“Apocalipsis” at the SMR in Cuenca

Posted by Leticia Martin on April 19, 2011  |  Leave a comment

Apocalipsis de Jesús Torres

The second day of the Cuenca Religious Music Week, 17 April, saw the premiere of the latest work by Jesús Torres. Apocalipsis, specially commissioned for the Festival, is an ambitious project that counted on the participation of the Ensemble Residencias, the French choir Accentus and the Gregorian choir Schola Antiqua, all of them conducted by Nacho de Paz.

The old church known as the Iglesia de la Merced, a beautiful religious space converted into a library, was the venue of the premiere. As its title indicates, Apocalipsis is based on bible texts from the Book of Revelation written by St John of Patmos. The composer has divided the work into seven parts, each seven minutes long, combining Latin and Spanish in the choral lyrics. And two mixed choirs, a Gregorian choir and the ensemble – consisting of seven percussionists, two pianos, two trumpets, two horns, four trombones and an oboe – constitute a group of 49 musicians (7×7), distributed in seven spaces, thus giving special importance to both the numerical symbolism and the spatial organisation, specially thought out for the venue of the premiere.

The public, with the venue packed out, was situated at the centre of this whole spatial arrangement and experienced the “revelation” first hand. Several minutes of applause capped this unforgettable event during which Torres’ music carried us from the seven seals to New Jerusalem. The music evolves to express the text and also develops its own descriptive identity, making the most of the special characteristics of the instruments and the fabulous performers on hand for the occasion.

Following on from works like Evocación and Sinfonía, Jesus Torres has achieved the perfect fusion of music and lyrics in this piece, without detriment to the particular qualities of these two components. With each new project it becomes clearer and clearer that he is one of the most important composers of contemporary music in Spain.

Hypermusic Prologue at the Gran Teatro del Liceu

Posted by Leticia Martin on November 23, 2009  |  1 Comment

Hypermusic Prologue is, for the moment, Hèctor Parra’s most ambitious project, one of the great achievements of European contemporary music in this century. The opera libretto was written by the prestigious theoretical physicist Lisa Randall and has been published by Tritó in a clear show of support for this work by Parra and the new contemporary music.

It is new style of opera, a unique project for intercommunication between science, music and art. In this work the traditional form of opera is explored to generate a form of dramatic expression suited to the 21st century, its ideas and creative processes, including recent research into physics and its parallelisms with music and art.

Hypermusic Prologue, for soprano, baritone, ten instruments and electronics, was composed in 2008 and 2009. It was commissioned by the Ensemble Intercontemporain, the Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM), the Centre Pompidou, and the Department of Culture of the Catalan Government (Generalitat). It was premiered in Paris on 14 June 2009 as part of the programming of the Festival Agora.

Further information and tickets.

Opening of the application period for participation in the Cadaqués Orchestra International Conducting Competition

Posted by Leticia Martin on October 13, 2009  |  Leave a comment

The application period for participation in the Cadaqués Orchestra international conducting competition will open soon. Thanks to this competition, prestigious conductors such as Gianandrea Noseda, Vasily Petrenko and Pablo González, winners in previous years, were able to give their careers a decisive push forward.

As on previous occasions, the competition includes both a classical orchestral repertoire, with works by composers such as Schubert, Beethoven and Mendelssohn, and Spanish music, old and new. The composer commissioned to write the compulsory piece for this 10th competition is José María Sánchez Verdú. It will be performed during the final stages of the competition.

The jury, chaired by the Russian maestro Gennady Rozhdestvensky, is made up of professionals from the world of music and – something that is basic to the proceedings of this competition – members of the Orquesta de Cadaqués itself.

Online application will be open from January 7th on the orchestra website, where you can view the terms and conditions, the history of the competition, and also the Orchestra’s activities. The competition repertoire may be acquired through www.trito.es.

