Metaludios (Book V)

for piano solo

Gustavo Díaz-Jerez

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Composer Gustavo Díaz-Jerez
Year of Composition 2020
Duration -
Instrumentation Piano
Categories (all composers) ,
Catalogue ID ce-gdj1m5


These two new books of metaludios (books IV & V), which continue the three already recorded on a CD released in 2018, explore new sound territories through the piano. Science is once again the main pillar underlying the compositional process of these twelve new pieces. Multiple scientific disciplines serve as generators of musical raw material: biology (L-system, Mice music), psychoacoustics (Eigengrau), astronomy (Boötes void, Cassini’s dream), artificial intelligence and machine learning (Hidden states), as well as pure mathematics (Belphegor’s prime). As in the previous three books, I have also found inspiration in mythological figures (Melussyne, Stribog), and have paid tribute to artists I admire (Omaggio a Carlo Gesualdo, La spiral del viento, Pavana triste).  Many of the metaludios use electronics and inside-the-piano extended techniques, not as mere effects but as a necessary and integrating part of the musical discourse. It is important to me, as performer as well as composer, that the pianistic writing is as comfortable and ergonomic as possible, but without distorting the original idea or sacrificing brilliant and virtuosic writing.  Since the composition of the first metaludios, back in 2013, I have learned that the sound possibilities of the piano have only one limit: our own imagination.

The role of the performer-composer has had an enormous importance in piano literature. It is unnecessary to enumerate the quantity and quality of works emanating from this symbiosis throughout history. As a performer, addressing the repertoire with which I feel close is always a need and a source of satisfaction. As a composer, each blank page reveals a new space in which to experiment and express myself artistically. Giving birth to new piano repertoire is a huge challenge, given the immense body of great works behind me. Despite this, I firmly believe that there is still a lot of territory to discover.

The Metaludios are relatively short works grouped in books of six pieces. In this CD I present the first three, totaling eighteen pieces. This project started in 2013 but does not end here; the fourth book is almost finished and a fifth is on its way.

The word Metaludio is derived from the prefix meta-, “beyond” and the suffix –ludio, from the Latin ludēre, “to play”, “to exercise”. When coining this word, I tried to encompass these pieces beyond the usual preludes, interludes, etc. I have tried to give each Metaludio its own character, with distinguishing features that define its identity and differentiate it from the next. The titles give them away, sometimes because of the underlying scientific process, sometimes because of a mythological story behind, a tribute to a specific artist, or simply because of a sound resource that develops and grows in complexity. The first book arose at the request of my friend and colleague Marta Zabaleta, who was also in charge of its premiere.

As usual in my compositional language, I combine scientific and mathematical elements with musical trends towards which I feel special affinity. The former includes the use of fractals, number theory, cellular automata, analysis of the harmonic spectrum, psychoacoustics, etc. The latter concerns elements of the spectralist movement, electroacoustic, and inside-the-piano techniques. These procedures provide me with musical raw material with which I model the work, but always from the perspective of the performer. For me, pianistic comfort and ergonomics are of vital importance when composing for the instrument.

I believe that we can embrace without prejudice the artistic material of the past—the familiar, the known—and merge it with the technological tools at our disposal. It is not about breaking or denying tradition, but about extending and expanding the sound possibilities of the instrument in order to discover new piano landscapes.

First performed at Conservatorio Superior de Badajoz, Spain, May 2018 by Gustavo Díaz-Jerez (piano).

Click here to view the full set of Metaludios (Books I to V).