Pagodas Sailing in Clouds, for woodwind quartet

 

Title Pagodas Sailing in Clouds

Date of composing September 2017

Duration [3’04”]

Genre piece for woodwind quartet (flute, oboe, Bb clarinet, bassoon)

Style contemporary, ethnic (Chinese), neo-romantic, post-impressionistic

Copyright  © 2017 Natalia Pispini

 

Description

In F.  Adagio arioso. It is music about something vague, obscure and ever-changing like clouds in mountains and objects behind them that appear and disappear. I used pentatonic scales, and so I thought, somewhere in the beginning of working for this piece, that it could be about Chinese pagodas hidden in mountain clouds in motion.

 

The piece is composed with use of contrapuntal technique of imitations and variation technique, and it is implementing different types of the pentatonic scale. It has the form A A1 AA3 where A2 and A3 can be interpreted as a middle section and a recapitulation. There are 3 contrast themes: the ‘calls’ (in the beginnings of each phrase), the theme with contrapuntal ‘flowing’ texture (the ‘body’ of the phrases), and the staccato motifs (in the end of phrases). The ‘calls’ are played with delay which creates the sonoric effect of folk-like playing, a bit out of coordination.

 

Performance notes

No extended technique is required. Flexibility in reading modal scales and non-standard rhythm, good skills of playing within extended pitch ranges, and quick staccato technique (for flute, clarinet and bassoon) are necessary for the best performance of this composition.

Look at the score sample

If you want to play this piece, please contact Natalia.

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Morning Leaves Palette, for flute quartet

Morning_Leaves_Palette_title_

 

In F.

  1. Adagio quasi sognando
  2. Allegretto fragile

 

Date of composing August 2017

Genre suite in two movements (slow-fast)

Style contemporary, Neo-Romantic

Duration [5’18”], [2’05”]

Level of difficulty advanced

Copyright © 2017 Natalia Pispini

 

Idea and musical structure

Looking at the forest foliage in summer morning, I wanted to set those images to music. I thought of different colors of green, their obscure transition and mixture, the sun light coming and illuminating new sites and corners before masked in shadow…

For this task, the quartet of 4 flutes in C, I thought, would be suitable.

The constructive principles of the piece came as the continuation of the idea of a morning leaves palette. It is the ‘mixing’ and ‘blurring’ motifs, and the shimmering of major / minor keys (as similar to lights and shades). The thirds and the sixths intervals in various combinations play important role in the whole construction. While working, I developed at least two different ways of how these principles can be applied, and, in order to display both ways, I composed two movements in slow-fast scheme. The second movement follows the first immediately (attacca).

  1. Adagio quasi sognando. Consisting of several blocks which are like different kind of images grasped by the sunrays. The blocks, although have different texture, follow certain tonal scheme. Instead of direct joining the blocks I used the technique of ‘blurring’ the borders, when the sound of the following block appears while the previous one still goes, and the sound of the previous block is echoing while the new one comes. Technically, you can create this ‘blurring’ in various ways. Here, for blurring sectors I used arithmetic and geometric rhythmic progressions. The same set of blocks is repeated twice, with slight ‘blurring’ variations, in order to prolong the impressions, to make them yet more static and expository.

 

  1. Allegretto fragile. The major / minor keys shimmering and the thirds / sixths intervals are intertwined with polyphonic form based on a 4-voice canon. So called ‘simple’ canon (imitations come at the unison), rhythmically plain, but has structural complications.

Performance notes

The flute players are better to be located spaciously on the stage in order to achieve the stereo effects in some episodes of the 1st mvt., and all along the 2nd mvt.

The 1st mvt. needs exact rhythmic reading. Before the longer notes the short breathing breaks are possible. Legato should be applied everywhere when appropriate.

The 2nd mvt. has moderate volume between mp and mf, and quiets down by the end.

 

Look at the score samples  1st mvt.    2nd mvt

Listen to the MIDI excerpt on SoundCloud

Listen to the MIDI excerpts + score samples on YouTube

 

If you like the suite and want to play it, please contact me.

Natalia

После дождя / After the rain, choral song on Alexander Block’s poem

 

From : Two choral songs on Alexander Blok’s poems

Date of composing March 2016

Genre choral songs for mixed SATB chorus a cappella

Language Russian

Style Romantic, Neo-Romantic

Duration [2’00”]

Level of difficulty advanced

Dedication to Nina A. Zharkova

Copyrights music: © 2016 Natalia Pispini; lyrics: Alexander Block’s poems from public domain

Idea and musical structure

In A. Andante. Working on the melody in this song, I tried to express the images coming out of the verses: a rain’s rare drops, a stream’s murmuring, flowers’ opening, birds’ calling are heard in the melodic outline. The form is free and following the lyrics. The texture is almost transparent, and the harmonies are ‘sharp’. The vocal ranges: soprano – D4 – A5, alto – B3 – C-sharp5, tenor – C-sharp3 – E-sharp4, bass – A2 – G-sharp3.