New edition of the Complete Works for voice and piano by Isaac Albéniz

Posted by Leticia Martin on September 25, 2009  |  Leave a comment

To mark the centenary of Isaac Albéniz’s death, Tritó Publishers has issued a new revised edition of this composer’s complete works for voice and piano, a key repertoire among the Spanish music from all periods.

It is hoped that this long-awaited new edition will be as successful as the previous one, published over ten years ago. It continues the line initiated with the publication of another important set of complete works for voice and piano, the songs of Enrique Granados.

In this edition particular mention should be made of the inclusion of the translations of the original lyrics to English, Catalan and Spanish, and also the phonetic transcription made by Oriol Gil Sanchís. The introductory study has also been reviewed, enlarged and updated by its author, Jacinto Torres, one of the foremost experts on this composer.

The publication includes five poems by Becquer for recital with piano accompaniment, along with later versions by Albéniz for singer and piano. It also includes six salon romances in Italian, four songs on French poems with modernist and symbolist aesthetics, and most important of all, the set of the sixteen songs based on poems by his English patron Francis B. Money-Coutts.

Albéniz’s piano music has often overshadowed the rest of his musical output. Among his songs and lieder there are very different pieces, ranging from salon romances to French impressionist songs and recited works with piano accompaniment. This compilation of works – some of them hitherto unpublished – provides a novel overview of this composer.

For further information about this issue…

Piano works by Jesús Rueda, a novelty from Naxos in September

Posted by Leticia Martin on September 13, 2009  |  1 Comment

With symphonies, string quartets, chamber concertos, operas and a great deal of piano music to his name, Jesús Rueda is one of the most representative composers of Spanish music alive today. His piano works, performed by Ananda Sukarlan on this recording, are on the virtuoso lines of composers such as Chopin, Liszt, Ravel and Prokofiev.

His piano compositions range from the dazzling firework display present in Mephisto, based on Liszt’s first waltz, to the two sonatas, the second of which is influenced by jazz and Bali Kecak dance rhythms from Indonesia, to the delightfully sensual tonal palette

of the 24 interludes, and Invenciones, a relatively simple piece with special appeal for children.

This is very personal music where classical languages and contemporary elements are brought together to create richly expressive and communicative music.

See the complete works by Jesús Rueda…

Opera 2.0 (1st part)

Posted by Leticia Martin on May 28, 2009  |  Leave a comment

Hypermusic Prologue, the opera by Hèctor Parra with a libretto by Lisa Randall, will be premiered in Paris on 14 June at the Centre Pompidou. During the two weeks leading up to this premiere we have been able to take a closer look at the Ensemble Intercontemporain’s work on its development and production, through the rehearsals and other videos with previous information.

Thanks to Youtube we can personally experience the birth of an opera in the 21st century.

Hypermusic Prologue and Hèctor Parra in Accents

Posted by Leticia Martin on May 6, 2009  |  Leave a comment

Issue no. 38 of the review Accents published by the Ensemble Intercontemporain is dedicated to Hèctor Parra’s Hypermusic Prologue.

Hypermusic Prologue is a unique project for intercommunication between science, music and art. It explores the traditional opera form in order to generate a type of dramatic expression for the 21st century, its ideas and creative processes, including recent research into physics and its parallelisms in music and art.

The main character, a composer and scientist, experiences deep tension between his “earthly love” and his “passion for knowledge”. This tension is built up dramatically through the contradictions between his life with his lover, limited in space and time, and his conviction that there is a much bigger world waiting to be explored.

This opera represents an opportunity to foster the search for more expressive forms for the drama and the musical possibilities. Its object is to find aesthetic structural connections through sound between that most abstract of the arts – music – and the highest concepts of theoretical physics, as researched by Lisa Randall and others. We hope the result will be a novel and fascinating creative experience.

The review is free and can be downloaded here.

