Le Jeu du Roi Qui Jamais ne Ment

Chamber & choral works

Froia Arme (Lord Have Mercy

Le Jeu du Roi Qui Jamais ne Ment (2006)
3 tenor recorders, 1 bass recorder

Live performance. Commissioned and premiered by Quadriventus – Uberlândia – Casa da Cultura, June, 09th – 2011 (Sesc Instrumental Project)

Duration: 11’

Masquerades were dances of the Kings and of the Court in centuries XV, XVI and XVII. Despite of being a form of entertainment of the royalty, the Masquerades also brought the game of lying and disguise because the wearing of the mask. There was a game of seduction and risk, of talking with masked people, trying to discover their true personality and intentions. It comes to my mind the famous phrase of Oscar Wilde: “Give a man a mask and he will tell you the truth”.

Le Jeu du Roi Who Never Ne Ment (The Game of the King Who Always Lied) is a children’s game practiced in Europe since the Middle Ages. It is a game of divination, in a certain way practiced also among the children, where the proposer is asked a question, which, in answering, can speak the truth or a lie. It will be up to the participants to realize it!

During the Middle Age, wealthy people used to own a mechanical and portable organ, some automatically operated, other operated manually through a hand crank. These artifacts would play short popular songs. These orgue de barbarie (in French), barrel organ (in English) or realejo (in Portuguese) made the joy of adults and children and performed the same function that cd / mp3 / ipod players play today.

“Le Jeu du Roi Qui Jamais Ne Ment” seeks to portray these elements. The aspect of the lie, of the false baroque and vivaldianisms behind the sonority of the recorder’s ensemble. Everything is a great staging. I get the image of a liar, lonely king in his chamber listening to small songs in his portable organ, while in the hall a masked ball is taking place. There is a game of suspicion and falsehood in the air. The recorder quartet should sound like this portable organ, this barrel organ: naive, awkward, almost childish…
In short, “Le Jeu du Roi qui Jamais ne Ment” is a great farce, which burlesquely seeks to portray old memories, moods and social situations where no one truly exposes him/herself. Besides, the work functions itself as an exercise of style…

1st masquerade: tripartite form [A-B-A]: as Entry (entrée) brings a memory of the canzones of sounding of William Blade, or even of the bransles and danses basses of Claude Gervaise …

2nd masquerade: tripartite form [A-B-A] – brings to mind, in part A, the theme of da caccia [tenor 1, bars 2 and 3]. Part B, contrasting is also a vivaldian allusion to the theme of the da caccia sonata. Simple harmonic degrees [I, IV, V, I], melody in parallel thirds, and basso d’Albert …

3rd masquerade: an almost giga-shaped rondeau. Composed of a simple ostinato and a simple melodic line, in the manner of a small two voices invention.

4th masquerade: the main theme is a quotation: terribilis sicut est, taken from the Gregorian liturgy and used by Guillaume de Machaut in several of his compositions. I adopt in this masquerade, the medieval compositional technique of ars subtlior. The theme is presented in organum of fifths. In the sequence, the theme is retrograded textually. Every two measures, there is a succession of inversions of the main theme (inversion of inversion; Retrograde inversion of inversion etc.]. The sixteenth-note pattern that passes through all the voices is a rhythmic variant of the main theme, one third below.

5th masquerade: tripartite form [A-B-A]. Like the first masquerade, it alludes to the memory of the ballettos in Michael Praetorius style.

6th masquerade: it is a ‘broken’ slow waltz, sounding in a ‘drunk’ way, as coming from an out of tune barrel organ.

7th masquerade: it is a presto based on a motif of a violin concerto by Vivaldi. The development of the material is done tautologically by repetitions, cutouts and collages of the main motif.

For score requests and other informations, please contact the composer.

Gesang of a ((melo) melodramatically) perduto amour

Chamber & choral works

Gesang of a ((melo) melodramatically) perduto amour

Gesang of a ([melo] melodramatically) perduto amour, d’après Giovanni Papini (a.k.a a great soundtrack for a humdrum movie) (2012)

Premiered by Duo Cardassis at Federal University of Espirito Santo, April, 2015

Duration: 5’12’’

Duo CardAssiS is a Contemporary music duo for piano four-hands formed by Brazilian pianists Ana Claudia de Assis and Luciane Cardassi. Individually, Ana Claudia and Luciane are avid supporters of contemporary classical music, with long histories of collaborations with composers and the commissioning of new works for piano by Brazilian and international composers.

