Next Saturday, March 19 , at 7:00 p.m. at the Peace Palace, in Fuengirola , Iberian Sinfonietta will offer a very interesting program of music for string orchestra. Those who have followed the previous publications that we have made about each of the works of the next concert will be aware of the works of Tchaikovsky , Mendelssohn and the curious variations on the famous Happy Birthday melody, those who have not, already know that they have them at hand. its disposition. On this occasion, we have left for last what will be one of the most attractive moments of the afternoon, the Absolute Premiere of the play Divertimento . It is, in addition to a unique moment, the absolute premiere of a work, an example of the commitment of Iberian Sinfonietta and Maestro Juan Paulo Gómez with current composers, which highlights the link of this project with the present of classical music, which It unites the enhancement of little-performed classical pieces, thanks to the research work carried out.
On this occasion, Alejandro de la Torre from Malaga will return to his native Malaga from the other city where he lives and works, London, and will meet up with old colleagues and remember experiences along with the sounds of his own work, Divertimento . And we will experience all of this together at the premiere of his work next Saturday. Below, we leave you an interview carried out, obviously, via email with the composer, since he will arrive just for the Concert.
Alejandro, what feelings does the premiere of Divertimento provoke in you?
The truth is that I mainly have hope and expectation. It's the first time I've released something outside of an academic context, so it's a very special occasion for me.
What do you think of the setting for the premiere: Iberian Sinfonietta, the Peace Palace, the Maestro's direction...?
The frame is great. First of all, I have known the Maestro for a few years, I have been lucky enough to be his student in orchestra conducting at the Conservatorio Superior de Música de Málaga, where I studied composition and then orchestra conducting, and I know how seriously he studies the works that he interprets. I have complete confidence in him.
I can say the same about the orchestra: some of the members are former students of the Conservatory, and although I do not know all of them personally, I know that they are excellent and excellently trained professionals. Not only that, but the fact that they are young and starting their careers now makes me feel very close to them both artistically and personally, because I find myself in the same situation. I know that together they will do an impeccable job.
Regarding the Peace Palace, to be honest, I didn't know about it, but I like the idea that it is a reference site on the Costa del Sol, where I am from, because it is opening for the first time in my homeland – although in reality I am not exactly from Fuengirola, but from Malaga capital.
The work is a single movement: can we talk about four sections? Which shape has?
The answer to this question is a bit complex… I put particular care into the structure of the piece, because I wanted to test a certain technical artifice. Broadly speaking, it is a well-defined sonata form, with an introduction, exposition in two parts, development in several blocks and abbreviated recapitulation that in fact includes tonal shift.
What is truly interesting is the structural work of development. At first glance, it may actually seem like it's in four blocks, and in some ways it is. The first block is a kind of progression with an unusually large and varied repetition module, which is stated a total of two times, resulting in a block with a bipartite structure. Structurally, I made this block thinking of a typical second movement of a string quartet – originally in fact it is a piece for a quartet – although in this case it differs from the norm in terms of character and tempo.
And that is the main idea underlying the piece: the fact that it was originally a string quartet led me to write the development in such a way that each of the structural blocks that compose it behaves as a kind of quartet micro-movement, in a attempt to condense the general structure of the genre within the sonata form. Nothing new under the sun but, as I said before, it was a technical trick that I wanted to try.
Along these lines, the second part of the development covers what could be the three remaining small subsections of the development. However, if they are grouped together forming a single structural block, the result is a tripartite structure of the ABA type, typical of what would be a minuet and trio, or rather a scherzo in this case due to the character, typically the third movement of a string quartet. Furthermore, the central part of this block has the slow tempo and reflective character of the second that had been omitted in the previous block, in such a way that the small virtual quartet in which the sum of the parts is turning out to be, does consist of a slow movement. The Italian word scherzo means joke, and this is precisely the joke of this block-scherzo: the slow tempo is delocalized in the structural context of the quartet and appears as part of the third movement. The solid unity of this entire block, whose parts are so different from each other, is preserved thanks to the fact that the central part has exactly the same melody and harmony as those that frame it.
The fourth section is evidently the re-exposition of the sonata form, as I said, abbreviated. I did not find it necessary to treat the first and last sections as micromovements, which would presumably have been small sonata forms, because it would have blurred the structure of the exposition too much, making the overall structure of the piece too blurred and confusing. Furthermore, they are already in themselves framed within a global sonata, and in some ways it would have been redundant.
Let's talk about inspiration. What do you recreate or suggest and why?
That is a good question. This piece has a quite curious story behind it. I wrote it as part of an entrance test, in which we were assigned several tasks. One of them was to write a short piece of around a minute for a Finnish folk instrument called kantele, a small psaltery of variable dimensions. The point is, I believe, to familiarize the potential next student with the folkloric elements of Finland while at the same time testing their ability to study and learn in a limited time. Although there are very large ones, the typical kantele is a diatonic instrument with five strings that covers the first five notes of a scale, whether major or minor, and is played by strumming as if it were a guitar, and placing the fingers on the strings that are not desired to be played to make functional or modal harmonies. It is a very beautiful instrument because the harmonies normally have seconds or are suspended, but the possibilities are quite limited.
The second task was to compose a piece for string quartet in some way based on our own piece written for kantele, and I decided to make a reinterpretation of the materials from this and use them as a starting point, and in fact they are still clearly findable in Divertimento : the repeated note and jump of the perfect 4th in second harmonic format is the secondary idea in the piece for kantele, while the main idea is the melody with a folkloric and modal flavor that serves as the second idea in Divertimento and is found in its purest state in its final bars. Likewise, the harmonic elements of Divertimento , mainly 4th and 2nd intervals, as well as some modal elements, are characteristic of music written for the five-string kantele.
I suppose that ultimately Divertimento is more of an intellectual and technical exercise than recreating or suggesting something, but obviously there is a source of inspiration behind it. In any case, the ultimate goal was to create a fun and interesting piece that keeps the listener attentive by creating expectations and resolving them in original and unexpected ways.
How has your work been with the Director for this premiere?
The work has been fantastic. Right now, I study and live in London, so unfortunately I haven't been able to be at the rehearsals, which is precisely the most important part of the refinement phase in the composition process and, without a doubt, the most interesting. I deeply regret that. However, the Maestro has communicated with me constantly, sometimes to talk about certain very specific aspects of the piece, details. This shows that you have carefully observed it and prepared it thoroughly. I have no doubt that the rehearsals have been of the same quality and with the same level of care and attention to detail as the Director's study, which is ultimately what makes the difference.
Something that remains in our minds...
The most important thing of all: thank everyone involved. First of all, to Juan Paulo Gómez , the director, who has programmed the work selflessly. It is of great value to give opportunities like this to young musicians, especially composers, who can hardly premiere pieces for large groups in official seasonal concerts. These types of opportunities, as I say, are invaluable. Secondly, thank the orchestra musicians for their work. The composer is often a particular and solitary creature but he needs flesh and blood interpreters to complete his work. And thirdly, thank the public in advance for attending and showing interest in listening to a contemporary work – although aesthetically it differs profoundly from today's avant-garde currents and is quite accessible. I simply hope you enjoy it and, if it manages to arouse curiosity or stimulate someone's aesthetic taste, I am satisfied.
That said, all the luck in the world next Saturday, when we will enjoy the work and your presence at the Concert.
Jorge Rodríguez Morata
Pedagogical content coordinator