Banda Municipal de Castelló

Wednesday 20 September 2023
Auditori i Palau de Congressos - Castelló

Country Band March (1903). Charles Ives 4’30’’
Notes a peu de pàgina (2022) Marc Garcia
Vitoria 15’
Three Portraits for Wind Ensemble Agustí Charles 15’
El por siempre de un genio (2019) Eva Lopszyc 13’30’’
Passacaglia de Ron Nelson


For the fourth time, the Municipal Band of Castelló is taking part in the Ensems festival, and it is doing so with an eclectic programme relating the concept that contemporaneity may have had throughout the 20th century to the works of three of today’s composers.

The concert opens with the short burlesque march by
Charles Ives, composed to parody the kind played by low quality amateur marches in the towns where he was working hard as an organist in the last decade of the 19th century.

The march very precisely includes all kinds of inaccuracies and flaws that amateur musicians used to make, as well as numerous very popular American songs of the time. The work of Marc Garcia Vitoria explores a form in micro-movements as if it were a compilation of short stories. It is made up of a dozen very short pieces, a priori independent from each other, but which somehow end up intertwining and leaving us with questions and challenges for our memory. The work puts forward an unusual way of using the registers of meaning and expression: halfway between abstract music and semiotic games, between developed music and micro-works, between ironic terror and dramatic comedy. To sum up, the work is a kind of tribute to the great writers who have cultivated the genre of short stories, especially in South America, through music that explores the sound limits of the band as an instrument par excellence of collective Valencian musical imagination.

Agustí Charles is one of the most solid composers on today’s Spanish scene. Teaching composition in the most prestigious institutions in Spain such as the Aragon Conservatory of Music, the Higher School of Music of Catalonia, and the Reina Sofía Higher School of Music, his orchestral work has been recorded by the ORCAM and the OBC. He is one of the few composers of his generation to have already premiered four operas. His direct teachers include Joan Guinjoan, Franco Donatoni, Luigi Nono, Josep Soler and Samuel Adler; the latter dedicating the Three Portraits, the first work for symphonic band.

With a significant Spanish presence in recent years, since her piece Brigantia de los vientos was required to be played at the International Band Competition of Valencia in 2019, Eva Lopszyc wrote ‘El por siempre de un genio’ (Always the fear of a genius) as a tribute to Azor Piazzola, the result of a commission from the conductor Miguel Etchegoncelay.

The work is structured around a brief excerpt from Fuga y misterio by the Argentine maestro, and exudes an almost mystical spirit thanks to the undulating sounds generated by trills, glissandos, clusters, random sections and a climax where use is made of the spoken word.

“I cannot express myself through a single liturgical tradition, or even a philosophical one, since the work has to be the offspring of our time and therefore it seemed to me that it had to be plural, without falling on the side of one god or another.” With these words, Michael Tippett spoke of The Mask of Time, the great symphonic choral work in two movements that he had to leave for posterity in the place of a mass, a creation, a requiem or all those pieces that, precisely, had been made by other creators and which for him were the path along which he did not have to travel. The piece was constructed in two movements lasting 45 minutes each, with texts by poets such as Yeats, Shelley, Rilke and TS Elliot, and scientists such as Loren Eiseley and Jacob Bronowski. It covers transcendental themes such as the birth and expansion of the universe, the existence of the individual in a constantly changing world, the polarity between the possibility of rational knowledge and the deep sensitivity of each and every personality… Triumph is a paraphrase, an original work for bands. This huge piece was written by the same composer.

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