Lyrics

Russain text

Сирени бледные дождем к земле прибиты…

Замолкла песня соловья;

Немолчно говор слышится сердитый

Разлитого ручья…

 

Природа ждет лучей обетованных:

Цветы поднимут влажный лик,

И вновь в моих садах благоуханных

Раздастся птичий крик…

 

English transliteration

Sireni blednye dozhdyom k zemle pribity…

Zamolkla pesnya solov’ya;

Nemolchno govor slyshitsya serdityy

Razlitovo ruch’ya…

 

Priroda zhdyot luchey obetovannykh:

Tsvety podnimut vlazhnyy lik,

I vnov’ v moikh sadakh blagoukhannykh

Razdastsya ptichiy krik…

 

English translation

Pale lilacs are nailed to the ground by rain

The nightingale’s song has fallen silent;

Incessantly, a grumpy murmur is heard

Out of the flooded stream …

 

The nature is waiting for the promised rays:

The flowers will rise their moist faces,

And in my aromatic gardens, once again,

The bird calls will resound…

 

Performance notes.

1.The piece has a subtle, sophisticated character. It should be performed with light rubato. 2. The piece contains dissonant harmonies which need special care when singing a cappella. 3. The voice ranges are demanding: while the soprano and alto parts have extension at their higher range, the tenor part has the extended lower range. 4. The sustained notes require unnoticeable, non-simultaneous breathing.

 

Look at the score sample

Listen to the MIDI excerpt on SoundCloud

Listen and watch the MIDI excerpt + score sample on YouTube

Listen to and watch the whole piece as media clip on YouTube

Purchase the score + parts on Sheet Music Plus

Purchase the score + parts on Etsy

Я стремлюсь к роскошной воле / I seek for the splendid vast, choral song on Alexander Block’s poem

 

From : Two choral songs on Alexander Blok’s poems

Date of composing March 2016

Genre choral songs for mixed SATTB chorus a cappella

Language Russian

Style Romantic

Duration [2’09”]

Level of difficulty intermediate to advanced

Dedication to Nina A. Zharkova

Copyrights music: © 2016 Natalia Pispini; lyrics: Alexander Block’s poems from public domain

Idea and musical structure

D major. Largo. Notwithstanding the poem’s romanticism, I wanted to create music of calm and almost epic, objective character, oriented toward the early Russian choral manner. Slow motion, syllabic texture and regular rhythm of the lines through the whole composition are working for this stylization. The piece has ABA1 form. The harmonies are simple but colored by additional dissonant tones. The ranges are: soprano – C-sharp4 – G5, alto – B3 – A4, tenor I – B3 – E4, tenor II – E3 – A-sharp4, bass –  A2 – D3. (Originally, the song was composed in C major, i.e. in lower range, complying with the Russian choral style.)

Lyrics

Russian text

 [Там один и был цветок,

Ароматный, несравненный

Жуковский]*

Я стремлюсь к роскошной воле,

Мчусь к прекрасной стороне,

Где в широком чистом поле

Хорошо, как в чудном сне.

Там цветут и клевер пышный,

И невинный василек,

Вечно шелест легкий слышно:

Колос клонит… Путь далек!

Есть одно лишь в океане,

Клонит лишь одно траву…

Ты не видишь там, в тумане,

Я увидел – и сорву!

English transliteration

Ya stremlyus’ k roskoshnoy vole,

Mchus’ k prekrasnoy storone,

Gde v shirokom chistom pole

Khorosho, kak v chudnom sne.

Tam tsvetut i klever pyshnyy,

I nevinnyy vasilyok,

Vechno shelest lyogkiy slyshno:

Kolos klonit… Put’ dalyok!

Yest’ odno lish’ v okeane,

Klonit lish’ odno travu…

Ty ne vidish’ tam v tumane,

Ya uvidel – I sorvu!

English translation

[There was only one flower,

Aromatic, nonpareil

Zhukovsky]*

I seek for the splendid vast,

I rush to the beautiful land,

Where, in a wide smooth meadow,

It’s as good as in a dream.

They’re blooming there: a pompous clover

And an innocent cornflower,

Forever, a rustle’s slightly heard:

The ears are bending… The path is long!

