lunes, 4 de octubre de 2010

False start, lucky ending, Narcissus dying

This had happened several times in my composing life. No matter how well you plan a piece of music, sometimes one "steps with the wrong foot" so to say. Especially in a work of many movements like "Vega and Altair". One movement, which was planned to be a love song had a false start. It was planned for flute and harp only, while the cellist and violinist could have a break (but too short time to have a Kit Kat; it should be only about 2 minutes!). Apparently it turned out to be too sad to be a love song (except if the lovers are saying goodbye or even encountering death!) and it would fit better for a piano instead of a harp. I'd also like to have more than 2 minutes for its development, since the main melody is based on a small motif. The simpler the motif, usually the more potential the development can have. What I need for Vega & Altair's love song is a long and winding melody which would just be repeated.

Anyway, I had to discard what I have written and wrote a new love song. During my younger days, those discarded notes (and even entire pieces) would just end in the trash bin. Not anymore now. I know now what to do with it, especially I discarded it exactly because I want to develop it and bring it to another piece.

A few months ago I promised the flute-piano duo Wendela van Swol and Emilio Garcia a piece for them to complement my older piece, "Rescuing Ariadne" that they brought in their Spanish tour earlier this year and ended at the International Flute Convention in Madrid. It was them who introduced the work to Spanish audiences, and especially flutists. Apart from that, I always felt that "Rescuing Ariadne" is not really complete in itself ; it needs to be a part of a suite. Somehow the sections are too short and the ending needs to be "continued". Although if one likes, one can still perform it as an independent piece, as well as the new piece since they both don't share the same material.

So this is the exact material for "their" new piece. Every piece has its own time to be born, just like babies! This new 4-minute piece for flute & piano is slow, brooding and not techically difficult. The motif invites me to play with reflections : either imitations, not so exact canons or inverted ones, and it even begins with two same notes which go up a minor third and down in its inverted interval, a major sixth. In developing it I needed something visual to inspire me, which I later found in that incredible painting of Narcissus by Caravaggio. Not only the water reflection, but also I derived the curve made by Narcissus' hands which are not symetrical into my main melody.
The water on which Narcissus sees himself also inspired me to do a distorted reflection of the melody, sometimes appearing together both in the flute and the piano in different speed, which is quite new for me.
Anyway, "Narcissus dying" will suit young flutists and pianists, not only technically but also because of the "youth" theme : the incredibly handsome Narcissus who is suffering from love .... with himself. No, no, it's not autobiographical ! At least I hope not.