Polly-Birdie’s Secret Life, suite for two violins

Polly_cover

 

 

Polly-Birdie’s Secret Life, suite-palindrome for 2 violins

 

  1. Dance Through Reflection
  2. Puzzling Steps
  3. Mute Song
  4. Reflection Through Dance

 

Date of composing early versions – 2016: final edition finished in September 2018

Genre suite of four pieces

Style contemporary

Duration  [1’54”] [2’24”] [3’59”] [1’54”]

Level of difficulty advanced

Copyright © 2016-2018 Natalia Pispini

Dedication Dedicated to my beloved sister

 

Idea and musical structure

The idea behind of this music was growing slowly, from my early piece ‘Mysterious Steps’ for solo violin (2016) to the later drafts for duo violins, from, initially, 3 separated pieces cycle to 4-pieces suite with a palindromic ending.  The concept of two egos debating, fighting or coexisting in peace, and all this is inside of a weird woman’s mind, who is bearing bird-like characteristics and behavior: she is as quick in movement, light in thinking, changeable in mood, fragile in sadness as a bird could be.

While that ‘birdish’ character defines the music stylistics, the idea of the double egos is converted to the constructive principle of palindrome or mirror. Each piece of the suite solves this ‘puzzle’ in its own way.

Dance Through Reflection. G-major. Allegretto volante [1’54”]

There are two contrasting sections with dancing themes in 2/4 and 3/4. The 2nd violin plays palindromic variants of each measure of the 1st violin’s part in section 1, and the palindrome of the whole theme played by the 1st violin – in section 2.

Puzzling Steps. In A. Andante ritmico [2’24”]

This is 2-voice canon with a long temporal distance between voices and basically tritone interval relationship. The leader voice isn’t imitated exactly but with some changes in melody as well as interruptions. At the same time this is variation form where there are ‘assigned’ changes within the tones (some tones go to more extension and rhythmic transformation, and others are less modified). While the variation theme is progressing in an aggressive manner, the second, mild and compromising theme is flashing and finally takes over.

Mute Song. G-minor. Pietoso [3’59”]

The free-scale lines like in some folk song traditions resemble an improvised singing manner and serve to recreate sad mood and haunting thinking. The 2nd violin’s part is a mirror reflection of the 1st violin’s music, sometimes transported in octave higher, or enriched with additional tones. The note alteration signs are often preserved in non-convenient and ‘mistakable’ way to keep the desirable intervallic combinations between two violins.

Reflection Through Dance. G-major. Più mosso [1’54”]

It’s return to the music of the 1st piece ‘Dance Through Reflection’. The same two sections appear in opposite order: 3/4, then 2/4. Section 1 is a mirror reflection of the section 2 of the 1st piece. Section 2 is a measure-by-measure palindrome of Section 1 of the 1st piece.

 

Performance Notes

It is possible to play pieces No. 1, 2 and 4 in slower tempo than indicated.

I think that the idea of this suite might be supported by special appearance of the musicians on stage, when the first violinist dressed in white, and the second in black.

Some elements of theater or pantomime are suitable if it matches to the character of the players. (I see it in mysterious and slightly dramatic modus, not in comic one). My suggestions are: (1st piece) playing face to face, turned to the listeners by sides, and gradual changing of mutual positions; (2nd piece) playing and performing steps, i.e. slow walking on stage towards the opposite corners (or whatever can be identified like ‘corners’); (3rd piece) the players are sitting in opposite corners and turned back to the listeners; (4th) gradual returning to the initial position. It is up to the musicians to decide about the exact style of movements and gestures, and further elaboration of extra-musical aspects of their performance.

Look at the score samples    1      2      3      4

Listen to the electronic realization on YouTube:

 

! This work may be commissioned or/and performed. If you want to play this piece, please contact Natalia. In your message, kindly provide some information  (brief introduction, collective’s title, website, contact details). The score, parts and all necessary material will be sent to you within a week.

