a symphonic poem for clarinet in Bb and orchestra

Gustavo Díaz-Jerez

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a symphonic poem for clarinet in Bb and orchestra

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Composer Gustavo Díaz-Jerez
Year of Composition 2012
Duration ca.25'

Categories (all composers) ,
Catalogue ID ce-gdj1a3


Ayssuragan, literally meaning “the place of freezing” in the extinct language of the Guanches (aborigines of the Canary Islands), refers to the place where, in the final moments of the European conquest of the island of La Palma, the non-combatant population took refuge and died. Written for my friend the clarinetist Cristo Barrios, Ayssuragan is a clarinet concerto conceived as a symphonic poem, in which the orchestral part plays a key role, not limited to a mere accompaniment of the solo part. Structured in a single movement of about twenty minutes, it freely combines elements of the spectralist school with computational and algorithmic procedures based on mathematical models. This serves only as a compositional scaffolding that gives unity and coherence to the whole, but go completely unnoticed to the listener.

The elements that make up the musical material of Ayssuragan are combined in a way such that the whole is of greater complexity and richness than the mere sum of its constituent parts. This phenomenon, known as emergence, is a common characteristic of many natural processes and the very genesis of life. Emergence has been a source of inspiration for the composition of the work.

Ayssuragan begins with a cadenza for the clarinet of desolate character, subtly accompanied by the percussion section. This cadenza introduces most of the thematic material that will then be used throughout the work. The orchestra gradually becomes more present, culminating in a climax that gives way to a faster and more vigorous section. After a long development, this section concludes with a very powerful tutti, leading to a longer cadeza for the clarinet occasionally interrupted by orchestral interludes. After the cadenza, a desolate and cold landscape follows, bathed in string harmonics and interspersed with solos of the woodwinds. A modified recapitulation of the rhythmical section previously heard is presented again, leading to an energetic climax. Little by little, this climax is dissolved and as the orchestral texture ascends to the extreme-high register. The piece ends with the painful song of the clarinet in a cold, static orchestral accompaniment.

Ayssuragan was premiered on 14 December 2012 by the Symphonic Orchestra of Tenerife under the baton of Antoine Marguier with Cristo Barrios as a soloist at the Auditorium Adán Martín of Tenerife.

Premiere: World premiere. Auditorio Adán Martín de Tenerife. 14 December, 2012 Orquesta Sinfónica de Tenerife Antoine Marguier, conductor Cristo Barrios, clarinet.

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