Archivos del mes: 17 mayo 2011

KOMPOSITION VIA HARPA OCH SKYPE

Inför årets ljudOljud-festival: Komposition via harpa och Skype

Pressmeddelande 2011-04-13:

En tonsättare i Stockholm. En harpist i Mexiko. Båda är studenter på KMH. Med internettelefoni som hjälpmedel skapar de från var sin världsdel helt ny musik för harpa och liveelektronik. Hör resultatet på den nyskapande festivalen ljudOljud i maj!

Inför årets ljudOljud-festival: Komposition via harpa och Skype

En tonsättare i Stockholm. En harpist i Mexiko. Båda är studenter på KMH. Med internettelefoni som hjälpmedel skapar de från var sin världsdel helt ny musik för harpa och liveelektronik. Hör resultatet på den nyskapande festivalen ljudOljud i maj!

Maria HornDet är på många sätt ovanliga omständigheter kring kompositionsstudenten Maria Horns nya stycke In the center of an eye. Inte bara kommunikationsvägen mellan tonsättare och exekutör. Också konsertscenen är okonventionell. Framförandet blir i Reaktorhallen, det underjordiska bergrum i Stockholm, där förut

Sveriges första kärnreaktor var i drift, numera en av Stockholms mest spännande scener för experimentell kultur.

Mercedes Gómez är uppvuxen i Mexiko, där hon gick sin grundutbildning. Hon har sedan gått vidare till masterutbildning i harpa på Kungl. Musikhögskolan (KMH), där Maria Horn studerar elektroakustisk komposition. Under en workshop om harptekniker träffades de, och började göra upp planerna på det som blir Mercedes’ examenskonsert på masternivå.

Många av telefondiskussionerna har handlat om vad som är möjligt att spela på harpa. Till exempel kommer Mercedes dra ett stycke löst tagel från en fiolstråke mot harpsträngarna. Effekten blir en säregen, drömlik klang som varken låter som harpa eller fiol. Ljudet fångas upp och bearbetas elektroniskt. Med hjälp av en pedal styr Mercedes själv ljudet så att det stannar upp, klangen ”fryses”.

– Men sedan har Mercedes som person haft jättestor betydelse för hur jag utformat stycket, säger Maria. Maria berättar att hon kommer att låta Mercedes läsa en text av Octavio Paz. Men bara tyst, för sig själv, publiken kommer inte att höra orden.

– Jag tänker mig att texten gör någonting med Mercedes i situationen. Jag vill att hon hamnar som i en bubbla, i ett tillstånd. Därifrån improviserar hon.

– Ritualer är något som intresserar mig väldigt mycket. En konsert är en speciell situation. Jag tycker det är intressant hur musikern och därigenom musiken påverkas av den situationen.

ljudOljud 2011 – en festival för komposition och dirigering, 20-28 maj i Stockholm
Möt dem som utformar musiken. Som förändrar, förkastar och återskapar – genom noter, gester, teknik.
33 uruppföranden (åsså lite Mozart). 30 tonsättare och dirigenter från Kungl. Musikhögskolan representerar olika inriktningar som kör, orkester, kammarmusik, filmmusik, jazz och elektroakustiskt.

www.kmh.se/ljudoljud

Kontakt: Joel Engström, festivalansvarig: joel.engstrom@student.kmh.se, 0738-08 08 98
Sigrid Damsager Frandsen, PR-ansvarig: sigrid-damsger.frandsen@student.kmh.se 076-8437 445


 

 

 

Anuncios

KONSERTPROGRAM

MAJ

21

2011-05-21 15:00
Stora salen

MERCEDES GOMEZ, HARPA

Examenskonsert, master         Traditionell och nyskriven mexikansk musik              

23

2011-05-23 19:00
Reaktorhallen, KTH

LJUDOLJUD: EXAMENSKONSERT

LJUDOLJUD: EXAMENSKONSERT MERCEDES GOMEZ, HARPA

Nyskriven musik för både en och två harpor
Mercedes Gomez, Stina Hellberg, harpa

http://www.kmh.se/komposition-via-harpa-och-skype

SUMMARY

CREAVERBU

Dibujo_alondraDibujo_astrid_completo_2Dibujo_aline

The Swex-Mex connection: thoughts about music, life, harp, guts and creativity versus bureaucracy

