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Un soplo que vacía el pecho
ISMN : 979-0-2325-3148-9
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Work commissioned by KURAIA Ensemble/INAEM.
My compositional poetics involves a rhizomatous understanding in which it is not uncommon for some works to originate from others, nor that the same extra-musical aspect may appear in different creations as a means of approaching the same subject from different perspectives without any preceding hierarchy conditioning any aspect of this. This is the case for a series of works I have undertaken during these last two years, one of which will be this commission from the Kuraia Ensemble.
The theme for this series of works can be found when reflecting on war. The specific space chosen is the Balkan conflict, particularly the location of Sarajevo. From this point of departure, and in collaboration with the poet Pilar Martín Gila, we are creating an in-depth investigation through poems and with the motivation connected to the scene. These texts are written specifically for the project and are generating creative works of different types.
The work for Kuraia Ensemble, Un soplo que vacía el pecho, written for quintet (flute, clarinet, piano, violin and cello), talks about one of the "stories" we are working on, which in turn is suggested by The Zookeeper movie in which the protagonist, Jonah Ludovic –the zoo keeper of a Balkan city is in the middle of a civil war- he is responsible for taking care of the animals until they can be rescued. In his mission, he keeps the war outside the walls of the zoo, until a 10-year-old boy and his mother ask him for help.
As it happens in another of the pieces of the cycle (Después del incendio, toda la noche, for soprano, electronics, video and lighting), from this extra-musical context, I extract an element that I find especially suggestive and that, in some way, becomes a symbolic element of several aspects that I want to work on: the roar of the lion. If we observe this sound object with a microscopic look, the roar of the lion contains different "stages", which have a very different character each and that can even suggest opposing perceptions. From the almost subterranean depth of the bellow, until a moment when it seems that suffocation relegates him to impotence. Violence, uncertainty and pain in the same cry, something that is not far from war itself, to human conflict. On the other hand, this roar, inscribed in the thematic context of the project on the Bosnian War that I have described, is heard in the same place where a human being (Jonah Ludovic, the zoo keeper) tries to save the wild world from the wildness of the human world, the war. In this situation –staged in the film and addressed in the poetic texts of Pilar Martín Gila-, with a voice that agonizes the encounter with the word, is an element of enormous power when it comes to suggesting that deep poetic level that is always found in my musical creations. Although they avoid any traditional descriptive aspect.
The work with Pilar Martín Gila’s text on Un soplo que vacía el pecho (A sigh that empties the chest) is based on the idea of a presence that is completely integrated with the musical landscape. The performers whisper the text like “mouthfuls” of sounds, always narrowly tied to the instrumental discourse. This is not about creating a “sound base” through which the poetic idea can flow, but instead that it becomes part of it and penetrates the space of sound and music, proposing another level of listening beyond either of these.
Madrid, May, 2018
Pages - 46