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Program notes

Alrededor de la música / Around music (2006) for alto flute, trumpet, violoncello, percussion and piano

“What is for the eye must not duplicate what is for the ear”. Robert Bresson

This work takes gestures which are ”around music” (counting, waiting, failing, tuning, repeating, solmization) as the musical material for a new piece.

This new piece composed with “gestures” is related to some cinematographic ideas of montage: repeated scenes, flashbacks, copy and paste techniques and a personal syntaxes between the relationship image-sound in a chamber music situation.

Canciones / Songs (1999) for soprano, baritone, flute, trombone and percussion

"Canciones" is based on the idea of singing instead of song, melos instead of melody. Even though the act of singing is constant in the piece, the songs themselves never happen to be defined: singers and wind instruments sing without a song.

The melodies in this context are invisible threads that flow like the reminiscence of a song. I’ve  composed the memory of something that never existed.

Casi cerca / Almost close (2003)  for voice, trumpet, violin, cello, piano, percussion and wine glasses (or DX7)

This piece is based on the idea of suggestion rather than revelation. The music operates in the outer limits of perception; events are sensed rather than clearly perceived, contour prevails over detail, the respiration of  music is whispered. The narrow dynamic range, the restricted instrumental timbre and the blurred effect of the rhythmical combinations aim at creating music that is slightly ‘out of focus’. Melodies are masked,  melos being more important than the melody itself. “Casi cerca” (almost close) is related to something possible to perceive but impossible to touch. The word ‘casi’ (almost) is the thin dividing line that keeps these two dimensions of distance and closeness apart.

Cuarteto / Quartet (1996)  for SATB

In this piece human voice is treated in a textural and theatrical way in contrast with  a strong and mathematical structure. This dialectic relationship between the sensuality of the sound -as senses and also as sexual condition- and the logic of the structure was inspired by the Sederunt Principes by Perotin, where dialogue between structure and content situates music in a further middle point.

El libro de los gestos / The book of gestures - (2007 revised 2008)

There are four musicians in a room playing music. Each one has a lamp. Besides the music, the performers “play” the lights on and off during the piece creating different scenes. The space of the stage is always changing  because of the lights. This music suggests a counterpoint of different layers: the rhythm of the music, the rhythm of the lights, the rhythm of the room… There are spaces to be seen, spaces to be heard, spaces to be imagined. Some music is played in the light, but also there is other music coming from the dark in a room full of presences.

La madre del río / the mother of the river  (1997 - rev. 1999) for percussion quartet

In “La madre del río” the percussion set takes its character from the sound of rubbed crystal glasses: long sustained sounds without attack. This is (an) anti-percussive music, where the musical instruments are materials to be rubbed, bowed, or touched rather than struck. I find this work rather far away from what I am doing now, but the exploration of the percussion set on a certain manner determined  a way of looking at the sound source in a new way. The uses of the percussion set were quickly translated into the world of sound objects and instruments in general.

La arquitectura del aire / The architecture of air (2009) for organ and 2 percussionists comissioned by Orgelpark

At the beginning I thought that the piece was about “air” and the "space between things", space conformed by the emptiness that is shaping the contour of things from the outside…  

Perhaps because the two percussionists and the organ conform a triangle spread on the hall;

or because the organ has a motor and pipes and the vibraphone has a motor and pipes, but may be also because the musicians plays ventilators, a melodica and old radios and they "manipulate air" in different states and frequencies; or because the performers communicate with each other with strings tied to tins, in the manner of low-tech telephones -when I was a child I used to build this kind of telephones with my sisters…

easy reasons... 

Therefore I realized the music was about “in betweens”. It is music made of air and threads -basically made of nothing- where the musicians tie sounds with strings and send each other signals with the instruments, the motors and the voice. Something solid made of air...

Maybe I say that because it is the way I feel, very strong and very fragile altogether, the stronger, the more fragile.

The true is that I don’t know how to explain my music (or any music), but like a good Argentinean, I love to talk about

Gespleten piano / Split piano (2010) mini piano theater for piano, tapes, three lights and an optional mirror

When I was a child my father had built a door in the yard of my apartment with the lid of an old washing machine. Once through it, the little door led to a parallel yard –which in fact was the same one. In appearance the yard was alike, but if one paid attention, the same things started behaving in a strange, rather magical way. The drawing of the tiles had the power to hypnotize you, and the insects from the plants could read your mind. Not to mention the effect if my mother showed up with a snack… she terrified me because I thought she was a “double”. I only could stay for a few seconds in that parallel world and then, running and scared to death, went through the little door back to the “authentic yard” to have a snack with my real mum. While I was composing Gespleten piano, I remembered this story from my childhood because in this piece there are real objects and their duplicates. A mirror duplicates the visual space, the cassette players emulate the aural space. There are also extra-musical “twin” objects.  I like to think that in the game of the piece it is not clear which is the original and which is the copy.

Lately I like to explain my music through anecdotes because they are as confusing as the program notes but they are more easy-going.

Zand / Sand (2004) for viola, trombone, contrabass flute

The inspiration for this piece came from the observation of a photograph of “von Karman Vortex Street” where, under certain circumstances, a complex spiral drawing turns into  a fluid stream.

The idea of this twisted pattern changing in time, both in length and in its internal speed, could be translated into musical terms under different perspectives. From this physic phenomenon , I took the idea of this always-expanding movement in a three-dimensional space (the air) and the complex spiral pattern structure.

Physics, like music, consists  of rules but mainly exceptions. It is in between these ideal conditions and real possibilities where questions arise.