 

My blog was built shyly at the beginning, wondering how much I could say and what I would write about, so I instinctively chose topics that share an emphasis on creativity in general and musical composition in particular – from the perspective of the player, and with one focus on collaboration. In the Mexican experience these achievements happen slowly, with plenty of obstacles and in stark conflict with bureaucracy. That is why I chose this title. I add a quotation that I intend to keep in mind as a warning example.

 

“In the life of the typical bureaucrat hardly a day goes by in which he does not repeat many times the sentence “I am not competent to deal with this matter”…

 THE HOMELESS MIND, modernization and consciousness, by Peter Berger, Brigitte Berger and Hansfried Kellner

 The process of writing this blog as part of my master program has been enriching and wonderful in several ways, and I am deeply grateful for the open minds at KMH regarding ways to teach and collaborate. 

At this point in life, working for my master degree after more than twenty years of professional life as a harpist and teacher, somewhat surprised and thrilled, I welcomed the suggestion to write a blog as part of my program. It has indeed opened my eyes as for possible ways to use new tools of communication while teaching, and surprised me nicely in connecting thoughts and sharpening them while playing and learning.

 

One of the very pleasant surprises about writing these posts are the more than seven thousand visits so far to this blog during these past months of life, with a huge amount of useful educational feedback from colleagues and students at schools such as UC (California, USA), Manhattan School of Music (NY, USA), Julliard (NY, USA), Stanford University (USA) and Universidad Simón Bolívar (Venezuela).

 

Many other composers and harpists following the process from various countries have contributed with their feedbacks, making me learn new aspects of music making while thinking and writing. This all has made my conviction stronger regarding what I have felt while working in Mexico, where I usually do not have this kind of optimal feedback. I can say now, while finishing the process, that the blog was an excellent glue to put together this collage of initial ideas that further on landed in a very enriching introspective experience of my own music making connected to others sharing similar interests.

 

To write is a fascinating activity that knits brain wires, body and spirit together in a mystical-almost-magical way. Together with the verbs to play and to learn, it is one of my favorite motors. The connection between thinking, experiencing and writing these months, has slowly merged the general results of my musical work in a deeper way. Therefore, my conclusions have been underlined within this process with various topics and elements that include the great need everywhere for more and better musical education, and an urgent call for collaboration to support new music.

 

Looking at the feedback from the blog readers, I see that there is a general world wide need for more work in musical education to provide students with new and fresh approaches and a different focus in their learning. In my case, the discovery of the blog tool and the attention to other disciplines, have helped me while teaching harp and music in connection with art in various presentations.

 

 With the experience of the combination of tasks included in this blog coaching composers, learning new pieces and performing them, I am surprised by some of the findings along the way. I am more convinced now that these ideas will open doors in my country. I want to teach my students in Mexico in a more precise way and intend to share parts of this experience with all kinds of audiences. Mexico has such tremendous needs to improve these aspects, in the middle of its constant battle for better and more education, against bureaucracy, injustice, corruption, violence and poverty.

 

Thanks to this writing process concerned with musical thinking and the preparations for the performance of the final pieces, I have connected my roles as artist and teacher in a more acute way. My thoughts have received a sharper definition thanks to the different tasks of the master program.

 

With the blog tool – besides strengthening the creative process and the discipline at transmitting my own ideas on the web – I have reached much more readers than a printed thesis would likely get. The short format of posts has been accepted by all sorts of readers, not only musicians. The rhythm of the short articles with a variety of topics, all around creativity, seems to be quite attractive to younger readers and has turned out to favorably surprise professional colleagues from more established generations.

 

I had not expected these reactions from such a multitude of readers, while at the same time it’s been such a joy for me to learn so much throughout the process of giving form to these thoughts. As an artist I have learned that being open to new knowledge – at any stage in life and to be ready to use new tools improves one’s versatility and creativity.

