Written for Quasar Saxophone Quartet the title literally means ‘the blinding soul’. This idea — blinding flashes…pure light — has become a major theme of my work. The wave-particle duality of light seems heavenly or God-like…hence the reference to the soul.
Written for ensemble proton bern the title means ‘the blinding reflection’, or perhaps could be misinterpreted as ‘the blinded reflection’. The viewer attempts to peer into the depths only to be interrupted by the blinding flash of the sun as it reflects off of the surface and leaves a stinging halo of light on the retina. The principles of interaction between the conductor and ensemble and between performers themselves shape the piece as it is written without fully notated rhythm, time signature or barlines.
RELATIO, like many of my pieces, builds itself from the cellular level. The
idea is not a motive, in the sense of notes and rhythm, but a structure based in the possibility of sound itself, created by the vibration of the outer and inner strings of the viola d’amore.
The gesture resonates within the instrument, in this case, the viola d’amore, which by its very structure, vibrates internally as the performer plays and manipulates its outer strings. The interplay between the controllable and uncontrollable create the sound world of RELATIO.
Within these gestures and sounds, harmonic and melodic fragments interweave to create the dynamic world which makes up RELATIO. Vancouver Classical Music review
Music ultimately lives and exists through the connection between musician and instrument, between music and audience, between music and meaning, and primarily between composer and performer. Franco Donatoni is the connection between myself and Magnus Andersson.
While working with Donatoni, I wrote a piece titled ASCENSIONE, inspired by a mural in Siena’s magnificent palazzo Chigi-Saracini, where Magnus had also worked. Years later, I found that this mural was actually based on the trasfigurazione, not the ascensione. About this same time, I met Magnus, who asked me to write a piece for his extraordinary trio made up of himself, Rohan de Saram (cello) and Pascal Gallois (bassoon). The connection between Magnus, Donatoni and myself is TRASFIGURAZIONE.
Each instrument possesses a unique cell, which replicates and evolves throughout the piece. These cells are interrupted by periods of shimmering stasis and silence. The instrumentalists rely on cues in each others music to orient themselves toward climaxes and resting points (forms of connection) that create its form and ultimately propel it to its finale.
…su innocent X…
…based on Francis Bacon’s Study after Velázquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X where the vertical striations create a scrim hiding the subject matter…the scrim becomes part of the subject itself…as if glimpsing something below a surface concealed by waves.
…bright reflections of the sun explode off the surface, temporarily breaking the view…creating a glimpse of the sun itself…a reverberation or afterglow that slowly fades from your retina…