There is only one thing in the ocean,

Only one that bends the grass…

You don’t see it there, in the mist,

I’ve seen, and I’ll pick it up!

* The original poem has an epigraph taken from Russian poet V.A. Zhukovsky (displayed for informative purposes only).

Performance notes.

1.The piece has a maestoso manner. It goes with the same mood and tempo from the beginning to the end. 2. It is meant for performance without any audible breathing breaks (i.e., the non-simultaneous breaths applied) except of the self-evident pauses at the end of composition. Otherwise, the very short breaths are possible at the end of the phrases. 3. The tenor part is constantly divisi to create additional harmonic colors, and should be treated with care in order not to dominate over other voices. 4. The bass part is better to sing by deep profundo-like voices.

 

Look at the score sample

Listen to the MIDI excerpt on SoundCloud

Listen and watch the MIDI excerpt + score sample on YouTube

Listen to and watch the whole piece as media clip on YouTube

Purchase the score + parts on Sheet Music Plus

Purchase the score + parts on Etsy

Two choral songs on Alexander Blok’s poems

Two_choral_songs

  1. Я стремлюсь к роскошной воле / I seek for the splendid vast. D major. Largo
  2. После дождя / After the rain. In A. Andante

 

Date of composing March 2016

Genre choral songs for mixed SATTB / SATB chorus a cappella

Language Russian

Style Romantic, Neo-Romantic

Duration [2’09”], [2’00”]

Level of difficulty intermediate to advanced; advanced

Dedication to Nina A. Zharkova

Copyrights music: © 2016 Natalia Pispini; lyrics: Alexander Block’s poems from public domain

I am glad to introduce another choral works bringing further exploration of the harmonic and textural possibilities of the Romantic music style. It is my second opus (after the cycle on Walt Whitman’s lyrics) composed for mixed a cappella chorus.

The choice was made for two early poems by Russian symbolist poet Alexander Blok (1880-1921), written in 1898-1899. These poems are not so peculiar to the famous symbolist style of Blok; they rather reflect views of a young, daydreaming and romantic personality, with ardent and idealistic attitude to the world around. The poems reveal admiration for the nature but there is also veiled parallelism to the psychological plane of human existence. These early poems by Blok truly bear a resemblance to the works of another Russian Romantic poetry master, Fyodor Tyutchev.

The songs are dedicated to Nina A. Zharkova, my first teacher of music.

For the Russian lyrics, I provide my own literal English translation (and the transliteration can be checked at the links below).

No.1. Я стремлюсь к роскошной воле / Ya stremlyus’ k roskoshnoy vole / I seek for the splendid vast

Russian text

Я стремлюсь к роскошной воле,

Мчусь к прекрасной стороне,

Где в широком чистом поле

Хорошо, как в чудном сне.

Там цветут и клевер пышный,

И невинный василек,

Вечно шелест легкий слышно:

Колос клонит… Путь далек!

Есть одно лишь в океане,

Клонит лишь одно траву…

Ты не видишь там, в тумане,

Я увидел – и сорву!

 

English translation

I seek for the splendid vast,

I rush to the beautiful land,

Where, in a wide smooth meadow,

It’s as good as in a dream.

They’re blooming there: a pompous clover

And an innocent cornflower,

Forever, a rustle’s slightly heard:

The ears are bending… The path is long!

There is only one thing in the ocean,

Only one that bends the grass…

You don’t see it there, in the mist,

I’ve seen, and I’ll pick it up!

 

No.2. После дождя / After the rain

Russian text

Сирени бледные дождем к земле прибиты…

Замолкла песня соловья;

Немолчно говор слышится сердитый

Разлитого ручья…

 

Природа ждет лучей обетованных:

Цветы поднимут влажный лик,

И вновь в моих садах благоуханных

Раздастся птичий крик…

 

English translation

The pale lilacs are nailed to the ground by rain…

The nightingale’s song has fallen silent;

Incessantly, a grumpy murmur is heard

Out of the flooded stream …

 

The nature’s waiting for the promised rays:

The flowers will raise their moist faces,

And again, in my fragrant gardens,

The bird calls will resound…

 

The works are independent from each other and do not constitute a cycle. Both choruses are quite slow (1 – Largo, 2 – Andante) and require long breathing technique. Look at the descriptions of each chorus at the links below.