 

I chose creativity and collaboration between players and composers as a main topic since this is one of the aspects I enjoy the most about my professional work. To me it’s a privilege to work with composers and to be part of their process as a coach, helping them to discover what works best for my instrument, to bolster their talent with full respect for whatever language and aesthetics they choose. I feel this is my responsibility as a player: to connect with composers of my time, and to present their work to different kinds of audiences. 

 

The blog has texts about:

1- Mexican composers writing for harp in the orchestra.

2- Mexican composers writing for solo harp with orchestra.

3- A piece for solo harp written by a young Mexican (world premiere in my first recital exam in Stockholm).

4- Comments about an early orchestra piece by Anton Webern as an example of idiomatic issues that could show young composers some of the challenges of writing for harp.

5- Thoughts from my readings of neuroscience articles with an interest to use this information as a music teacher.

6- Research into ‘silence and sound’.

7- Thoughts about a Mexican girl composer from the 19th Century.

8- Composers and poets talking about each other.

 

My blog also includes comments to the vast literature of orchestra excerpts, and an argument for open doors to other disciplines, underlining the importance of input from other artistic languages and forms of expression that artists need while conducting our daily life in music.

 

Parallel to my blog writing, and the exchange with five young composers in Stockholm I have been preparing a recital introducing Mexican music to a Swedish audience. It will contain repertoire pieces from the 19th Century, my own arrangements of folk music exemplifying the strong relation between music and social life in general, especially in indigenous communities, and original new harp music written under collaboration with Mexican composers, music that I have premiered and recorded. It was interesting to choose material that may convey an idea of the many eclectic cultural manifestations of my homeland. This is one part of the process of shaping my ideas while writing about these young Swedish composers, since the contrast with the Mexican material has brightened both programs due to the tools required in order to play such different material: music that is tonal or non tonal, rhythmically free or strict, long or short, intellectual or utilitarian, constructivist or intuitive, very old or extremely new. Only now do I realize how enlightening the preparation of both programs has been, all thanks to the time between the spaces between the tasks performed while writing the blog and playing-learning the music. It seems as if the phrasing in writing and in the music itself thrived on the natural pace that my brain gave them in the process. I guess I had never given so much time before to my own musical thoughts and my interest in creativity as a fundamental part of artistry.

 

Prominently the blog contains some of the correspondence with the young Swedish composers as they were writing the pieces for me.

 

            Here is some of what I have learnt from them. Their pieces are for solo harp, harp duo and harp with electronics. I have also written about their process, always trying to be careful with possible creative triggering while learning from each individual style of composition, ideas, communication relating it all to my playing and my ideas.

 

The step by step collaboration with these Swedish young composers Maria Horn, Mira-Linda Hakkanson, Thommy Wahlström, Leo Correia de Verdier and Joel Engstrom has given me new aspects of my playing while learning their pieces.

 

IN THE CENTER OF AN EYE, 4 EPISODES FOR HARP by Maria Horn has reinforced my experience in improvisation, a skill that was not taught when I was a student at the Mexico City Conservatory. I have picked this up gradually and in a sort of accidental way, from Mexican folk traditions and whenever professional work asked me to do so with a new score on the stand. Maria´s new way of presenting a framework for improvisation, together with her chosen poetry, actually embraces the main topic of the blog – creativity – in a very personal way. It underlines the inner aspect of both the verses of Octavio Paz after which she conceived her piece and my musical translation and my approach to Maria’s suggestions for improvisation. The relationship on stage where she performs at the computer has triggered a special interest in me about new concepts of sound to which I must react in situ, a situation that challenges my concentration while playing. Some resemblance to a theater performance should be present along with the musical aspects of the piece. 

