On the occasion of the 4th edition of ARCOLisboa 2019, Galerias Municipais organized a VIP Programme in the context of exhibition Stefano Serafin: Art in a State of War. The Lisbon Contemporary Music Group performed compositions by Igor Stravinsky, Jorge Peixinho and Luís Antunes Pena.
Lisbon Contemporary Music Group with
Nuno Aroso (percussion)
Pedro Junqueira Maia (coordination, direction)
IGOR STRAVINSKY [1882-1972]
‘The Soldier’s Tale’ Suite (1918) for clarinet, violin and piano
Performers: Lisbon Contemporary Music Group
This piece was written in 1918, the same year that Stravinsky, who at the time was experiencing budget problems, teamed up with Charles-Ferdinand Ramuz to create a stage and musical production that could be put on with limited resources. ‘The Soldier’s Tale’ is the story of a Russian soldier who, on his return from the war (Russia left World War I in 1917, because of the revolution), stops to play his violin and crosses paths with the devil, who offers to buy the violin (the soldier’s soul) in exchange for a magical book that predicts the future. The work made its début in the same year it was composed. Due to an outbreak of cholera, the subsequent tour never happened. The various difficulties experienced with musical performance during wartime led Stravinsky himself to rewrite the material, basing it on an instrumental ‘reduction’ of the original, thus creating a suite for clarinet, violin, and piano, which became very popular over time.
JORGE PEIXINHO [1940-1995]
Ciclo-Valsa [Waltz-Cycle] (1982) for soprano, clarinet, violin, piano, velophone and music box
Performers: Lisbon Contemporary Music Group
Part of the diptych ‘Two Minimal Pieces’, ‘Ciclo-Valsa’ was written for a variable instrumental structure, velophone (a bicycle wheel) and music boxes. The work draws on an experimental procedure that has always been characteristic of Jorge Peixinho’s composition, in the attempt to renew his language. In the words of Peixinho himself, ‘each instrument plays a variable number of musical fragments, randomly organised into cycles of different durations. […] a random work is based on an incessantly ternary metric structure (as befits a good waltz), which is followed by, added to and developed with various melodic elements with different typological characteristics. […] The overall profile of the work is based on a policyclic structure in which the individual cycles of each instrument are interchangeable amongst themselves but do not coincide with one another.’
LUÍS ANTUNES PENA [b. 1973]
Três Quadros Sobre Pedra [Three Paintings on Stone] (2008) for granite stones, percussion, and electronics
Performer: Nuno Aroso (percussion)
This piece, created with percussionist Nuno Aroso, begins with the idea of working with sonorous objects (instruments) that do not belong to the traditional family of percussion – stones of different types, sizes, and textures –, and consequently develops into the search for their characteristic sonorities, rhythmic/metric possibilities and musical structures that could be associated with the specific instruments. The idea initially called on various improvisations, yet the final written and definitive version has been meticulously planned and solidly engineered.
Ígor Stravinsky (Oranienbaum/Russia, 1882- New York, 1971) is a composer, pianist and conductor, today considered to be one of the most important musical creators not just of the 20th century, but of all time. With a career that is famous for its stylistic diversity, he is also known for the major work he carried out for Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes. One of these works – ‘T’ (1913) –, whose première provoked strong and disparate reactions, is now recognised as one of the most important works of all time and came to leave an indelible mark on the rhythmic structural process of subsequent composers.
Jorge Peixinho (Montijo 1949 – Lisbon 1995), is one of the most notable composers of his generation, Peixinho began his education at the National Conservatory of Lisbon and continued his studies in Rome, where he deepened his knowledge with Boris Porena and Goffredo Petrassi. A significant aesthetic turning point in his musical production, this allowed him to come into contact with works by the composers of the Second Viennese School, as well as the work of Stravinsky. He was influenced by the main trends of the avant-garde, namely through Pierre Boulez and Karlheinz Stockhausen in the Meisterkurse of the Basel Music Academy, Luigi Nono in Venice, and his participation in the Darmstadt courses. He was also active as a critic, music promoter and interpreter. As a composer, he won various awards that gained him national recognition, and he promoted contemporary music in Europe and South America with the Lisbon Contemporary Music Group, which he founded in 1970.