A symphonic spring for Ramon Humet

Posted by Leticia Martin on May 4, 2009  |  1 Comment

This season is proving to be a prolific one as regards Ramón Humet’s symphonic activity. The performances of “Escenas de pájaros” by the Montreal Symphony Orchestra conducted by Roberto Minczuk and the OBC conducted by Rubén Gimeno have been followed by a premiere: “Sol de primavera”, a work commissioned by the Auditorio Nacional de Música to mark its 20th anniversary. The work was performed for the first time on the 3 May at the Auditorio Nacional, and on 5 May at the Auditori Nacional de Cataluña, by the JONC conducted by Manel Valdivieso.

Following this premiere, Ramón Humet will also be present at the Festival de Verano (Summer Festival) in Tarragona, where “Gagaku” will be premiered by the OBC, who will also play “Un vent transparent” at the Auditorio de Vilaseca on 19 June.

El Gato con Botas (Puss in Boots), reduction for piano

Posted by Leticia Martin on April 24, 2009  |  Leave a comment

El gato con Botas, an opera by Xavier Montsalvatge with a libretto by Nestor Luján based on the story by C. Perrault, has been newly published as a reduced version for piano and voice.

This opera, composed by the Catalan composer in 1948, is one of the liveliest examples of contemporary Spanish opera and has been staged on several occasions – the latest was a co-production by the Teatro Real and the Liceu – both in its original version and as the adaptation made in 1996 by Albert Guinovart for chamber ensemble.

Gianandrea Noseda conducts Albéniz and Granados

Posted by Leticia Martin on April 24, 2009  |  Leave a comment

The recent tour of the Orquesta de Cadaqués, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda, with concerts in Girona (28 April) and Zaragoza (29 Abril) focussed on Spanish music. The repertoire consisted of pieces by Isaac Albéniz, to mark the centenary of his death, and Enrique Granados, and their works were interpreted using the orchestrations that Albert Guinovart was commissioned to write by Tritó Edicions.

The Orquesta de Cadaqués presented four pieces from the Suite Española (Cadiz, Asturias, Cordoba and Sevilla) by Albéniz as well as his Canciones Italianas, interpreted by Ainhoa Arteta. Las Tonadillas by Enrique Granados completed a first part in which the Orquesta de Cadaqués, Gianandrea Noseda and Ainhoa Arteta paid their own special homage to Spanish music.

The concert programme was completed by F. Schubert’s Symphony nº 4.

David del Puerto presents his third symphony in Cordoba

Posted by Leticia Martin on April 15, 2009  |  Leave a comment

On Thurday 16 April, at the Gran Teatro at 21:00 hrs, and as part of the busy programme of the Festival Cosmopoética held in Córdoba during March and April, David del Puerto’s third symphony, “En la melancolía de tu recuerdo, Soria”, was presented. It is a work commissioned by the Otoño Musical Soriano and composed in 2007.

Antonio Machado’s poems are the focal point of the work, with José Sacristán as the recitalist and the singers Elena Gragera and Carmen Gurriarán. The orquesta de Córdoba and the conductor Marco de Prósperis, together with these soloists, were given the task of presenting this large-scale work at the poetry festival. This is piece that signifies a point of inflection in the music of the composer David del Puerto.

See www.cosmopoetica.es for further.

“La guitarra soñada” by Javier Riba presented in Madrid and Barcelona

Posted by Leticia Martin on April 15, 2009  |  Leave a comment

In the year of Albéniz’s centenary (1860-1909), Javier Riba, following the best Spanish guitar tradition (Miquel Llobet, Francesc Tárrega), has realised some brilliant versions of different works by the maestro from Camprodon, which are now being presented in concert in Madrid and Barcelona.

The opportunity to listen to Javier Riba live in Madrid is on 22 April, as part of the concert programme organised by the Sociedad Española de la Guitarra, at the Centro Cultural Conde Duque del Ayuntamiento de Madrid, and he can be heard in Barcelona on 23 May, as part of the Festival de Guitarra de Barcelona , in the Iglesia de San Felipe Neri.

The CD “La guitarra soñada” by Javier Riba is a Tritó production.