 

14 SKISSER TILL EVIGHETMASKINER for 2 harps, by Leo Correia de Verdier to be performed with Stina Hallberg – a harp student majoring in jazz at KMH. It has been an interesting challenge and I have learnt to work in new and different ways, with a prepared instrument – with rather alien objects applied on the strings, such as paper and plastic slips, clips, erasers, etc. This has confirmed what I always remind my own students of, that it is possible to play difficult scores that look completely different from the usual repertoire. Some ideas of the neuroscience texts that I read while writing the blog have been close at hand while trying to coordinate the different patterns in this piece full of non conventional harp sounds and skill combinations that Leo chose. I have also learnt to analyze a score in a deeper way, not only from the individual harp part but for the musical entirety, in this case for the two harps and their interaction, always trying to make useful recommendations regarding the idiomatic aspects without compromising his musical ideas. The intricate rhythms of his piece have been an intense but joyful challenge which I want to share with the audience. 

 

FROST by Mira-Linda Håkansson is written mostly for the uppermost register of the harp which poses considerable physical/anatomic reading and playing difficulties. This choice of the high register for an entire piece was new to me, and has taught me new skills of focusing on how to overcome physical difficulties while musical expression still is the main concern. I have also learnt to tie musical ideas together within a landscape of vast and completely free tempo, in which poetical ideas have the main weight. It has been a joy to discover a young composer that has the same interest in other creative people as I have. This feeling has enhanced my interest in the topic of creativity and even makes me enjoy the learning aspects of my work still more. 

 

2011 INVENTION FOR HARP AND EA # 3 by Thommy Wahlström offers technical challenges from which I have learnt to be creative about fingerings, changes of register and to keeping an inner beat that should match with the EA, played live by Thommy himself at the concert. I have had to use a lot of imagination to picture what rehearsals and the final concert will be like with the EA part. This has made me realize the importance of preparation for the entire situation on stage, as an emotional process that can also be “rehearsed” in my own mind, reinforced by what I have experienced by the side of theater people at work.  

 

LUNA STICIA for two harps by  Joel Engström, also played with Stina Hellberg, is a very clear score with two well balanced harp parts from which I have learnt better ways to improve precision in relation to the other instrument. It has renewed my awareness of the importance of precision with the percussive attack of the harp – especially difficult with two harps – in this case particularly in the slow tempo of the final section. I have learnt to focus on the sharpness of attacks in the fast section of his piece, when the rhythmical challenges demand constant preparation to overcome the difficulties, and a very solid working relation to a metronome and  a good deal of patience.

 

Again the common interest that artists share regarding themes of creativity has enriched the general process of writing while learning, learning while studying the scores, thinking while playing, imagining while performing, preparing while thinking, and fantasizing about the best way to communicate this all. At this point in my life, in this mixed role of coaching while learning has focused me more on both the way I play and the way I conceive my own teaching.

 

The idea of a concert with the five new pieces is to me a perfect and meaningful way to conclude my master program, together with this entire process of writing and preparing new music while contemplating my artistic role and the future.

 

The contact with these five young creative Swedish composers has confirmed how much an older experienced musician can learn from fresh young brains still madly passionate about their art, creative music making. Some established musicians tend to forget this. It´s the kind of lesson I would like every day for the rest of my musical life.

 

Tack så mycket, igen och igen!

 

*

From THE BRAIN THAT CHANGES ITSELF, Stories of Personal Triumph by Norman Doidge, M.D.

 

“In the course of my travels I met a scientist who enabled people who had been blind since birth to begin to see, another who enabled the deaf to hear: I spoke with people who had had strokes decades before and had been declared incurable, who were helped to recover with neuroplastic treatments: I met people whose learning disorders were cured and whose IQs were raised: I saw evidence that it is possible for eighty-year-olds to sharpen their memories to function the way they did when they were fifty-five. I saw people rewire their brains with their thoughts, to cure previously incurable obsessions and traumas. I spoke with Nobel laureates who were hotly debating how we must re-think our model of the brain now that we know it is ever changing.”

 

Drawings: Thanks to my three youngest Mexican students: Alondra Mainez, Aline Romero and Astrid Aguilera, CONSERVATORIO NACIONAL DE MÚSICA, México.

¡Muchas gracias, preciosas chamacas!


