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Work

Iluminismo : concertino-doppio for alto saxophone, harp and string orchestra

by Andrián Pertout (2013)

Iluminismo

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Work Overview

'Iluminismo' or 'Enlightenment' was commissioned by the American Harp Society, Inc. New York, NY for performance by Pictures on Silence (Noah Getz - saxophone, Jacqueline Pollauf - harp) and the Houston Composers' Orchestra (Houston, Texas, USA). The creation of the work was made possible by a grant from the American Harp Society (New York, NY, USA), while the premiere performance was sponsored by the Foundation for Modern Music (Houston, Texas, USA). The work serves as an exploration of Jewish historian and general Flavius Josephus's historical órganon trígonon enarmónion scale, originally presented in his 93 C.E. publication of Jewish Antiquities, and subsequently transformed within the context of a contemporary adaptation of this ancient Egyptian harp tuning. This new hybrid two-octave scale forms the basis for the pitch material utilized in the work, unifying all melodic and harmonic development of a series of motives and phrases via a modal structural scheme: the first six modes generated from the scale utilized in the first movement; modes three to eight in the second; while the last six modes (modes five to ten), incorporated in the third movement.

Philosophically, the work takes inspiration from the 'udjat-eye', or 'eye of Horus', which is physically displayed within a wall painting in a small Egyptian monastery situated in the village of Pa Demi (The Village), or Ta Set Ma'at (The Place of Truth). The hieroglyph (Eye of Horus or the All-Seeing Eye) was utilized by scribes circa 2000 BCE. to symbolize fractions (a fractional quantification system to measure parts of a whole), with each of the six elements representing 1/64, 1/32, 1/16, 1/8, 1/4 and 1/2 respectively, while additionally corresponding to the six senses: touch, taste, hearing, thought, sight and smell. Horus, as the ancient Egyptian sky god, is generally depicted as a falcon, and his right eye associated with Ra, the ancient Egyptian sun God, and the attributes of wisdom, knowledge and enlightenment. 'Iluminismo' attempts a musical portrayal of the six senses within its three movements: Iº Tato e paladar (Touch and Taste), IIº Audição e pensamento (Hearing and Thought) and IIIº Visão e olfato (Sight and Smell).

Work Details

Year: 2013

Instrumentation: Alto saxophone, harp, string orchestra (suggested: 6.6.4.4.2).

Duration: 17 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — Professional

Commission note: Commissioned by the American Harp Society, Inc. New York, NY for performance by Pictures on Silence and the Houston Composers’ Orchestra (Houston, Texas, USA)

First performance: by Noah Getz, Jacqueline Pollauf, Houston Composers’ Orchestra, Karl Blench — 30 Mar 13. Zilkha Hall, The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, Houston, Texas, USA

Subjects

Performances of this work

30 Mar 13: Zilkha Hall, The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, Houston, Texas, USA. Featuring Noah Getz, Jacqueline Pollauf, Houston Composers’ Orchestra, Karl Blench.

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