Building upon their depth of experience, they created Duo CardAssiS in 2014, with the goal of expanding the contemporary repertoire for piano four-hands, particularly with works involving extended techniques, voice, electronics and video.

“Gesang of a ([melo] dramatically) perduto amour, d’après Giovanni Papini (a.k.a a great soundtrack for a humdrum movie)” is inspired by “Gesang of a perduto amour” by Giovanni Papini (1881-1956) – Italian journalist, essayist, literary critic, poet, and novelist poetry:

Beloved carinho, mein Weltschmerz
Égorge mon âme en estas soledades.
My tired heart, Raju presvétlyj
Muore di gioia, tel un demon au ciel.
Lieber Himmel. Castillo de los Dioses,
Quaris quot durerà this fun desespéré?
Λαμπάδα Θείζ, drévo zizni…

Scored for Piano 4 hands, the composition is deliberately melodramatic. The repetitive melodic motif is presented sometimes in a very calm manner, other tempestively against a polyrhythmic and very unstable background and very simple harmonies.

For score requests and other informations, please contact the composer.

Froia Arme (Lord Have Mercy)

Chamber & choral works

Froia Arme (Lord Have Mercy

Froia Arme (Lord Have Mercy) (2014)
Cello (or Viola) Octet and instrumentalists’ voice

Premiered by UDI Cello Ensemble under the direction of Kayami Satomi – Centro Cultural da Justiça Federal – Rio de Janeiro, November – 2014

Duration: 9’

This piece for Cello Octet was commissioned for “Composers of Today International Festival” by UDI Cello Ensemble from Federal University of Uberlândia, MG and dedicated to Kayami Satomi. “Froia arme” means “Lord have mercy” and is the only phrase in Vandalic language to survive. The composition is divided into 3 short movements. The 2nd movement asks for cellists’ voices. They sing “Lord have mercy” in Russian, Greek, Arabian, Hebrew, Latin and Portuguese.

This composition makes use of some extended techniques like bow pressure turning pitch into noise, as well sub harmonics effects and microtones. The overall feeling is a sort of psychedelic baroque seen through a crackled glass.

For score requests and other informations, please contact the composer.

Dragons, Flies, Dragonflies, Drakkars and the Walls of Jericho

Chamber & choral works

Dragons, Flies, Dragonflies, Drakkars and the Walls of Jericho

Dragons, Flies, Dragonflies, Drakkars and the Walls of Jericho (2014)
Piccolo, duduk, erhu, guzheng, pipa, harp, doublebass, percussion (vibraphone, bass drum, hand gong)

Duration: 12’

The recording presented here is a runthrough performance during the session reading at Atlas Academy, August, 2014.

“Dragons, Flies, Dragonflies, Drakkars and the Walls of Jericho” was written for the fifth edition of Atlas Academy (August, 2014) at Conservatorium van Amsterdam, Netherlands.  The Atlas Academy is a laboratory for the creation of innovative intercultural music, which, in partnership with Atlas Ensemble, created the project “Imagine Utopia”, that aggregates composers and top-soloists of traditional instruments of diverse cultures, amongst others, the duduk (Armenia), the kamancha (Azerbaijan), the pipa (China) and the sho (Japan), engaged in a sonic dialogue for two weeks in Amsterdam. “Dragons, Flies, Dragonflies, Drakkars and the Walls of Jericho” was awarded an Honorable Mention at Atlas Academy.