Я стремлюсь к роскошной воле / I seek for the splendid vast

После дождя / After the rain

On Desert Rose

On Desert Rose, for guitar quartet

Date of composing June 2017

Genre program Romantic piece, fantasy, musical poem

Style Neo-Romantic, Romantic, Arabic ethnic

Duration [11′]

Level of difficulty intermediate

Copyright © 2017 Natalia Pispini   all rights reserved

Description

In D, Lontano. Lento sostenuto.  A program composition inspired by Arabian desert, its nature and culture, and based on the poem composed specifically for this music by Natalia Pispini.

In spring 2017, I received the suggestion from classical guitarist César Mora to compose a piece for his ensemble Cairo Guitar Collective based in Cairo, Egypt. The proposition was to compose music which would reflect Arabic elements. I liked the idea and the new challenge of composing for the guitar. Some years ago I have visited the National Museum in Riyadh where I was impressed by the desert rose, the rock formation with amazing scheme of rose petals (the photo of this rock is used in the image above). So, I thought of the desert like metaphor of death, loneliness, indifference, while the rose could symbolize life, love, expectations… Thus, the fabula, then the poem and the music were created.

Poem

ON  DESERT  ROSE

… no one can see her beauty

after the wind ’s soft blowing

the desert rose’s come to life at night

 

her unexpected beauty

 

and in the morning  – a breathless rock again

one has to guard another spring

as month shaban ’ll be coming

in hazy gleams of sickle moon hilal

guard as it ‘ll breeze from south …

 

Program plot can be described as following:

It had happened in a lonely desert. There was a stone desert rose. Once by night, in spring, in month shaban, under the crescent moon hilal, after the south wind the stone desert rose had become an alive flower. It revealed its shining beauty but nobody could see it in the desert at night. The morning and the sunrise came, and the rose became a stone again.

Musical themes

The main musical themes are those of

desert (mm.1-16),

night and loneliness (mm. 16-19, 28-39),

crescent moon (mm. 50-53),

south wind (mm. 63-66),

desert rose crystal stone (mm. 20-26),

desert rose as a beautiful flower (mm. 112-127),

morning light of the sunrise (mm. 156-169).

Musical structure

The musical structure is a long Romantic program piece with 4 major sections:

Introduction (Lontano) It’s like the beginning of a fairy-tale. Refers to the place of the story, the Arabian desert.

Exposition (Lento sostenuto. Lento arioso. Con moto etc., letters A-B) shows the initial situation (it is night in the desert, there is a stone rose, and the crescent moon is on the sky, and the south wind is blowing).

Middle Section (Meno mosso. Più mosso etc., letters C-D) describes how the stone rose became an alive flower, and show its beauty.

Final Section (Lento sostenuto. Lento arioso, letters E-F-G) reminds about the desert, night and loneliness, and leads to the end of the story (the morning is coming with the sunrise, and the rose becomes a stone again).

Arabic influence

When composing this music, the particular elements of Arabic music were used.

Sometimes the texture is affected by the Arabic oud playing manners.

There are so called ‘arabesques’ ornamenting the melody.

Finally, the Arabic maqams are represented:

Hijaz (themes of desert, night and loneliness),

Saba (theme of the stone desert rose),

Bayati (theme of moon),

Huzam (themes of the wind and the rose flower).

These maqams are interpreted as elements of Romantic / Neo-Romantic music style.

Performance notes

All the tempo changes are suggested by the composer and can be revised or omitted by the musicians according to their taste and professional level. Since the music has a character of a fantasy / fairy story, it’s tempo rubato can be played in various ways.

View the score sample

Listen to MIDI excerpt on YouTube

 

…the only lily…

The only lily

This lily pond in a botanical garden in Kuala-Lumpur (Malaysia), probably, was not so bright in the season we had visited it: dry and dying plants, lots of duckweed, reflected grey-coated sky and unclean and humid air around… Yet the pond was very attractive. There were few water flowers left, pure beauty, whose pale white heads stayed obscured and almost unnoticed. Since I am an amateur in photography, I could not make any better photo, anyway it is one of my favorite image from our Malaysian collection. As for music, in my current improvisation I tried to follow that rather gloomy atmosphere and an indistinct beauty somewhere there. I chose a mysterious sound of a woodwinds ensemble, chromatic scale and partially parallel and synchronized motion of ’empty’ intervals.

Title …the only lily…

Genre improvisation (live playing on MIDI-keyboard)

Tasks woodwinds; chromatic scale, fourths / fifths / tritone intervals; expression of gloom and obscured beauty

Duration [3’00]

Date of creating May 15, 2017

Copyright © 2017 Natalia Pispini

(Raw score is available on demand. Also you can order a music of similar style from Natalia)

Watch on YouTube