New CD with symphonic works by Jesus Torres

Posted by Leticia Martin on March 18, 2009  |  Leave a comment

This is the first monographic CD of orchestral works by the composer Jesús Torres (Zaragoza, 1965), one of the leading composers of his generation, who in the words of Jose Luis Téllez “attracts attention for both the maturity and the perfection of his writing and the speed and self-assurance with which the musician from Aragon has managed to define a personal style almost right from the beginning”.

The first work, “Sinfonía”, which was commissioned by the Orquesta de RTVE and its conductor Adrian Leaper to mark the 40th anniversary of the ensemble, is one of the composer’s most ambitious pieces to date. The writing of a symphonic work is a great challenge which the composer dealt with very successfully.

The other two works, on a smaller scale, were also the result of commissions. “Movimiento” was commissioned as the final piece in the 2004 Cadaquès Orchestra Conducting Competition. The recording was conducted by the Italian Gianandrea Noseda.

Partita” was commissioned by the Joven Orquesta Nacional de España (JONDE) in 1998, when Jesus Torres was the in-house composer with this ensemble. Although it was written for only fifteen instruments it is a synthesis of orchestral composition.

Benguerel, Martínez Izquierdo and Rueda, at the CDMC

Posted by Leticia Martin on March 18, 2009  |  Leave a comment

On Monday 23 March, the Orquesta de Cadaqués ensemble, under the baton of Alejandro Posada, interpreted a programme that included three fundamental works by the composers Xavier Benguerel (Hexagrama), Ernest Martínez Izquierdo (Norte-Sur) and Jesús Rueda (Chamber concerto no 2).

These three works, written in very different languages, present part of the current Spanish music scene.

The concert was completed by one of Arnold Schonberg’s masterworks, Ode to Napoleon, with a solo contribution by the baritone and actor David Moss.

Further information at: http://cdmc.mcu.es/

The ARS Musica Festival in Brussels gives the music of Hector Parra a warm reception

Posted by Leticia Martin on March 18, 2009  |  Leave a comment

The 20th ARS Musica Festival in Brussels has confirmed its position as one of the most important in the ambit of contemporary music. From 10 March to 10 April some of the best-known names on the contemporary scene will pass through the Belgian capital.

The composer Hèctor Parra, confirming his international projection, has been present at the festival with two concerts and a talk. The Arditti Quartet premiered his work “Leaves of reality” on 12 March and the Brussels Philarmonic conducted by Michel Tabachnik  performed one of his latest works for  orchestra, “Lumières Abyssales-Chroma”.

Further information at: www.arsmusica.be

The Pyrenean Symphony by Guridi included in this season’s Orquesta de RTVE programming

Posted by Leticia Martin on March 18, 2009  |  Leave a comment

On 19 and 20 March, the Pyrenean Symphony by Jesús Guridi (1886-1961) was presented in Madrid as part of this season’s ORTVE programming at its home in the Teatro Monumental in Madrid. The conductor was Pablo Gonzalez.

In this work Guridi evokes “the spirit of the mountains and the dangers existing there”. It is a very colourful work with descriptive traits. Its modal and rhythmic character clearly expresses the composer’s inspiration in Basque popular music, translated in this work into the characteristic symphonic language of the 20th century.

The writer Gerardo Diego summed up his impressions of the work in a review where he concluded as follows: “And Spanish music can now lay claim to a symphony that may be compared without hesitation with the illustrious Alpine, Cevennian and Carpathian heights and pinnacles of the musical landscape.”

“Obertura Festiva” by Manuel Castillo

Posted by Leticia Martin on March 18, 2009  |  Leave a comment

Obertura Festiva, by Manuel Castillo (1927-2005), is being published with the support of the Centro de Documentación Musical de Andalusia of the Andalusian government,

This work for orchestra was composed in 1996 and was dedicated to the Fundación Jacinto e Inocencio Guerrero as a token of appreciation for the prize awarded to the composer by this foundation.

The work does not conform to a pre-established  formal scheme, but rather it is constructed on the basis of the sum of different materials that include touches of Andalusian tonalities.

