Ramon Humet’s most relevant works for chamber music has been recorded by the London Sinfonietta on a CD released by Neu Records. Josep Maria Guix looks closer at Humet’s music.

Like a Japanese garden, the music of Ramon Humet is beautiful, refined, transparent, and often playful. It is so, both in intention and in the measured use of the means employed, –I cannot but relate his music to Joan Miró’s series Constellations. His work is capable of conveying the happy fascination of a child making a new discovery: music of magical smiles built on a foundation of solid technique. Music that flows naturally, –a feat in itself!– that seems to disguise the hours of experimentation and careful thought that went into its composition.

Humet had long been captivated by shakuhachi, to the extent of taking regular classes in order to play it himself. This knowledge from the inside has allowed him to integrate aspects of the ancient flute into his music: its tonal inflections, the presence of air as an essential part of musical discourse, the meditative nature of the music.

His sensitivity towards Asian culture has germinated in very fertile ground, planted long before. Ramon Humet’s restless personality has been forged in various fields: musical, literary, technological, and that of life itself. The study of the piano, at first, and, later, of composition, provided the essential theoretical and practical basis for the development of professional skills –a “necessary” condition, as he says, but “insufficient in itself to create interesting music”. His knowledge of engineering, meanwhile, has made it simpler to apply technology to performance and composition.

But the real turning point was meeting Jonathan Harvey. From that meeting, new creative horizons opened up, above all the influence of spectralism, –mostly in practical terms, of research and treatment of materials, rather than in a dogmatic sense. From here arose the passion for all those composers –George Benjamin, György Ligeti, Toru Takemitsu, Per Norgard– who are so careful with harmony, subtle in their modulation of orchestral colour, true to the desire to innovate without destroying the link with tradition. This last aspect is crucial for those who approach the legacy of the Masters “with great respect and admiration”. Talking with Ramon Humet means sharing the delight he takes in art, the poetry of Basho or Pessoa, or the polyphonic music of the Renaissance. He has never ceased to transmit an enviable enthusiasm for everything he does.

Residing in a small village of the Baix Camp area, at the foot of a rocky hill, the author has left behind the constant tumult of the big city of his birth, valiantly rejecting everything that is not essential to be able to compose. Always aware of recent developments, of significant changes, –his isolation has nothing to do with an apocalyptic attitude, and he is perfectly integrated into today’s culture–, the composer sits at his table, a cup of green tea in his hand, and goes back to his music, -humbly, rigorously, and with love -, picking up from the point where he left it the day before.

Josep Maria Guix