Specially composed for the 2014 Atlas Ensemble Competition – Amsterdam, and awarded with an Honorable Mention by an international jury, this piece was performed during the IMAGINE UTOPIA Academy. The competition made demands on the choice of instrumentation, aiming to strike a balance between Western instruments and Eastern instruments. My choice considered three groups: winds, strings (plucked and bowed) and percussion. For the Western part, the choice was based on the Piccolo Flute, the Double Bass, the Harp and the Percussion (comprised of a Vibraphone, a Bass Drum and a six-inch Hand Gong); for the Eastern part, the choice was Duduk, Pipa, Erhu and Guzheng. The composition makes use of expanded techniques such as: microtonal intervals, arc pressure transforming the pitch into noise, percussion in the body of the instruments, use of superball mallet in Bumbo, special effects in the harp (tuning peg, pedal glissandos, pedal displacement , Fingernail usage, etc.) and pitch bend on the vibraphone. The following information is taken from the program note made by the composer:

“Dragons, Flies, Dragonflies, Drakkars and the Walls of Jericho”, deals with old symbols from old myths. In an attempt to merge Eastern and Western icons, I looked for symbols that were common in both cultures, as well as those that could imprint a special mark for each side. Thus, the choice of dragons, flies, dragonflies, drakkars – more than a mere play on words, falls on the first point – all are present in both the East and the West; The drakkar was chosen as the Western symbol, and the walls of Jericho as the Eastern symbol. The piece is based on the idea of ​​”transformation” being that the main compositional process used. It works like changing “the fear of the (un)known” to “new ways and possibilities”, since the materials are extremely simple, almost primitive and even scarce. Thus, the timbre, the affections and the oriental techniques of performance play a prominent role throughout the work.

In Dragons, Flies, Dragonflies, Drakkars & the Walls of Jericho, it overflows affects little explored by Western art, such as the grotesque, the bizarre, and the pathetic. There is a chaos that takes care of certain passages, and it goes back to an epic feeling that, in spite of the little sound projection presented by the instruments (that is to say, because it is a very small instrumental group) and of the non abundance of materials, exudes a grandeur that leaps to the ears of those who contemplate it – a complex of superiority that is not intimidated by the fragility of their bodies. Dragons have distinct personalities in Orient and Occident. In European mythology, the word ‘dragon’ derives from two separate Greek words, the first one meaning “a huge serpent or snake” and the second meaning “I see clearly”. Their ability of flying and breathe fire, poison or ice can be responsible for their attributes of being both creators and destroyers, but often malevolent. In Orient, dragons are associated with wisdom and longevity and tend to be benevolent. They also have the power of nature elements and can change their size, form and color as an ability to blend in with their surroundings as an effective form of camouflage. Dragonflies are very popular in Asian culture, mainly in China and Japan, but as well in Europe and America. They embody the pure essence and beautiful balance of changes in emotional and mental aspects and the effects on the body, mind and spirit. Speak of transformation, shed old illusions, release old perceptions and change habits. Also teach about the inevitability of change and the mastery of moving with speed, agility and precision with grace. Flies, since immemorial times, are associated with transformation. The ability of quick multiplication brought the flies a lot of meanings, from the association of possibility in seeing beauty in uncommon places, to the link with Ba‘al Zəbûb – understood to mean ‘lord of the flies’ or ‘lord of the (heavenly) dwelling’. Drakkar means ‘dragon ship’, the name coming from Swedish drakar (dragon). Nordic people, especially the Vikings built these ships and discovered new lands and set new colonies. The dragon’s head carved in the ship’s prow was believed to protect the crew against sea monsters and shipwrecks. It’s a grotesque yet beautiful image to transform in music. According to the Book of Kings (16:34) in Ahab’s time Hiel the Bethelite rebuilt Jericho. Laying the foundation cost him his firstborn son, Abiram. Setting up the city gates cost him his youngest son, Segub. The word ‘Jericho’ has different etymologies, meaning wind or breath and as such became a metaphor for spirit or mental dispositions; also fragrance and even moon (as time indicator, meaning to wander or journey, as the moon is the most ambulant body in the night sky). Since the name ‘Jericho’ also means fragrance, or, fragrant, I did a beautifully poetic association with the Bride (in the 5th section of the composition) and the place of her joining with her Bridegroom presented in the very passionate Song of Solomon.

The Atlas Ensemble is a unique chamber orchestra that unites brilliant musicians from China, Japan, Central Asia, the Middle East and Europe. The ensemble brings together instruments from various cultures which, whilst originating from the same ancestor, have travelled and developed over the course of centuries. Thus, a wide variety of instruments came into being. By combining these descendants and their timbres, beautiful and previously unheard blends are obtained. This concept embodies the essence of the Atlas Ensemble. The repertoire consists of newly written works.

For scores requests and other informations, please contact the composer.