Title: Música Contemporanea Portuguesa para Piano (Três Compositores Algarvios)
Artist: João Rosa – piano
Composers: Joaquim Galvão, Cristóvão Silva, Tiago Cutileiro
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.
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.
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