Llum (Light) (2013-2016)

I. Tanca els ulls (Close Your Eyes)
II. Camina endins (Walk Inside)
III. Baixa al cim de l'ànima (Descent to the Summit of the Soul)
IV. Pedra nua (Naked Stone)
V. Pau al Cor (The Peaceful Heart)
VI. Engrunes de llum (Luminous Crumbs)
VII. Al.leluia (Alleluia)

Text by Vicenç Santamaria
A cappella choir
47 minutes

Programme note
Llum (Light) is an invitation to take a journey inward, to travel to the immense space which is, precisely, what makes us human, to that silent place which exists within us, to the deep wellspring that is the birthplace of everything, to the bright sapling of Peace; to the infinite, which announces the Mystery; to the gift of Life, Peace and Love.

The texts which accompany each of the seven stages of this inner pilgrimage were written by my friend Vicenç Santamaria, a monk from the monastery of Monserrat. The words have been set to music for a variety of choral formations -mixed choir, female voice choir, double choir-, and for different soloists. All the pieces are composed to be sung a cappella, and in Luminous Crumbs crotales and bar chimes have been added.

Tanca els ulls (Close Your Eyes) is a lullaby which invites us to set out, confident and grateful, on an inner journey. The serene melody, sung by the solo soprano, builds from a single note and interacts with the progressive changes in the harmonic fields of the choir -a variant of klangfarbenmelodie- while expressing the different moods and reactions experienced along the path of withdrawal and introspection.

Camina endins (Walk Inside) is a mystic passacaglia based on the succession of a sequence of five chords. These develop at the same time as the fundamental bass moves into the lower register of the voice. The transitions between harmonies provide an allegory for the process experienced by the one who walks, of transformations of inner landscapes. The soloist’s quiet, withdrawn beginning, suggesting serenity, expands until it reaches the height of tenderness. Finally, the overtone singing weaves an enveloping cushion of sound which evokes an aspect inherent to the process of walking within: confidence.

Baixa al cim de l'Ànima (Descent to the Summit of the Soul) reflects the calm and placid state of mind of the first verses of the poem. There is no lineal argument -as the verse says, ‘without anxiety and avid for nothing’- and the piece is articulated in five brief sections that are both circular and cyclical, based on the harmonic interval of the minor second. With a delicate pianissimo dynamic, and with two singers located behind the stage -alto lontano- who interact with the choir to provide a quality of distant profundity, the piece evokes the intimate and silent place of the soul’s summit.

Pedra nua (Naked Stone) is a contrapuntal work comprising a retrograde canon in the female voices and a canon on the octave which functions as a drone in the male voices. The austerity of the technique of invertible counterpoint generates, with very few notes, great complexity of intervallic relationships. I have used this technique in order to create a sparse music -'in the face of the coldness of naked stone'- which, at the same time, is nevertheless worked in such a way as to make reference to the complexity of Life that has its origin, as the second verse says, in ‘the great silence’.

The detailed and delicate creations by Vicenç Santamaria in his work Engrunes de Llum (Luminous Crumbs) led me to compose music for the verses which accompany its different parts. The depth of silence communicated by each scene is translated musically into a series of ten stable chords -motionless below, deep in tone, but full of life and movement on the surface- sung by the main choir. These contrast with the crumbs evoked by the ringing notes of the soloists, reinforced by the resonant crotales struck by the singers themselves.  As the piece progresses, the register of the lower voices increases in consistency and profundity until the end where the entire vocal field -from basses to sopranos- resonates fully, invoking the final line: Embrace, with all your being, the Mystery inside you, in everything and everywhere.

The text of Al·leluia (Alleluia), together with the experience of hearing a number of anonymous, eighteenth-century Orthodox plainchants, provided the necessary inspiration for the composition of music that is calm and peaceful, radiating serene joy. The inclusion of long pauses between phrases and the endless repetition of four chords in the tenor and bass parts encourages us to listen deeply and to respond with joy to the gifts of music and of Life.

Those to whom I have dedicated the different movements of this work are people who have coincided with me along my path and who, in one way or another, irradiate Light: my first yoga teacher, Mabel Pérez, my friend Emili and his lovely family -Patrícia, Celina, Míriam and Estel-, my friend Natàlia, my friend -composer extraordinaire- Bernat Vivancos, my godparents Ramon and Montserrat, and my friend Muntsa, all of them much loved individuals.

Ramon Humet. Vilanova d’Escornalbou, 23 April 2016
Translation: Rebecca Simpson




Més informació

Tanca els ulls (Close Your Eyes) (2016)

Text by Vicenç Santamaria
Choir of female voices (SSAA) a cappella
6 minutes

Premiere
16 December 2016
Auditori Josep Carreras. Vila-seca, Spain
Scherzo Choir. Conductor: Jordi Casas


Programme note

Tanca els ulls (Close Your Eyes) is a lullaby which invites us to set out, confident and grateful, on an inner journey. The serene melody, sung by the solo soprano, builds from a single note and interacts with the progressive changes in the harmonic fields of the choir - a variant of klangfarbenmelodie - while expressing the different moods and reactions experienced along the path of withdrawal and introspection.

Text

Serenament tanca els ulls,
desclou la mirada interior.
Feliç i sol·lícit davalla
al cim de la claror increada.

