The one constant is heat, usually generated by a fast pulse that is at once insisted upon and offset by bristling syncopations, metallic-electric.
Sound starts with touch: air bumps air, hair rubs wire, fingers press and pull and pluck. And yet, classical instrumental technique tends to deemphasize the body behind the sound.
The “Introduction and Royal March of the Lion” kicks everything off with anticipatory tremolos and glissandos before announcing the arrival of the lion with a miniature fanfare of chords.
Pärt treats each antiphon as a sort of choral miniature, allowing each its particular character.
Overall, the polyphony is lean in texture, albeit intensely charged in points of dissonance.
In the early 21st century, it’s difficult to imagine the cello suites considered anything less than masterpieces, and yet in the not so distant past, they were treated simply as exercises.
The more intimate medium of five unaccompanied voices is particularly appropriate to the portrayal of a woman whose divine inspiration came in the form of the voices of [saints].
In all her letters, Joan wrote the words ‘“Jesus Maria” separated by the sign of the cross to indicate the sources of her divine inspiration. The Salve Regina is one of the standard Marian texts.
Adams has always regarded himself as outside the mainstream—a restless but patient seeker who believes the composer’s task is “to follow the music wherever it may want to lead me.”
Precision in the notation pays off. What is produced is a whole menagerie of small sounds, often animated by decisively pulsed rhythms.
All these things, so human, are manifested by something manifestly artificial: a sound world aglow with electronics. And that dichotomy, of human and artificial, is at once and constantly challenged.
Sofia Gubaidulina shares a special affinity with Bach: both artists’ music are influenced by their faith, and they share a unique blend of emotional transcendence and compositional rigor.
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