sexta-feira, 16 de janeiro de 2015

Concerning the Nine Songs of António Ramos Rosa I wrote at the time: "a theory and a text"

a theory and a text

In recent years for each piece I have written, I have written a brief theory, it is not worked out before or after but during the actual composition. More specifically, there exists some theory before, but it has to do principally with some ideas on the actual state of the musical creation and its context. There is some theory afterwards, but with the intention of bringing together and formulating overall the principles which inform the piece. This text belong to this last category (theory-afterwards).
I begin with the theory-before. I belive that today (1996) composers have at their disposal musical objects of all kinds. A perfect chord has a past which is historically circumscribed, a dodecafonic series likewise, an irrational rhythm also, a regular pulse ditto and so on. I think there are today no tenable reasons for utilizing only a part of these objects, in the name of some "idea of the future" of music. For this reason I use those which seem to me to be the best at the time. It is not possible to reconstruct the tonal system as it existed on the 18th and 19th centuries. But its objects, connected to the inexorable existence of the harmonic series may, in my view, be used as well as any others. The idea of exhaustion, like a boomerang, always returns, reaching new languages and rapidly making them old. The problem for me is the discourse, not the vocabulary. I am not alone in this conviction, but I oblige nobody to agree with it. 

The theory-during was in this case determined by the beautiful poems by António Ramos Rosa [from the book "A intacta ferida"]. Obviously, before beginning I read the poems. Anda some of them, and at times some of the words within a poem triggered a response. Some expamples: in the poem "tacteio sobre o branco" the word "tacteio" [grope]  allowed me some associations with specific musical elements such as staccato, esitando, the transition from the sung to the spoken, etc.; in the poem "o que escrevo por vezes", the verse "um espaço intacto e puro" suggested in the context created in the mean time a perfect cadence; the verse "um gesto que procura a origem" led me to an isolated musical figure which, as well as being a musical gesture as such requires a determined physical gesture of the pianist; the verse "será que o mundo escuta?" obliged me to interruptb the musical argument, introducing a foreign element which requires a different kind of listening, etc.
This piece was commisioned by the Spring Musical Encounters organized by the Convivio Cultural Association of Guimarães, under the artistic direction of Helena Sá e Costa, and was forst performed in 1995 by Rui Taveira and Jaime Mota.

March of 1996.

This text was written for a program at the teatro Nacional de São Carlos which included the work. Later I wrote the ninth song to the poem "É por aqui mas o caminho é trémulo", which was premiered at Serralves.


translation by Ivan Moody for the CD versos

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