Sense presses ni propòsits
abismat al fons sense fons.
Allà, dòcil al sant badar,
aquieta't sense neguit.

Amb gratuitat i agraïment
viu el gaudi del Silenci,
la plenitud de la Comunió.

Deixa't pacificar per la Pau!
Deixa't amarar per Déu!
Deixa que Déu lluï dintre teu!

Vicenç Santamaria. Ermita de la Santa Creu. 17 January 2016



Més informació

Baixa al cim de l'Ànima (Descent to the Summit of the Soul) (2014)

Female voice choir (SSAA) a cappella
6 minutes

Premiere
16 December 2016
Auditori Josep Carreras. Vila-seca, Spain
Cor Scherzo. Director: Jordi Casas


Programme note
Baixa al cim de l’Ànima (Descent to the Summit of the Soul) reflects the calm and placid state of mind of the first verses of the poem. There is no lineal argument - as the verse says, ‘without anxiety and avid for nothing’ - and the piece is articulated in five brief sections that are both circular and cyclical, based on the harmonic interval of the minor second. With a delicate pianissimo dynamic, and with two singers located behind the stage - alto lontano - who interact with the choir to provide a quality of distant profundity, the piece evokes the intimate and silent place of the Soul’s summit.

Text
Descent to the Summit of the Soul
Come down, gently,
to the summit of the soul,
rest there at ease,
free from anxiety
avid for nothing.

An intimate place, serene,
a silent peak,
where Light and Peace
spring forth everywhere.

Inside and out,
clear spring,
burning gift,
Love for Love.

At the deepest summit
the jet intensifies,
bountiful
in everything, in everyone.

Everything journeys toward the All.

Vicenç Santamaria. El Miracle, 26th May 2013
Translation: Rebecca Simpson




Més informació

Pau al Cor (The Peaceful Heart) (2013)

Solo soprano and mixed choir (SSAATTBB) a cappella
9 minutes

Premiere
26 December 2013 (short version)
Palau de la Música Catalana. Barcelona, Spain
Orfeò Català and Cor de Cambra del Palau. Conductor: Josep Vila i Casañas
24 July 2014 (full version)
Festival de Música Antiga dels Pirineus - FEMAP. Castellciutat, Spain
Latvian Radio Choir. Conductor: Sigvards Klava


Programme note
Pau al Cor (The Peaceful Heart) is divided into two parts: the first section is based on the poem Plenitude, where the choir is treated with full, resonant vertical arrangements. A solo soprano performs a number of elements that provide a contrast to the density of the choral texture. In the second section the choir passes into the background and the voice of a solo soprano emerges, bringing with the verses of The Peaceful Heart a message of hope and belief in humanity.
Ramon Humet. Santuari del Miracle. 8th September 2013


Text
The Heart opens itself to the infinite.
The Heart loves in abundance.

Silence, gateway to the World.
Silence, gateway that receives the World.

Now, nothing excludes anything.
Now, the All includes everything.

Time and Space embrace each other.
Body and Heart embrace.
Reason and Spirit embrace.

Peace is Life’s seed.
Each person’s living enlivens it;
Longing for it roots it.        
Its shore, our being.
Vicenç Santamaria. Hermitage of the Holy Cross. 23 April 2013

Translation: Rebecca Simpson




Més informació

Cant d'amor a la vida (Love of life song) (2012)

Text by Rebecca Simpson
Mixed choir and orchestra (2.2.2.2.-2.2.2.1.-2 perc.- harp.-8.8.6.6.4.)
6 minutes

Premiere
3 June 2014
Palau de la Música Catalana. Barcelona, Spain
Cor de Cambra del Palau. Orquesta Sinfónica de Navarra

Publisher
Tritó Edicions



Més informació

El conte de l'àvia (2012)

Text by Georg Büchner
Mixed choir, harp and string orchestra
7 minutes

Premiere
20 March 2014
Palau de la Música Catalana. Barcelona, Spain
Cor Jove de l'Orfeó Català. Orquestra Nacional de Cambra d'Andorra. Gerard Claret, conductor

Publisher
Tritó Edicions



Més informació

Tres ofertoris (Three Offertories) (2012)

I. De profundis
II. Deus, Deus meus
III. Dextera Domini

Mixed choir (SATB) a cappella
10 minutes

Premiere
29 September 2012
Philharmonic Hall. Bydgoszcz, Poland
Escolania de Montserrat. Bernat Vivancos, conductor




Més informació

Homenaje a Martha Graham (2006-2011)

Text by Mario Lucarda
Soprano and piano
40 minutes

Recording
CD Neu Records NEU008. 2CD + Book + 3D Sound Installation
Claron McFadden, soprano. Alberto Rosado, piano

Premiere
El suelo and No aferrarse nunca a nada
16 October 2017
Marisa Martins, mezzo. Rodrigo de Vera, piano
Off Liceu. Gran Teatre del Liceu. Barcelona, Spain


Publisher
Tritó Edicions


Més informació

Salve montserratina (2010-2011)

Children’s choir (SSAA) and organ
7 minutes

Premiere
6 March 2011
Escolania de Montserrat. Bernat Vivancos, conductor
Basílica de Montserrat




Més informació