SALUT FÜR CAUDWELL
Helmut Lachenmann's instrumental concrete music presents itself as a soundscape, a place that perception must intuitively explore, in order to transform listening to experience its newly acquired freedom.
"Lachenmann developed a concept of 'musical ruins' which is at the heart of Salut für Caudwell, a guitar duet written in 1977. Indeed, the fact that the work is written for two guitars immediately leads us to preconceived ideas, to the suggestion of popular or folk music, which the composer accepts, of course, but transforms it into a 'ruin' of the idealised version we might conceive. According to Lachenmann, 'the typical aura surrounding the guitar as a popular and artistic instrument encompasses both the primitive and the highly sensitive, the intimate and the collective, and includes motifs that can be described in historical, geographical and sociological terms'. This is immediately apparent in the opening minutes, where almost regular pulses are constantly established, suggesting rhythms of a popular, even military nature, but expressed in sounds that contradict this image. The literary dimension is soon added, as Lachenmann introduces fragmentary phonemes from the British Marxist writer Christopher Caudwell's essay Illusion and Reality and, for brief moments, a few words from Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra are also recited.
As Ian Pace explains, after the first seven intense minutes, 'the music almost falls away'. And the pulse starts again, but now it seems to come from within rather than being imposed from without. This makes possible wonderful interactions between the performers. Lachenmann opens up cracks in the texture that extend to the point where they begin to be understood only as aberrations, and consequently everything that preceded them is recontextualised. As in many of his pieces, the formal thinking, as radical as the sonic thinking (though Lachenmann is by no means a formalist), is what makes this music more than a catalogue of unusual effects or a set of 'sound worlds'."
Manuel Contreras Vázquez
Commissioned by Festival Mixtur
Premiere on 11 September 2020
Fabra i Coats - Barcelone
Lidio, for two guitars (2020). Commissioned by Mixtur Festival, Spain. Premiered by Duo Lallement & Marques at Fabra i Coats, Barcelona, 11 September 2020.
“Lidio”, as the ecclesiastic mode from F to F, or from C to C. “Lidio”, as the verb “lidiar” (in Spanish): to
fight or disputing with someone or something to reach and objective. To face with something or
someone: gérer, to deal with, combattere… Lidio is the middle name of Víctor Lidio Jara Martínez, popular Chilean songwriter and Theatre director, militant of Salvador Allende’s “Unidad Popular” (Popular Unity), travel companion of Luigi Nono during his journey among Chilean people at the end of the sixties: workers, students, farmers. The singer of the people's happiness that was murdered by Pinochet’s dictatorship in 1973 after terrible torments in a concentration camp.
The three meanings of the word “Lidio” joining in this piece to generate a subtle sonic dramatization that works as Victor Jara’s antiphon. A short requiem for who faced with his song the cruellest face of tyranny, and who embodied within his name a remembrance of an archaic, ancestral and essential sonic material."
Manuel Contreras Vázquez
MAR SIN FONDO
José Manuel López López
Commissioned by Radio France for the programme "Création Mondiale".
Premiere from 7 to 13 June 2021
Centre National de Création La Muse en Circuit - Alfortville
listen to Anne Montaron's programme, "Création Mondiale".
"Mar sin fondo, In Memoriam Francisco Iovino" for two guitars, commissioned by Radio France for the programme Création Mondiale "Alla Breve" is a tribute to my dear friend Francisco, a composer with whom I collaborated for many years; first in Paris on a daily basis and then at a distance between Paris and New York when IOVINO moved to New York to do his doctorate at Columbia University, long musical and vital moments, which arose after our meeting in 1991 at IRCAM (Paris); he as a researcher and music computer programmer and I as a composer, who applied the technology developed in this centre to the works I composed there: Lituus (1991) for brass quartet and electronics and Sottovoce (1995) for vocal quartet and electronics.
In this homage to Francisco IOVINO I wanted to show the interest that both he and I have always had in entering into the interior of sound, and from there to build the rest of the work. The guitar, an instrument very close to me since childhood, has been on this occasion the vehicle in this journey to the "centre of sound".
Each of the 5 movements that make up the work, two-minute movements expressly requested by Anne Montaron, director of the programme Alla Breve on Radio France, will be broadcast the week of 7 June 2021 in an original radio format consisting of broadcasting one of these movements each day of the week (morning and afternoon), which will finally be broadcast in its entirety on the Sunday of that week in a one-hour monographic programme dedicated to the guest composer in each case.
This format obliges the composer to develop a formal strategy that allows him on the one hand to write independent movements with their corresponding coherence, contrast, energy, gesturality and own interest, and at the same time to plan the global form of the work, as a sum of these independent movements, bringing together in a global whole the characteristics mentioned above for each movement: coherence, contrast, energy, gesturality, etc.
Elements that I consider interesting to mention, as they highlight the aforementioned will to deepen and investigate the timbre and to have access to marvellous unforeseen corners of the infinite colours of the guitar, are for example the use of mobile capos that allow the obtaining of unusual harmonic superimpositions, even impossible to achieve without them. Also the use of bottlenecks which, when rubbing against the metal frets of both guitars, produce percussive-granular textures that are new in the guitar repertoire, reminiscent of the croaking of storks and which place us in an interesting bio-musical territory due to the connection between nature and music. Likewise the constant presence, with the exception of the first movement, of particle textures with trajectories, densities and rhizomes of energy that bring us closer to and connect us with the micro world of quantum physics and its particular characteristics, in the sense of particles, completely removed from rhythm in the traditional sense of the latter, but which expand and complement the polyphonic superimpositions in a remarkable way.
The work is dedicated to the extraordinary duo Estelle Lallement and Filipe Marqués to whom I am deeply grateful for the fantastic work they have done to bring to life this work composed in memory of a very dear friend."
José Manuel López López
"Although he studied composition, counterpoint, harmony, analysis and musicology at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Paris, Mark Andre decided at some point in his life to leave behind his French musical training and, along the way, the accent that originally marked his surname (Andre). After his stay in Paris, Andre moved to Stuttgart in the late 1990s to study with Helmut Lachenmann, before settling permanently in Berlin. Moving from the French to the German sphere, he adhered to the ideology of "instrumental concrete music" and began to subject his compositional processes to systems derived from serial techniques. The result is creations of iron structural solidity and almost Webernian condensation, in which there is not a single note that is not strictly necessary within the framework of a sonic and temporal logic that is, paradoxically, highly imaginative but extremely sober.
iv 14 is the fourteenth part of a vast cycle of pieces for solo instruments or small chamber ensembles, which André began in 2007 with a work for solo cello. iv 14 uses two guitars and adheres to the musical values that characterise the whole cycle: an unconventional use of instruments - in this case, the use of external elements to search for micro-sounds in the guitar -, a dynamic very close to silence and a (only apparent) lack of direction or spontaneity in the discourse, which is articulated in the form of very brief movements."