 

COMPOSERS AND POETS

Vidrios_colores_4

 

(In memoriam Ernesto Sábato)

www.jornada.unam.mx/2011/05/01/index.php?section=cultura

The Word poetry is a difficult one to describe, not only because of the subjective intrinsic characteristics of it, but for the many mutations it has developed through history. The Greek word POIESIS comes from a generic term know as POIEIN, which means TO DO. Therefore creativity, one of the main issues in my blog, bids some thoughts about this topic.

For Aristotle, all intellectual creation was POIESIS, as opposed to PRAKSIS, the action. For Herodotus, POIESIS was the art of composing poetic pieces, while Plato said that the two poetic arts where tragedy and comedy.

In Greek civilization, POIESIS was expressed in POIEMA (poems) that could be EPOS (epic) or MELOS (lyric). From these Greek words came other Latin ones, such as POESIS (poetry), POETA (poet), POETRIA (feminine poet) and POETICÉS (poetic creation).

The French word POÈTE was already registered in 1155 and in Spanish in the 13th Century.

 

That is why I chose this old word to create a link about what composers think about poetry and how poets think about composers and music.

 

Ricardo Yáñez, Mexican poet, wrote some months ago in his ISOCRONÍAS column in LA JORNADA, one of our daily papers, that inspiration is a devaluated word. He believes that its true meaning is a blast of wind into the soul of time.  His phrases play with ideas about how the poetry of words is the sense of what we experience as chaos: an organized life, a harmonic one. His sense of life could be more like a radiation.

He also plays with the idea of a musician lost in music. (He blinks an eye questioning: because he-she is a good or bad musician?) Or, rather, a musician converted into the instrument of music, converted into what she or he is: music!

He wrote about how any pure ignorance opens up to that which is not known, therefore ignorance could be the special wisdom of those who ignore, those who do not know.  Every poet has some of this, he believes. To him, poetry is what is left after all poetic matter has gone.

 

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2010/12/29/index.php?section=cultura&article=a05o1cul

 

 

In several posts in this blog I have touted the importance of nourishing ones mind as a creator with the input and work by other artists, in this case, poets and composers, or composers and poets. Before posting soon a summary of this blog, I want to include now my gratitude to poets and to composers!

 

Besides admiring their sources of inspiration and fearless creativity, I asked some composers what they have to say about poetry. Here are some replies:

 

Alejandro Viñao (Argentina, United Kingdom).

 

“For me the similarities or differences between music and poetry depend
largely on the kind of poetry and music we are considering. I could not
make a general statement in this respect. If I think of the poetry of Nicolás Guillén and Cesar Vallejo, to mention two Latin-American poets who wrote completely different kinds of poetry (which I like equally), then I say that the poetry of Guillén often uses procedures that are very close to that of musical syntax, while Vallejo’s poetry does not (except perhaps in his early romantic period).

Guillen’s poetry uses African rhythms and repetition in a way that is common in music. Eg: “don de fino venado de bosque en bosque en bosque perseguido”, (gift of fine deer from forest to forest to forest pursued), from “Elegía Cubana”.

The repetition of the word “bosque” (forest) seeks a sound effect, a musical effect, more than anything else. Of course the repetition changes the meaning of the phrase to some extent but not in a semantic sense. And the “image” of the “forest” or the “deer” is not significantly changed either by the
repetition.  It is the feeling of rhythm that is affected by this repetition which conveys the feeling of persecution in the domain of sound. It is obviously common in music to use the same procedure to achieve a similar
result.

In Vallejo we have images which have in my opinion no correspondence in the musical domain, at least not in a clear way. For example in his “HIMNO A LOS VOLUNTARIOS DE LA REPÚBLICA” he uses phrases like “Quevedo, ese abuelo instantáneo de los dinamiteros”, (Quevedo, that instant grandfather of dynamiters) which works by creating a “flavor” of meaning that music could
never hope to replicate. This ‘flavor’ is the result of juxtaposing very
clear images and very clear semantic meanings in a very strange (unclear?)
arrangement to express something that a logical proposition of language
could not express. I do not believe that there is an analogous music procedure to this poetic one”.

www.vinao.com

 

 

Manuel Sosa (Venezuela-USA)

