color studies

Among all of the castles that occupy the mountain range of Northern Cyprus, Buffavento could perhaps best be described as a lookout post. Its name, meaning ‘battered by the winds’, is quite fitting, given the high altitude and exposedness of its position. For this work, I envisioned a formal design that would accommodate my recently-devised harmonic concepts, mostly microtonal, only towards the end, as if emerging only once the dust is settled. The first section begins with sounds that merely attempt to coalesce and come into being. Later on drone sounds, played by the strings, permeate the texture; these sounds are tense, full of vibrations resulting from interactions of pitches that are less than a half-step away in register, these join woodwind chords that are mostly octatonic. A middle section wrenches the natural course of events out of its track, bringing about unpredictable rhythmic gestures that seem almost out of context. The last section welcomes back the long sustained harmonies of the first, in a state of submission, and with a thoroughly revised harmonic framework that combines octatonicism with microtones.

 

Six Studies on Archipenko takes as inspiration ‘La Coquette’, a circa 1948 painting by the Ukrainian artist Alexander Archipenko. The movements titled Wander make use of equal-temperament and strive to convey the dark areas at the outer sections of the painting; the general sensation is that of roaming at leisure, waiting to encounter something other than the relative dullness of this color. The microtonally-conceived Color movements are mostly static and focus on the inner segments of the Alexander’s foreground figure. Similar to the first piece, an interplay between two harmonic worlds can be sensed.

 

If the works presented in this album were to be re-arranged in order to suggest some sort of an evolution of a musical language, then Music for Strings, no:1 (doors) would come first. Full of sections of slow harmonic rhythm on the one hand and chaotic and violent fast passages on the other, this work to me has been crucial in terms of finding out how far I could take a harmonic language realized entirely in equal-temperament.

 

Four Pieces for Solo Viola is designed in such a way that non-consecutive movements relate to one another; movements I and III emphasize harmonic structures realized in large leaps, whereas movements II and IV pay heed to one another in their usage of the natural overtone series. The last movement, perhaps harmonically the most striking one, is a dialogue between the natural series of two fundamentals a tritone apart, C and F sharp.

 

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