Mexico-Spain Contemporary Music Festival

Posted by Leticia Martin on February 12, 2009  |  2 Comments

After a 25-year hiatus, Mexico and Spain once again co-organize a festival of contemporary music, this February 17 to 28, to present the leading exponents of the genre from both countries, along with poetry recitals and master classes in composition.

The new Spanish-Mexican Festival of Contemporary Music will revive artistic exchange and end a quarter of a century of isolation and lack of awareness of the work of musicians from either nation, says the director of the event, Marcela Rodriguez. “Now,” she adds, “we are going to reactivate the exchange and presentation of the latest from genre, with works of high quality in terms of composition and execution. They are fresh and define the vision and influences of each of the participants.”

She recalled that the original festival was organized by the Mexican Alicia Urrueta and the Spaniard Carlos Cruz de Castro. “It was called the Spanish-Mexican Festival and was held from 1973 to 1983. After that, contact between the composers from the two countries was broken off.”

She explained that the programme consists of concerts of chamber and electronic music. “There will be five world premieres and 17 pieces will be played for the first time in Mexico.”

In total, she said, there will be six concerts with pieces by Mexicans Lara Ana and Gabriela Ortiz, among others, and the Spaniards José Manuel López, Carlos Cruz de Castro, José Luis Castillo, Javier Arias, Jesús Rueda, Santiago Lanchares, Ramón Humet and Mercedes Zavala. She also highlighted the performances by the ensembles Onix and Catrina String Quartet, plus the piano soloists Carlos Apellániz and Alberto Rosado.

See the program

Hèctor Parra, winner of the Premio Tendències award for up-and-coming creators

Posted by Leticia Martin on February 5, 2009  |  Leave a comment

The composer Hèctor Parra (Barcelona, 1976) has had a good start to 2009, a year that is going to confirm him as one of the most important Spanish composers on the international scene. On 19 January he received the Premio Tendencies for the outstanding, up-and-coming creator of the year in Catalonia, awarded by the Catalan edition of the newspaper El Mundo.

The composer was thrilled to win this prize, in particular because it represents recognition of his work in his home city, something that up till now has been more evident abroad. A good example of the interest this composer is arousing is the programming of his opera Hypermusic Prologue by the Teatre Liceo in Barcelona, undoubtedly his most ambitious work to date. This opera, with a libretto by the American physicist Lisa Randall, was commissioned by the Ensemble Intercontemporain in Paris, and will be premiered in that city before coming to the Barcelona theatre.

Madrid has also just recently been the venue for a concert with works by Hèctor Parra. As part of the programming of Musicadhoy the Ensemble Recherche played his works Abîme- Antigona IV, String Trio and Piano Trio nº1: Wortschatten. These works have been recorded by the same ensemble on a monographic CD produced by the Austrian label Kairos in conjunction with Caja Madrid.

Poética, by Jesus Torres, winner of the “Millenium Chamber Players” prize

Posted by Leticia Martin on February 5, 2009  |  1 Comment

Poética (2007), a work for a trio with piano and clarinet, by Jesús Torres, has won the “Millenium Chamber Players” prize awarded every year by the musicians of the Chicago ensemble.

This year there were over 300 competition entries and the jury, formed by Augusta Read Thomas, Kyung Mee Choi, Bernard Rands and George Flynn, admitted it had had difficulty in choosing a winner when it announced its decision.

As a prize Jesús Torres will receive a commission for a chamber work to be performed by the musicians of the “Millenium Chamber Players”. David Adamcyk and Miguel Villanueva received special mentions from the jury and Clifton Callender, Amos Elkana, Massimo Lauricella, Ned McGowan and Todd Tarantino received honourable mentions.

Poética is a work in five movements based on different texts by German poets: Novalis, Hölderlin, Rilke, Trakl and Celan. It was premiered by the Trío Arbós with the clarinettist José Luis Estellés.

Further information in Victor Rebullida’s blog.

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