POETRY/MUSIC/POETRY

Natura est… Argon. Helium. Nitrogen. Carbon Dioxide. Poetry. Poetry is also a universal element. Its presence is constantly all around us, similar to these gases that surround our globe.  It is an ever-present mass that also discreetly envelops our world and our existence. It is always there, available, silently waiting for a rebirth, to use Octavio Paz’s assertion. With some effort on our part, it consistently offers us the option to participate in its cycle of continuous rebirth. From how we pick up a glass from a table to how we shake somebody’s hand, Poetry, along with our human sense of the poetic, is always eager to strike a dialogue.

 

The poem is also an active and generative entity that is always present. It is the reductive transformation of Poetry into language and, consequently, it is that mirror where the reader and the universe come together for that possible dialogue. The poem is that immense totality concentrated in a moment that William Blake spoke so eloquently about. It is time within and without time.

 

As a composer, poetry is my point of departure and my point of arrival. It is the whole, and it is all the parts of the whole, and the written poem is usually what precedes and gives way for the possible emergence of a musical space.

 

For the past several months, I have been searching for a specific poem that would once again allow me to play with the music of the poem and the poetry of sound, and that would also inspire a process that would eventually become a musical space, i.e. a composition—more specifically, a composition for solo harp. But, it is the poem that finds you. That moment when we can see far beyond the words printed on the page. That instant where time stops and, as E.E. Cummings insists, we feel as citizens of the infinity of our universe. That is where the dialogue begins.

 

I then see myself spending an inconceivable amount of time with the poem, interiorizing its flow and boundaries, until we are both safe and comfortable with each other, so as to begin together to draw a musical space. And this process of abstraction and crystallization of the materials and architecture of the musical space through drawing, sketching, and actual composing is simply a dance—a rumba of sorts, if I may, where the pre-planned parameters and the magic of chance come together in an effort to give the poem a new beginning, a rebirth in search of its Poetry.

 

But again, it is the poem that finds you, and a few words by Antonio Machado (1875-1939) signaled to me one morning not long ago: Hoy es siempre todavía (today is always yet). They constitute proverb and/or song No.8 in Machado’s ninety-nine Proverbs and Songs, from his collection New Songs (1917-1930). It was my hope that I would have a work for solo harp, based on my interaction with these four words by Machado, completed for Mercedes Gómez to present at her performing engagements in Stockholm, Sweden, this coming May (2011). However, the invention and formulation of the architecture of proportions of the musical space is a process that embraces its own time, and I am still dancing through its delineating geometry. 

 

I continue to shape the process for this particular work, gathering sustenance from the journey from Poetry, through the poem to the music, both of which will hopefully take me back to the Poetry itself.  The musical space that architecture of frequencies and durations in time—is, essentially, my personal attempt to re-connect to and with Poetry. It is a leap of faith, and there is no guarantee of a successful return to Poetry through the friction of poem and music. There is a strong possibility that this entire effort may silently dissolve itself and disappear into the thin and polluted air. But life is in the process, in the dialogue, and the mystical is that it is, to paraphrase Wittgenstein and, step by step, we continue to breathe. Nitrous Oxide. Hydrogen. Methane. Oxygen: Poetry. …deus in rebus.

 

© Manuel Sosa

April 2011

Manuel Sosa is a Venezuelan composer, who resides in New York City. He is a member of the Composition Faculty and Chair of the Ear Training Department at the Pre-College Division of the Juilliard School. His works have been performed in North and South America, Europe, and Japan, and he is a recipient of a 2011 Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship.

 


Juan Pablo Contreras (Mexico-USA)

FORM IN POETRY AND MUSIC 

“The first thing I think about when I ponder the similarities between writing poetry and writing music is the concept of form. Form is essential in order to create something that is well balanced and convincing. Hundreds of years ago, poets and musicians “agreed upon” conventional forms that were very effective when exposed to their respective audiences. For instance, composers wrote sonatas and poets wrote sonnets. These forms came about naturally. Artists noticed that writing using these structures kept audiences captivated and aided them in hanging on to musical themes or grasping difficult concepts in poems.

