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for 2 clarinetists (1. Clarinet in Bb and bass clarinet, 2. Bass clarinet), bass trombone, cello and double bass

Title of the work:  Claroscuros (2001).
Composer: Javier Torres Maldonado.
Duration: 10'.
Dadicatee: Sandro Gorli.
Publisher: Edizioni Suvini Zerboni - Milano (for more information please send an e-mail to my publisher).
Year of composition: 2001.
Movements: 1. "Voz Oscura", 2. "Antiphonae-Aurae".
World premiere: Auckland, Hopetoun Alpha, 11.11.2001 - Ensemble 175 East, Hamish McKeich, cond.
Score (only with authorization)

Program note

Claroscuros was conceived in 2000. The project arose from my first experiences with electro-acoustic media and, above all in Antiphonae-aurae, from the work with superposition techniques of different complex spectra and their possible metamorphoses. The project, which is linked to a precise instrumental idea, was put into practice and scored thanks to the remarkable willingness and flexibility of the Ensemble 175 East.

The title Claroscuros (roughly ''brighthness-darknesses'') makes a reference to the continuos search for contrasts, evident throghout the formal and instrumental plan of the two pieces that form this cycle. The first piece, Voz Oscura, (''dark voice''), is characterised by the constant presence of fragments of a long melody which passes through all the instruments of the ensemble, sometimes perceptibly, sometimes not. This melody is, in fact, present trhoghout the piece, but in some sections the melody undergoes various transformations that alter its evidence in time: interruption, the freezing of a single note for more than 30 seconds, sudden compression like a photographic ''flash'' and so on. The dominant image is of a voice trying to sing through the instruments of the ensemble.

Other allusions in this first piece include characteristic features of Latin-American music, almost dream-like allusions, as they are presented filtered down to their essential elements.

Voz oscura is organized into modules of different durations, containers which are filled with fragments of the long melody; these fragments are manipulated in various ways so that an extremely irregular result is obtained; the sections are easily perceived as they are separated by interruptions or pauses during the course of the work.

Antiphonae-Aurae, the second and last piece of the cycle, is a ''negative'' of the first; it begins with antiphonal events in which the ''choir'' alternation is progressively replaced by descending and changing musical flows, or auras. This ''wake'' or comet tail of auras is interrupted three times by scalar passages which separate the work into three sections. Antiphonae-Aurae is a work that requires a high level of virtuosity without ostentation; most of the time the five instruments play in their high registers, very quietly, rarely exceeding « piano », and considerable use is made of microtones and natural harmonics. This second piece requieres the use of two bass clarinets, which gives a very particular sonority to the work.

Javier Torres Maldonado


Email: tmjavier[at]  

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