After L'Addio / Felt (2014) is a two movement piece composed in collaboration with harpist Ben Melsky. The premiere of this work took place in a recital in which a performance of Sciarrino's Addio a Trachis preceded. After... features varying levels of referentiality and filiation with Addio, from literal quoting to variation, to more esoteric and personal connections. Generally speaking, After is a frantic and highly tactile piece in which different levels of friction between hands and strings become syntactically relevant. Felt appears as the textural opposite of After in that the contact between performer and instrument is reduced considerably: the right hand plays with a felt pick for the entirety of the movement and the left hand features, for the most part, harmonics. Click here for more information and a recording of the complete work.
Tres Decals (2014) consists of an ascending melody over which layers of ornamentation take place. Both the melody and the ornamentation respond to a series of permutational strategies that remain mostly untransformed over the span of the work. Despite the fact that the piece came to be as the layering of rather detached technical moves, my associations as I write this program note point towards the autobiographical: as I finished the piece, I was two weeks away from becoming a father for the first time, my former office literally turned into a nursery decorated with…decals. As a consequence, I tend to map many features of Tres Decals with tropes of infancy: the plain melody with the lullaby, the superimposition of pulses with the music-box, and the pervasive bits of major scales with the pitch material of, for instance, crib mobiles. In other words, Tres Decals is built with what, I imagine, are the sonic "day’s residues” in the dream of an infant.
Canción en Duermevela (2016) can be best described as a sound landscape for four guitars. At its basis lies an extended melody (cantus firmus), divided in four shorter sections. Each note of this cantus is consistently harmonized in three-note chromatic clusters, distributed pointillistically among the four guitars, and adorned by an asssorment of sounds that are somewhat rare in the traditional repertory of guitar music. “Landscape” and “slumber” are tropes that in contemporary (and not so contemporary) music suggest floating and suspended textures, that appeal to an immersive listening attitude. Canción en Duermevela matches this characterization and incorporates also the unpredictable logic of dreamlike states to juxtapose, in short time spans, motivic materials that might appear disjointed.
Enfants de mon Silence (2009) is a setting of Les Pas, a poem by Paul Valery. As I begun setting the text, I noticed an immediate resemblance in tone to Debussy’s Des pas sur la neige. I decided to take the Debussy prelude as a point of departure for the composition of the music. Although direct quotation does not happen much in Enfants..., its array of musical materials is completely derived from Des Pas....
String Quartet (2012) derives from Robert Schumann’s Der Dichter spricht. Despite its brevity, the closing number of the Kinderszenen displays in quite sophisticated fashion many of my core compositional concerns at the time: continuity of form, processual treatment of harmonic color, and careful unraveling of thematic information. In String Quartet, the original work by Schumann progressively emerges out of music composed by me, to appear stated almost in full towards the end. String Quartet is dedicated to Gerardo Gandini, my first mentor in Buenos Aires. Schumann's music was a recurrent "found object" in his composing.
On Love (2016) is a peculiar take on the radio soap-opera genre. It is in three movements and features two distinct superimposed layers: music and text. The music layer, performed by the instruments and the soprano, constitutes an idiosyncratic re-imagination of William Byrd’s masses. The second layer (that remains "tacet" until the beginning of the second movement) is performed by the actors and could be described as "speech-music". The material employed to compose this second layer is every sentence in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet that features the word “love” plus fragments of two soliloquies: Juliet's in the balcony (act 2, scene 2) and Romeo's at the grave (act 5, scene 3). Click here for more information, a list of performing personnel, and a video of the complete work
Proa (2017) is the cornerstone of a larger exchange between Delfos Danza and Ensemble Dal Niente and their respective home cities of Mazatlán and Chicago. Choreography and music revolve around ideas of voyage and displacement, incorporating related imagery such as water, circle, and mirror. The prepared piano mirrors the harp. Its preparation involves a device –built out of cell phone motors– that activates the strings of the piano to produce sounds uncharacteristic of the instrument. All these sounds are performed “live”. Dance and music portray different yet complementary realities. The choreography employs both emotionally and politically charged symbols. The music, on the other hand, is cold, distant and somewhat indifferent. The sound surrounds the dancers immersing them in a multilayered texture while the movement of the dancers lends the music a rhythmic frenzy it does not possess on its own. Click here for more information on the project.
Sextet II (Apostillas a Mil Panaderos) (2013) actually began life as a solo violin piece, Mil Panaderos. In the process of transcription into the new instrumental forces, the work underwent a substantial change in character: what in the original was virtuosity and bravura became, in the sextet version, intimacy and introspection. While this new version negates the extroverted nature of its predecessor, it maintains certain features of the form i.e. pacing and the chronological distribution of the materials.
The Nokia Etudes are a series of loosely scripted works for prepared piano. The drone in the lower strings is set in motion by an Arduino-based device and controlled with Max-MSP. All the sounds in this piece are acoustic. No playback or digital processing is employed. Listening with a good set of headphones is recommended. In the third installment of this series, I perform on different areas of the piano while an automated drone slowly evolves through time.
Mil Panaderos (2013) is a study for solo violin exploring fairly limited amounts of musical material in a rather systematic way. Some of its motifs find origin in common “bravura” techniques of traditional virtuoso playing (rapid scalar passages, fast arpeggios, explosive jétés…). These are then filtered through not-so-traditional performing techniques (i.e. varied left hand pressure) and arranged according to a combinatorial formal layout. The music then wanders switching constantly between gestures, never fully unleashing its virtuosic temperament and ends, quite foreseeably, on a question mark.