What happens when the composer or poet wants to write something that doesn’t quite fit in this cookie cut mold? The mold collapses! Painters seldom have this problem now that Cezanne has made numerous paintings of apples, authorizing painters to keep creating art that is based on what the eye is observing in a given moment. However, on what can composers base their creations if music is such an intangible language? There is no concrete model in the sights of composers and poets that they can render onto the page. They must invent everything. This is where the beauty of form, which is inseparable from the content in a piece of music or a poem, comes into action. A composer or poet has to conceive of all the proportions that a painter replicates on a canvas, when he sketches a wholly nude woman, in order to make his art succeed.

Nowadays, true artists strive to create new forms in poetry and music. It is quite fruitless to imitate the conventional forms our ancestors left for us. Form in poetry and music is so beautiful that when one is constructing its abstract figure, its aspect and proportions shift in surprise and transform what we had initially imagined to become a tree, into a leopard”.

www.juanpablocontreras.com 

 

 PABLO ORTIZ, Argentina-USA

 

 To be a poet is a little “worse” than to be a composer. Someone once described the practice of composition as a “minor form of madness”… Poets’ madness is somewhat less minor.

 

The contemporary composer has a certain prestige  derived from the technical knowledge  necessary for the practice of his/her art. The poet has the enormous disadvantage of having to work with the same material used to communicate with a plumber while explaining that there is a leak in the kitchen, or to complain to a waiter about the fact that  the steak  is too well done.  I have a tremendous admiration for poets”

 

http://www.americancomposers.org/sa98bios.htm#Ortiz 

 

I also asked several poet friends to write something about their relation to music. Armando Vega-Gil, Mexican poet and celebrated rock player wrote this intense poem after watching Så som i himmelen, the Swedish movie directed by Kay Pollak in 2004 with a plot that deals with the enormous power of music.

I include Armando´s poem in Spanish in respect for it´s rhythm and musicality. I translate the beginning and end of it before going to my studio to practice the five new Swedish pieces I will present in May and organize my conclusions regarding the wonderful experience that writing this blog had meant for me thanks to KMH.

 

I Prelude. The Dying one.

 

Lost in the slow damnation of corrosion

in his mineral bones

dust that is water

alone without the shadow of the shadows

searches for Sense the Dying one

and looks inside behind

towards the north (towards his own ice)

at the end of the world (his never finished beginning).

 

 

 

It´s not Paradise this stiff prairie

toothless sun of pearl, no,

this is –alive with cold – death,

a distempered house,

life under beer cans and acquavit,

there in your eyelids- soft leather edges.

 

There is no Sense, we know that…

 

…Will we be able to move to this profane plateau,

unchaste, beautiful,

we, the lost ones

to whom paradise has been forbidden? 

 

 

SUITE PARA LA TIERRA Y EL CIELO

Armando Vega-Gil

 

I. Preludio. El Moribundo.

 

Extraviado en un desahucio lento de carcoma,

en sus huesos minerales

que son polvo que son agua,

solo sin la sombra de las sombras,

busca El Sentido el Moribundo

y mira dentro atrás,

rumbo al norte (a sus heleros),

en el fin del mundo (que es su principio interminable):

 

no es el paraíso esta llanura yerta,

sol de perla desdentado, no,

esto es –viva de frío– la muerte,

una casa destemplada,

la vida bajo latas de cerveza y acquavit,

allá en tus párpados-aristas de gamuza.

 

No hay Sentido, lo sabemos.

 

Y el estruendo y los murmullos que le siguen al que muere

–himno tinnitus de agujas y chirridos–

enmascaran su cenizas de pan y arenque,

nos distraen de los afanes del sepulcro.

 

El silencio es una brújula escapista,

es mentira destetada, una bruja,

es un taladro en la ventana de los mundos.

