamut of the piano. The intentional exploration of certain technical resources/characteristics of the instrument is clearly present:  chords, arpeggios, ostinatos, contrapuntal sections, etc.
Momentos is a work from 1995. The energetic introduction immediately announces the intervals that will be explored in its several moments (movements). These intervals are: the major second (2, in integer notation), the minor sixth (8), and the major seventh (11). This intervallic material begins to be developed just after the introduction, both in very strict sections (with just one interval) and in more expansive moments (employing two or more intervals). Certain aspects are characterized by the same ambience, while others diverge through opposition, creating intervallic environments, at times whirling, at others, meditative. This work has a funereal tone. It was written as I learned of the news of the death of a great friend and benefactor, Mr. Celestino Baptista, to whom the piece is dedicated.
Estudo Poético nº 1 is my most recent piano work. Written in 2008, this piece aims to be the first of a future book of studies. It was written with my good friend and colleague João Rosa in mind. The intention of this first study was to start from a somewhat “chaotic and unstable” environment and progressively lead the musical discourse to a more harmonically stable state as well as toward an elegiac and passionate tone. The first section of this study is characterized above all by syncopated and energetically interlaced rhythms with a harmony based on the interval 5 (perfect fourth). The second section, predominantly lyrical and sentimental, employs exclusively chords in triplets, in both hands, which defines a melody intentionally loaded with a strong romantic and passionate emphasis.
Policromia was written in 1992. This small piece is based on three brief rhythmic/melodic cells rather distinct from one another. Each one of these cells is presented, first, in isolation, but little by little they meld into one larger form. The final result is a small palette of timbre.
Metamorfose was written in 1996.  Basically, this worked is formed around two intervals that are announced immediately at the outset: the interval 1 (the minor second) and the interval 2 (the major second); and a rhythmic ostinato that sustains the entire piece. Once this initial material has been introduced, the musical discourse metamorphoses, acquiring new and different identities. The initial two-voice writing ends a three-part texture.
Prelúdio Extático, from1992, is nearly a meditation. Evoking a highly contemplative state of spirit, very intimate, somewhat erotic, of an intense and profound character, it was written in a pantonal language of an expressionist variety.
Tiago Cutileiro
In my work I seek the exaltation of sound as a living organism that transforms itself and is transformed in time. This research (obsession) runs contrary to the propositions of the common conception of music. The joining of sounds in melodic or harmonic elements creates expressive and communicative codes that deviate the raw material (sound) from its primordial essence. The sound becomes a communicative vehicle of its composer – the sounds create something that is beyond them, such as the sounds of the language that are lost in the decoding of its message. In my music, I hope, on the contrary, only to hear the sound (being born, living and disappearing) and to let it be expressive in itself, living in the “bubble of time” were I allow everything to happen. An art that distances itself from music, or music that distances itself from art. This is not a new idea (nothing really is), we can find this thought clearly expressed in the texts of John Cage and of other American experimentalists in the second half of the 20th century. But the origin of all this can be found even earlier, in the noises created by the Italian futurists or, in the final analysis, in the progressive abstraction implicit in Schoenberg’s serialism. What I seek to maintain, although subtlety, is control over the way that the sound object reaches the listener. During the listening process, the sound, always slow and long, establishes a drawing in time, which, although abstract and without a clear sense, brings its unique atmosphere and its original emotional outline to those willing to embrace it.
Para Flauta e Piano (for flute and piano) is composed from a mechanical unfolding of rhythm and melody, established by the piano, the main instrument of this piece, which is punctuated by the flute’s progressively lengthening notes. Formally it presents itself to the listener as if through-composed, mono-structural. There are no elements of rupture throughout the duration of the work. Even so, the elaboration process, independent for both instruments, allows the perception of almost evolutionary cycles, like long waves that renew themselves, but without direction. The flute and the general dynamic demarcate these cycles. While the piano’s musical process is based on the overlapping of melodic lines derived from three previously determined chords in a game of progressive displacement and reunion, the flute, using the same notes, possesses a formal reality akin to what one might observe in a piece by minimal artist Donald Judd. The final global form is the result of the superimposition of these two processual mechanisms.
Para Piano e Electrónica is integrated in a set of five pieces/studies for solo instrument and electronics propagated by four channels where each solo instrument interacts with a pre-programmed electronics broadcast in real time (the remaining studies are for cello, recorder, guitar and voice). There is a strong interaction between the musician and the machine where the sum of these elements produces a sonority detached from the visible instrument on stage. The electronics do not produce sound, they reflect or reshape the sound, dividing it spatially and temporally. All of the five pieces have more or less the same formal structure adapted to the classical and alternative interpretative specificities of each instrument. Divided in three parts – a rising energetic flow (in intensity and pitch), clearly culminating midway through the piece; a downward curve both in terms of dispersion and dissipation; and a final, calming repose, now deprived of gestural sense – these studies, especially in their first sections, diverge from my usual aesthetic language, since an orienting sense of the sound flow is perceptible, although always abstract. Still, that directionality is, in essence, geometric and rather basic. Once again, it is not an expressive intention, in the strict sense. In the recorded version, the four- channel diffusion has to be compressed within the stereo limits. The essential part of the initial spatial idea is maintained, however:  the sonorous pathway that gives way to the fragmentation of the instrumental source.

01/14/2010 Posted by | Classical Music, compositores portugueses, Contemporary Music, musica clássica, musique classique | , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on NUM 1181