String quartet n°3 (2016). New Ensemble Xenia Turin
Violins: Adrian Pinzaru, Eilis Cranitch; Viola: Mizuho Ueyama; Cello: Claudio Pasceri
The work was commissioned by Museum Ettore Fico and Estovest Festival (Turin, Italy). It was recorded by NEXT - New Ensemble Xenia Turin and broadcast through the Museum Ettore Fico (October 2016 - January 2017) in dialogue with the exhibition "Seconda chance" (E. Tibaldi).
In this context, the piece was designed for a cyclic diffusion (every cycle lasts 24 minutes) and conceived to interact with the space, the audience and the visitor’s path. The work is also conceived as a concert work and designed for a live performance.
The piece develops the musical idea of "Souffle" - French word referring to air, breath, movement, inspiration, spirit... Through souffle, the work aims to introduce a reflection on infinity and nothingness.
The work has 6 movements.
Movement I springs from the cycle of respiration. The human and "instrumentally" recreated/modified breath imperceptibly merge to create a "hybrid" form of instrumental-human respiration mixing bow sounds and voices, and using the instruments’ bodies as resonators and filters of breath. The first (just suggested) notes fall progressively into the breathing cycle again and introduce the following movement.
Movement II (4:23) symbolizes the path from the silence/sign preceding the attack to the very first gestures and vibrations of the strings. Soft "air" textures mixing various forms of "brushing" (of the strings, of the instrument's body, using bow hair, wood) are progressively "invaded" by dynamic gestures (“jettati, batuto") to create a global crescendo towards the sound - from silence/air to attack, vibration, and harmonics.
Movement III (7:04) has a melodic essence. The writing becomes almost orchestral. The violins and cello create an “echo/shadow” of the viola’s expressive melodic lines, using specific techniques (very soft pressure, bow near the finger, use of the bridge and the body, etc.). Asiatic influences progressively emerge (e.g. Koto-like sound - Viola played with fingernails), until the micro-tonal exploration and repetition of a specific interval (end of the movement) using loops and guided-improvisation.
Movement IV (12:20) develops in two sections. The first section explores the gestural and “physical” use of air. The performers "physically" stimulate the instruments’ resonance using voice. This process allows to work on vibration (of the strings) and filtration/amplification (using the instrument's bodies as resonators). Combined with other techniques (central section), it creates complex textures - physical/acoustic mixes of air, sound and resonance. The second section develops "Interludes" purely based on harmonics (pure frequencies - also containing air - obtained by playing the string without finger pressure) and progressively builds an imaginary "Ronde” (children’s song based on repetition and tempo variations). The use of the bow in front and behind the fingers (and near/behind the nut) allows to create different timbre variations, some of them characterized by their fragility. These specific sound qualities are used as a base for development.
Movement V (16.45) starts from the "Ronde" to build an expressive recitativo - also purely based on harmonics (natural as well as multiphonics). Using this technique, each instrument “speaks” one after the other. The harmonics progressively merge to create crystalline “sound waves”, conceptualized as an ever-changing form of vibration and symbolizing the first path towards the extinction of the sound.
Movement VI (20.00) develops the sound waves using guided-improvisation and desynchronisation between the instruments to generate rich hybrid textures. The resonance/waves progressively vanish and merge with air, respiration - the last step of an endless cycle in which the end is also a new beginning.
Score available at https://www.babelscores.com/MartinLoridan
- String Quartet