Live recording from the premiere. July 31, 2014. Wellesley Composers Conference. Jim Baker, conductor.


Live performance of the 1st movement. University of Iowa. February 25, 2017

Recording of the complete work (1st mov: 0'00 / 2nd mov: 3'32'')


 May 20, 2016. Logan Center Performance Hall at the University of Chicago.


 

Tres Decals (2014) for octet

Tres Decals 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.

 

After L'Addio / Felt (2014) for solo harp

After L'Addio/Felt 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 an interview on Ben's blog.  

 

On Love  (2016) for two narrators, soprano and ensemble (Dissertation)

(for an excerpt skip ahead to minute 3'30'' and watch until the end of the 2nd mov at 10'26''. In the score this corresponds to m. 54 through m. 150. The narrators enter at 6'15'') On Love 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 and a list of performing personnel. 

 

 

Nokia Etudes (2014-ongoing) for prepared piano

(for an excerpt skip ahead to 4'35'' and listen until the end of the video) The Nokia Etudes is my ongoing series of semi-improvised studies for prepared piano. The piano preparation involves cell-phone motors that are set in motion by an Arduino-based device and controlled with Max-MSP. A few of this motors are inserted between the double strings of the piano to activate the lower drone (click here to see a video of the device not mounted on a piano). This device evolves constantly, as I adapt it for specific projects. It is currently been rearranged to be used in Proa a piece that also features four dancers and harp (click here for a blog on that work).

This video, I took when I was working on the third instantiation of these etudes.  All the sounds in it are acoustic. No playback or digital processing is employed. Listening with a good set of speakers or headphones is recommended (otherwise the low drone can get lost).

 

In the Sight (a dream of the 9th) (2013) for orchestra

In the Sight is a footnote, an accessory, to Beethoven’s 9th symphony. The opening three notes of the Ode to Joy provide the pitch material of a texture that shifts progressively from pontillistic to homophonic, from kaleidoscopically dynamic to suspended and pensive. The image at work here is of Beethoven falling asleep while composing the 9th, and dreaming: fragments and shards of his Ode to Joy appear (one could say) half-digested in playful counterpoint, with legato melodies of lush highness juxtaposed with clunky clusters juxtaposed with feverishly virtuosic solos. In the Sight slows down as it goes, suggesting a curve of increased melancholy. It thus mimics the bittersweet emotional state of waking up from a dream so involved you need a few minutes to figure out that a dream was all that was.

Reading session at the University of Chicago. Cliff Colnot, conductor


Bonus Tracks

Enfants de mon Silence (2009) for mezzo soprano and octet

(Voice enters at 1'50'') Sequitur. Paul Hostetter, cond. Live Performance at Setnor Auditorium. March 9, 2009.

Canción en Duermevela (2016) for guitar quartet

Ensamble Nuntempe. Live recording. CETC of the Teatro Colón de Buenos Aires. June 18, 2016. (Mov. I: 0' Mov. II: 2'45'' Mov. III: 4'50'' Mov. IV: 6' 40'')