for orchestra

Gustavo Díaz-Jerez

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Composer Gustavo Díaz-Jerez
Year of Composition 2015
Duration ca.23'

Categories (all composers)
Catalogue ID ce-gdj1c2


Chigaday is a Guanche word that refers to a rocky formation on the Canary Island of La Gomera. According to the historian and writer Benito Pérez Armas in his work La baja del secreto, “on a Sunday in January 1488, the last islanders who resist in the cliffs of Chigaday decide to ‘die before surrendering to the enemy soldiers’”. It is not this event, however, the main motivation for the creation Chigaday, but the beautiful natural landscapes found on this island: its laurel forests, the extraordinary rocky formation of Los Órganos, its wild marine landscapes, etc. Chigaday was commissioned by the Fundación Autor and AEOS (Asociación Española de Orquestas Sinfónicas) at the request of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Tenerife.

As with other pieces of the cycle, Chigaday merges elements from the spectralist school, where timbre plays a fundamental role, with algorithmic procedures drawn from mathematics. Numerous sonorities in Chigaday are constructed from natural harmonics (especially the 5th, 7th, and 11th prime harmonics, which are significantly deviated from the standard tempered tuning). Its use is especially abundant in the strings and brass sections. The computational universe has also served as a source of inspiration and starting point to generate melodic, rhythmic, textural, and formal material, which has subsequently been modified and developed throughout the piece. Fractals, numerical series, rhythmic cells derived from mathematical processes make up the structure of the work. Many textures in Chigaday are constructed from electronically generated sounds which have been subsequently “transcribed” to standard notation using the expressive possibilities of orchestral instruments. Special emphasis has been placed on maintaining the essence of these processes. The concept of emergence takes on a special meaning here. Complexity is not imposed for free, but arises, “emerges” from the entanglement and interaction of many small parts, apparently simpler, but that together make up a whole of greater complexity and richness than the mere sum of those parts. Emergence is the underlying basis in countless natural processes, including the genesis of life itself. As the great English poet William Blake said, “to see the world in a grain of sand.”

Premiere: June 3, 2016.  Symphonic Orchestra of Tenerife, Perry So Work. Work commissioned by Fundación Autor and AEOS

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