 

«¿Qué han hecho de mí?»,

reza el hombre

al ver su aliento congelado en la orfandad,

cristales de agua bajo incendios de ventisca,

la muerte bárbara, podrida, inútil,

la asaz violencia del todo y de los todos:

de quien te ama como me amas

(como al perro que acaricias);

de quien viene y te desprecia hasta el escarnio,

como a mí

que me besas en el ritmo del desprecio;

de quien sigue y te persigue

y te lleva al precipicio y cae sin ti,

cae sin mí,

conmigo.

 

 

II. Adagio. El destierro.

 

Sólo es para ti la música,

su estallido, aleteo de mosca,

su sordera,

«para ti», insisto,

para ti es el ritual de los que duermen,

de los que lloran junto a Moribundo en el rincón del olvidado,

El Implacable,

de los que nombras sin llamarlos por su nombre.

 

En tu gris retribución,

tu desnudez

–pequeña venganza nocturna,

lejos de la infancia de hielos hiel

y rojo-vivos en la carne,

de torturas parvularias y verdugo infante,

regla y compás bajo las uñas se estrellan en tus palmas,

insultos en los hombros y la lengua,

bofetón de cárdenos y esguince,

allí, desde allí,

te elevas, Moribundo, sobre un trigal de hombre y mujeres,

mujer es y hombres,

que han de ser tus siervos, tus peones sin rostro,

bajo tu mando de ofensivo reyezuelo,

bofetadas de viento norte

o jirones de caricias, Ártico,

puertas de frente a la nariz,

nada más que los glaciares.

 

Tras el viaje de regreso encuentras, Moribundo,

en traspatios de añoranza

–como quien se da un tope con las nubes bajas–,

a un niño azul pateado,

su nariz que es tu nariz cobarde

chorreando deltas de sanguaza,

nervaduras de temor tiñendo a añil

tu natal tierra desnuda,

más nieve que esperanza,

más garrapata de alce que un bosque de la Suecia.

 

Y es allí,

en el rincón del cosmos provincial,

donde te esperan

sales de óxido en iglesias tuertas, escarbadas,

algún pastor de Biblia rota hipócrita,

rebaños-miedo

y un Dios que muere un poco en cada misa.

 

Moribundo, entonces, se ve así mismo,

manando sangre antigua de la infancia,

batuta en mano,

y el corazón rompiéndolo por dentro

en un final larghetto.

 

No puede más,

se derrumba,

«te derrumbas», le digo.

 

La pregunta es, pues,

no ¿qué han hecho de mí?,

sino, ¿qué haré con lo que han hecho de mí?

 

 

III. Andante ma non troppo. El ángel y sus demonios.

 

Y así en la tierra

como en el cielo y sus infiernos,

los demonios de ti y de tus cercanos

(los violentos y los que te aman,

los que gritan y nos enmohecen con sus fluidos)

mutan a ángeles,

devoran miedos que defecan en estrellas.

 

Y así vueltos ellos otros,

arrancan, ¡zafh!, a nuestras horas,

lo que apenas se es

porque este páramo insignificante

–brizna de nada

donde a rastras nos fincamos sin voluntad ni desmayos,

castrados indolentes pardos piedra–

es la materia, el cieno elemental del paraíso

y debemos transitarlo una vez por cada día.

 

 

IV. Aria. Los enemigos de Dios.

 

Pecado y su hermana idiota, la Culpa,

son criaturas de la Iglesia y sus ministros pederastas,

no de Dios, sino prisión.

«El miedo acerbo, la miel venganza,

la mentira y su excremento,

son el motor del mundo» insisten los jerarcas

y nos creman con sus botas,

«no es el amor», nos gritan y machacan,

nos engañan,

nos astillas como al poeta que murió en destierro,

y aún así,

Dios sigue vivo

muerto un poco,

renaciente.

 

 

V. Finale subito. Moribundo, el Paraíso y nosotros.

 

¿Podremos inhumar,

tú Moribundo moridor y yo,

a este niño tembloroso,

desnudo igual que tú y nosotros,

hielo en la carne,

que pace en nuestro archivo inerte,

empolvado en sal?

 

¿Podremos mudarnos a ese páramo profano,

inmundo, hermoso,

los extraviados a quienes

se nos ha negado el Paraíso?