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Un brillo en la oscuridad : for piano trio

by Andrián Pertout (2013)

Work Overview

Composed between May and June, 2013 Un brillo en la oscuridad or 'A Glow in the Dark' was commissioned by the Firebird Trio (Melbourne, Australia), and especially for the occasion of a concert entitled 'Gretchen/Faust and Love' presented by the Firebird Trio (Roger Jonsson - violin, Josephine Vains - violoncello, Benjamin Martin - pianoforte) in July, 2013 at the Melbourne Recital Centre. The concert represents the second instalment of their 'For Faust's Sake: 2013 Concert Series', which spans three concerts with musical connections to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's (1749-1832) tragic play Faust, and includes the performance of works by Arcangelo Corelli, Ferrucio Busoni, Franz Schubert, Joseph Haydn, Franz Liszt, Ludwig van Beethoven, Don Kay, Igor Stravinsky, and Johannes Brahms, as well as three new compositions by Tony Gould, Andrián Pertout and Paul Grabowsky based on a leitmotif utilized in Trevor Jones' film score of Angel Heart (1987) - an American psychological horror film written and directed by Alan Parker, and starring Mickey Rourke, Robert De Niro, and Lisa Bonet, based on the Faust legend.

The source of the leitmotif utilized in Angel Heart (1987) is the chorus (refrain) melody of 'Girl Of My Dreams' (1927) by Sonny Clapp (1899-1962). 'Un brillo en la oscuridad' quotes this melody, as well as Trevor Jones' (1949-) 'Revelation' cue from Angel Heart (1987). The materials are incorporated via a compositional process structured around tempo canons (or diminution canons, expressed as polyrhythmic ratios: 3/4/5 and 4/5/6/7), as well as melodic, harmonic and rhythmic transformation based on the theoretical writings of Joseph Schillinger (1895-1943) - published posthumously as part of The Schillinger System of Musical Composition (1978) and Encyclopedia of Rhythms: Instrumental Forms of Harmony (2003). The 3/4/5 polyrhythmic ratios present a tripartite metrical scheme, which essentially juxtaposes three distinct layers of materials simultaneously at 88, 117.3 and 146.7 crotchets per minute, while the 4/5/6/7 polyrhythmic ratios, a quadripartite metrical scheme, juxtaposing four distinct layers of materials simultaneously at 82.1, 102.7, 123.2 and 143.7 crotchets per minute (the latter realized within the closing section of the work, following the metric modulation in bar 156). The canonic materials additionally form polytonal inversion canons with both consonant and dissonant key relationships (i.e. more than five notes in common, less than five notes in common).

Work Details

Year: 2013

Instrumentation: Violin, cello, pianoforte.

Duration: 8 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — Professsional

Commission note: Commissioned by Firebird Trio.

First performance: by Firebird Trio at Firebird Trio - Faust and Love (Salon - Melbourne Recital Centre) on 3 Jul 2013

Composer's work no. 423

Performances of this work

9 Nov 16: Abelardo Hall Auditorium, College of Music, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines, as part of the 33rd Asian Composers League (ACL) Festival & Conference. Featuring Grupo 20/21 Modular Music Ensemble.

3 Jul 2013: at Firebird Trio - Faust and Love (Salon - Melbourne Recital Centre). Featuring Firebird Trio.

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