The project «Interconexiones: New Quartets for Oboe and Strings» consists of commissions and premieres of five new quartets for oboe and strings. Two quartets are written by up-and-coming Spanish composers; Maricarmen Asenjo-Marrodán (born in 1978 in Seville and based in Córdoba) and Pilar Miralles (born in Almeria, Spain in 1997, based in Helsinki) and the remaining three works are written by composers; John Richard Durant (born in the UK in 1960, based in Seville), Luke Styles (born in Australia in 1982, based in London), Althea Talbot-Howard (born in Nigeria in 1966, grew up in Australia and based in London).
«Interconexiones: New Quartets for Oboe and Strings» was premiered by the Cuarteto Emispherio during the 2022-2023 ROSS Chamber Music cycle: XXXIII Ciclo de Música de Cámara on Sunday March 5, 2023 at the “Espacio Turina” concert hall. “Programación de la temporada 2022-2023”: https://rossevillatv.com
We are delighted that the USA premiere of «Interconexiones» will be performed by oboist Lindsay Flowers and her colleagues: Dawn Dongeun Wohn, violin, Katrin Talbot, viola, James Waldo, cello on Saturday April 29, 2023 at 19:30 in Collins Recital Hall, Hamel Music Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison Mead Witter School of Music.
Interconexiones: New Quartets for Oboe and Strings
Uncertain Paths for oboe quartet and electronics (2022) – Maricarmen Asenjo – Marrodán «Uncertain Paths is a work in progress for the Emispherio quartet. Organized in three movements, it also incorporates electronics. As in my last works, I conceive this one in many cases almost as a live simulation where the instrumental sounds are transformed from various procedures, from some simpler ones such as reverberation, spatialization or modulation to others somewhat more complex such as granular synthesis procedures. From a creative point of view, Uncertain Paths underlies a search process, the need to travel new paths, sheltered under the sole certainty that «one steps back securely but advances with hesitation”.
Mosaicos (2022) – John Richard Durant «Just as mosaics are patterns or images made of small regular or irregular pieces of coloured stone, glass or ceramic, so “Mosaicos” is similarly constructed from small fragments of musical ideas which develop into musical images. The quartet will consist of five short movements that are all connected but could also be performed separately as stand-alone miniatures. The musical idea in the composition came from the infinite variety of colour and shade that can be created when very small elements are juxtaposed to make a whole. In the same way in which pixels are used in today’s hi-tech world, so «Mosaicos» highlights the musical «pixel» ; the single idea or note that forms part of the greater whole. In turn, these short movements named after great European mosaics can be viewed separately, or as part of the greater family of mosaics that originated in Mesopotamia some 4,000 years ago».
Anti-Philosophy of the Subject – Mankind’s Origin Is in Its Fellows (2002) – Pilar Miralles «The «Anti-Philosophy of the Subject» was described by one of the characters featured in Agnès Varda’s 2000 documentary film «The Gleaners and I»: mankind’s origin is in its fellows. The human dignity is attained when the fellow neighbor is above the self, when the people is taken into consideration first, then whatever is left. During the piece, the public will hear part of a poem by Miguel Hernández (Vuelo [“Flight”] from Poemas últimos [“Last Poems”], 1939-1941) and will be invited to participate in direct contact with our fellowship dimension. The specific moment and form of these experiences will not be revealed until the time of the performance.»
Capturing Anthems (2022) – Luke Styles «This work captures fragments of anthems and folk songs transforming them into a rich musical fabric. Like losing something shiny in a deep pond, the fragments of music sometimes catch the light and entice you to keep looking for them, ever drawing the listener into the depths of the music but never allowing themselves to be unearthed or taken away».
Seville Cathedral – A Study in Memory, in Arch Form (2022), A Phantasy Quartet for Oboe and String Trio, with Aluphone Handbell – Althea Talbot-Howard «Seville Cathedral is the second work in a series of Studies in Memory – pieces about long-gone past experiences – and the third in a thematic set about iconic church buildings. It originates in a visit during an orchestral tour in the mid-1990s; and in my shared time studying in London with commissioning oboist Sarah Roper. I have clear, happy memories of this enormous building: of walking back down the long nave, away from the altarpiece to examine something; and of exiting through a side door into the courtyard outside. Unlike its related pieces Rievaulx & Hagia Sophia (based upon Gregorian & Orthodox chants, respectively), I decided not to utilise heritage chant in Seville Cathedral. Instead, I created cyphers of musical letters taken from the names of three composers closely associated with the cathedral’s early years: Cristobal de Morales (1500-1553), Francisco de Penalosa (1470-1528) & Francisco Guerrero (1528-1599). These cyphers are used melodically and harmonically to create sections of the piece. The composers form part of the musical memory of the building, bringing into remembrance the gradual emergence of common practice tonality from the raw material of the Mediaeval period. Drone fifths – still in use when the foundation stone was laid in 1401 – frequently recur in my piece – as do ostinato figures. The early-twentieth-century British Cobbett Prize promoted the ‘phantasy’ chamber music form, used by Britten in his Phantasy Quartet for oboe & strings. As Seville Cathedral is free from church chant or Renaissance art music, I decided to compose a modern-day phantasy quartet for Cuarteto Emispherio. In keeping with Rievaulx – and Britten’s and Bridge’s Phantasy pieces, too – I have again used arch form. The Aluphone handbell functions as a five-minute bell, and stands in for La Giralda. It intones at the beginning of the piece».