Luís Antunes Pena (Lisbon, 1973), earned a degree in composition from the Lisbon School of Music and continued his studies in Folkwang-Hochschule Essen, in Germany. Based in Germany since 1999, his production encompasses various genres of chamber and soloist music, with or without electronics, as well as acousmatic and stage music. His works have been commissioned by institutions such as the Gulbenkian Foundation, the ZKM | Karlsruhe, Philharmonie Essen, Deutscher Musikrat, Deutschlandfunk, the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kasseler Musiktage, Miso Music, the Christoph Delz Foundation, Kunst-Station Sankt Peter Köln, and Kulturstiftung Cottbus. His work was selected to be part of a series of autobiographical CDs by contemporary composers, a collection by the record label Wergo, produced by the German Music Council (Deutscher Musikrat). He is represented by sumtone.
Lisbon Contemporary Music Group
The group was founded in spring 1970 by Jorge Peixinho, with the collaboration of Clotilde Rosa, Carlos Franco and António Oliveira e Silva. They played for the first time at Sintra Festival that same year. Since then, the group has performed regularly. In 1972, they travelled abroad for the first time, participating in the Royan Contemporary Art Festival. They participated in almost every edition of the renowned Gulbenkian Contemporary Music Encounters, bringing to the stage the most recent creations of national composers as well as works by composers from all over the world, in line with each concert’s specific projects. During their 40 years in existence, they performed in various countries and participated in many contemporary music festivals around the world. Their recordings, now produced by the Catalan record label La Mà de Guido, have won acclaim from Portuguese and international music critics.
Nuno Aroso [percussion]
Aroso is one of the most active soloists in contemporary music today. He pursues his career with a focus on research with composers and the promotion of literature for percussion. After graduating from the ESMAE with distinction, he pursued his studies in Strasbourg and Paris. He has débuted over 120 works and has recorded part of this repertoire on various albums. He has been a teacher, jury member and performer in Portugal, France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Slovenia, Brazil, China, Ukraine, Thailand, South Africa, Argentina, Greece, Sweden, England, Canada, Bulgaria, Tunisia, Scotland, South Korea, Japan and Chile. The title of his doctoral thesis was ‘The Gesture´s Narrative – contemporary music for percussion’. He lectures at the Department of Music of Minho University and teaches at several other prestigious universities, conservatories and music festivals all over the world, promoting the production of masterclasses, presentations, conferences and seminars. Aroso uses Adams and Zildjian instruments and plays with Elite Mallets drumsticks.
Pedro Junqueira Maia [coordination/direction]
Maia is a composer who studied in the Music Schools of Porto and Lisbon. His work has been performed throughout the country and abroad (in South Africa, Germany, Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Spain, the USA, France, Greece, England, Italy and Mexico). He also founded the Atelier de Composição [Composition Studio], where he produces books, scores and audio and video recordings, and organises concerts, conferences, exhibitions, and various meetings between contemporary Portuguese composers. He was the artistic director of ‘Memorando Lopes-Graça’ [Remembering Lopes-Graça] (1st place IA/MC, 2006), co-director of ‘Reencontros de Música Contemporânea/Aveiro 2017’ [Contemporary Music Reunions/Aveiro 2017] (sponsored by DGArtes) and co-curator of the exhibition ‘Musonautas, Visões e Avarias 1960-2010 – 5 Décadas de Inquietação Musical no Porto’ [Musonauts, Visions and Breakdowns 1960-2010 – 5 Decades of Musical Unrest in Porto] (2018). He is studying for a doctorate in music at the Catholic University of Portugal, Porto (FCT scholarship holder). Maia is a professor of musical analysis at the University of Minho, Braga.