for voice, flute, harp, violin, viola and cello

Gustavo Díaz-Jerez

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for voice, flute, harp, violin, viola and cello

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Composer Gustavo Díaz-Jerez
Year of Composition 2003
Duration ca.13'


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Student Difficulty

Categories (all composers) ,
Catalogue ID ce-gdj1z1


Zenith, after the poem Inerte by Belinda Sánchez Mozo, was commissioned by the 2005 “Festival de Música Contemporánea de CajaCanarias” in Spain.

The work begins with an introduction on the strings in pianissimo harmonics.  The harp subsequently introduces the main motive, which serves as a nexus throughout the entire piece. After this introduction, the flute and the voice introduce a new motive that is immediately “commented” upon and developed by the rest of the instruments. This procedure (motivic introduction in the voice followed by instrumental commentary) continues through the rest of the work. Formally, it can be framed in the simple general scheme: Exposition – Development – Re-exposition. During the development section there is a continuous accelerando that leads to a faster tempo, culminating in a climax followed by a modified re-exposition of previous material. Counterpoint and contrapuntal techniques (imitation, canon, retrograde, etc.) play an important role in the construction of Zenith. Rhythmically, it uses the Morse-Thue fractal binary sequence (0110100110010110…) as a source, where 0 represents a short value and 1 represents a long value, or vice versa. Other rhythmic structures are derived from the sequence of prime numbers (2,3,5,7,1 …). These mathematical processes give unity and provide a “skeleton” to the work.

First performed at Auditorio de la Fundación CajaCanarias, Tenerife, Spain, May 17, 2005 by Celiia Alcedo (soprano), Francisco García Castro (flute), Ségoléne Brutin (harp), José Luis Gómez (violin), Sviatoslav Belonogov (viola) and Naomí Barron (cello).