Isang Yun (1917-1995)
Isang Yun’s primary musical idea was the development of Korean music
by means of Western avant–garde music. Inventionen employed extended
flute techniques associated with traditional Korean music, imitating the
Daegeum which is the traditional Korean woodwind instrument. Included
are glissandi, pizzicato, portamenti, vibrati and above all a very rich
vocabulary of ornaments.
Kaija Saariaho (b. 1952)
Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho has developed an intimate and dramatic musical language, creating dreamy images of our subconscious. Her music emerges from the natural sounds we so often ignore. Saariaho manages to meld acoustic and electronic music into a seamless unity of both worlds.
"Six Japanese Gardens is a collection of impressions of the gardens I saw in Kyoto during my stay in Japan in the summer of 1993, and my reflection of rhythm at that time.
I love our culture, but in every domain there was always one wise old guy with a bald head - the male authority whose aesthetics or politics ruled. In music there was Sibelius, in architecture Alvar Aalto, and then there was President Kekkonen, who the country for twenty-five years. I felt squeezed to be something that I'm not." - Kaija Saariaho
Arr. Lucio San Pedro (1913-2002)
"Pobreng Alindahaw" is a Visayan folk song composed by Tomas Villaflor. There are multiple arrangements of this popular folk song, including this one by Philippine National Artist for Music Lucio San Pedro. "Pobreng Alindahaw", or "Poor dragonfly", is about a dragonfly being tossed in the wind, looking for a place to rest among the beautiful flowers.
Lucio San Pedro (1913-2002)
Arr. Redentor Romero
"Sa Ugoy Ng Duyan" is a lullaby by Philippine National Artists Lucio San Pedro and Levi Celerio. The music for the song was composed by Lucio San Pedro during his trip to New York from Manila in 1946, and meant as an ode to his mother. On his return trip back to Manila, which at the time took 27 days to complete, he met Levi Celerio who added text to the beautiful melody. Originally set for solo voice and piano, the song was arranged by Redentor Romero as a duet for soprano and tenor. The song speaks of one's longing to return to the cradle, when bliss was in the arms of one's mother.
Minggoy Lopez (1912-1981)
"Rosas Pandan" is a Cebuano folk song by Minggoy Lopez, to the lyrics of Levi Celerio. It tells about a pretty young girl who loves to dance balitaw. This version was arranged by Prof. Agot Espino.
Hans Otte (1926-2007)
Arr. Jakob Georg Ruderer (b. 1989)
Book of Hours is a catalogue of 48 miniature piano pieces by the German composer and pianist Hans Otte composed between 1991 and 1998. Mostly in two voices, the pieces create complex harmonic sound spaces. Later in his life Otte’s music became freer and more open regarding the use of sound inspired by Japanese Zen traditions, which the composer studied while developing a close friendship with John Cage during multiple visits to Japan. In the case of Book of Hours the composer’s performance instructions say:
“Duration of sounds according to space notation, meaning the farther away the next note is, the longer the current one has to be held; the closer, the faster it has to be played.” Also he asks the performer for a vivid use of the pedal based on the instrument, the space of performance and the style of the interpreter. The pieces are not related to each other as a cycle; it is a collection of 48 independent pieces which can be performed in a free selection by the performer.
The main motive of the Improvisation is taken from the fifth and final movement of Johannes Brahms’ third piano sonata in f minor, op. 5. It is a simple melody and dominates the second half of the movement. Its first appearance is like a hymn with full chords which Brahms then develops. Among other forms, it appears as canon, as counterpoint and finally as an ecstatic presto figure. In this Composed Improvisation these musical methods are also used in addition to more recent and contemporary ways of creating sound spaces in relation to Otte’s Book of Hours and what the performance situation brings.
Brett Dean (b. 1961)
“Demons was written in March 2004 for Sharon Bezaly specifically for her “From A to Z” recording project for BIS Records. As it was the “D” disc of the series, I initially approached the project from the starting point of alphabetic signage, the piece hence exploding on the scene with a hammering of high Ds which are to be played with a plethora of different tone colourings, attacks, multiphonics and inflections in a highly agitated and ‘demonic’ manner. The piece then takes off in other directions and, as it unfolds, it reveals a brief but intense rondo movement structure. The opening D-dominated first section (highly agitated and impetuous) reappears between contrasting sections, firstly angular lyricism (suddenly slow and dreamy), then scherzando-inspired virtuosity (lightly flowing, buoyant) and finally spending its energy and slowing into a sense of uneasy calm in the misterioso final section with its brief, curious closing chorale of vocalized chords. Demons was premièred by Sharon Bezaly in a recital in Seoul, South Korea in May 2004.”– Brett Dean
Victor Baez (b. 1985)
This piece explores the consequences of a single disruptive element set loose within an otherwise ordered system. This could be a reflection of life in Mexico City: a place where everything tends towards ever-increasing chaos, yet the countless currents of human activity, tumbling into one another in their incessant, revolving flow, appears to whirl together into a manic, endless, oddly rhythmic pattern. The pattern seems both current and timeless, shrill and soothing, universal, yet possessing a distinctively Mexican identity—orderly chaotic. This paradox of quiet explosion, of inward scream –a Labyrinth of Solitude, if you will—permeates and guides the work. The work could be a reflection of life in Mexico City, but it could also be almost anything else: a moment of complexity, and eye open in the dark, a litany of numbers echoing off the walls of an invisible church. Mexico City has many, many churches.
Pancho Vladigerov (1988-1978)
Pancho Vladigerov was a conductor, pedagogue and pianist as well as one of the most influential Bulgarian composers of all time. He composed in a wide variety of genres. The piece “Balkan Dance” is one of his many short piano pieces, often combined in cycles. It is based on Bulgarian folklore motifs and idioms, and uses asymmetrical meters, traditional for Bulgaria, which are a mixture of simple and compound pulses.
Chester Duncan (1913-2002)
Chester Duncan and W.H Belyea (1917-2001) are Canadian artists from the 20th century who had extensive careers in both the performance and educational branches of music. Duncan composed more than 150 songs, many of which are housed in the Canadian Music Centre, while a large portion of Belyea’s poetry can be found under the pseudonym “A.C. Darke.” Both Duncan and Belyea were deeply involved in the classical music scene in Canada, and were regularly featured on the acclaimed national CBC Radio during their lifetimes.
Alberto Ginastera (1916-1983)
Arr. Federico Diaz (b. 1986)
The commemoration of Ginastera’s 100th anniversary motivated me to do a guitar and string quartet arrangement of one of his best known pieces, the Danzas Argentinas op. 2 for piano. This work is inspired not only by the music of the Pampa in habitants, but also by their social and cultural life. In order to incorporate the character of dance into the piece, Ginastera uses specific elements from typical Argentinian folkloric rhythms such as chacarera, zamba, huella, gato and malambo; however none of them is completely stated in its original form. Each piece depicts a distinct character of life in the Pampas. The first one portrays the old man in charge of the oxen and cows, “el Viejo boyero.” The second piece, which is extremely lyrical, is dedicated to the graceful woman, “la moza donosa.” Lastly, the third piece is a musical description of the most important and vigorous character in the Pampas, the “gaucho” who in this case is represented as a fugitive, a “matrero,” and therefore the composer creates a furiously rhythmic and energetic movement. The entire piece seems to call for the guitar, which is the instrument of the gauchos. Due to the complexity of the original music I decided to do the arrangement for string quartet and guitar. This combination of instruments gave me the right palette to color this particular musical world.