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Weaves and Tangles, for flute

Weaves_and_Tangles_common_title

 

Date of composing February 2018

Duration [3’53”], [2’44’’], [4’28’’]

Genre  character pieces for solo flute

Style contemporary, neo-romantic

Level of difficulty advanced

Copyright   © 2018 Natalia Pispini

1. In G. Allegro e Adagio. 2. In B flat. Allegretto spensierato. 3. In G. Moderato scherzando

Inspirations

The weaving lines of my artworks ‘Reused Wood Lace’ served as a primary source of inspiration for this music. The fragments of those artworks were also used to decorate the score covers and the media clips. I thought of weaving, bending and intertwining branches like motifs melodically wavy and rhythmically expressing kind of interrupted regularity. As for character, this music can be interpreted as abstract pictures (with scattered dots, curved lines and complex shapes). Or one could describe it in terms of changeable mood, capricious sensitivity, or elegance of weird dancing. Or maybe it is just ‘voices’ of the nature like birds, springs, winds, whisper of leaves, veiled and passed through the filter of individual musical ‘vision’ …

Musical structure

All pieces are stylistically similar and have the same composing principles of rhythmic changeability, metric instability, and gradual modification of scales.  The melodies are based on symmetrical or non-symmetrical scales, but the diatonic foundation and tonalities are recognizable. The variety of rhythmic patterns was applied (symmetrical, additive, divisive etc.). The musical structure is free form in piece No.1, and ternary form in pieces No.2 and 3.

Performance notes

Three pieces are independent and aimed to be performed separately, but it is possible to play them successively as a cycle. No extended technique is needed. Nevertheless, many rhythmical and textural challenges claim for the advanced level of difficulty.

! These works can be commissioned or / and performed. To get the score(s) for your performance please visit my contact page and apply providing all required information. The scores are free of charge.

Look at the score samples:

Weaves and Tangles 1

Weaves and Tangles 2

Weaves and Tangles 3

Watch the scores with computer-generated sound on YouTube :

 

 

 

Morning Leaves Palette, for flute quartet

Morning_Leaves_Palette_title_

In F.

  1. Adagio quasi sognando
  2. Allegretto fragile

 

Title Morning Leaves Palette

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 dreamed 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 MIDI-generated excerpt on YouTube

! This work may be commissioned or/and performed. If you want to play it, please contact Natalia. In your message, kindly provide some information  (brief introduction, ensemble title, website, contact details). The score, parts and all necessary material will be sent to you within a week.

Explore my other works for chamber ensemble

 

После дождя / After the rain, on A. Blok’s poem for a cappella SATB chorus

 

 

From : Two choral songs on Alexander Blok’s poems

Title После дождя / After the rain

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 and watch MIDI-realization on YouTube

! This work may be commissioned or/and performed. If you want to perform this song, please contact Natalia. In your message, kindly provide some information  (brief introduction, collective’s title, website, contact details). The score, parts and all necessary material will be sent to you within a week.

Explore my other choral compositions

Two choral songs on Alexander Blok’s poems

Blok_comon_title

  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

! These works may be commissioned or/and performed. If you want to perform these songs, please contact Natalia. In your message, kindly provide some information  (brief introduction, ensemble title, website, contact details). The score, parts and all necessary material will be sent to you within a week.

The Gods of Old are Silent, on Lord Byron’s poem for 2-parts chorus, piano, and flute

For a long time I wanted to compose a choral work with English lyrics but related to Greece. Among the first things there was Lord Byron’s philhellenism that came to my mind, and after searching I found one of his poems, a passage which is practically unknown. It looks rather like an unfinished draft, but the more I was reading it, the more impact it had on me. At once, this rough but yet genius fragment had given to me what I was seeking for: a retrospective view where great Greek mythology, history and spirit of freedom would be condensed just in few lines. Thus I’d made my choice. The choral song is easy to perform, it has only two choral parts (soprano-alto and tenor-bass). The flute pastoral solo (reference to ‘the mighty Pan’) had been added to the classical chorus+piano ensemble as an option.

Structure and technique

The song is in C major, Con moto e narrante. The lyrics are Lord Byron’s passage from his unfinished poem ‘Aristomenes’ written in Cephalonia island in September 1823, shortly after his arriving to Greece to help the Greek people in the liberation:

The Gods of old are silent on the shore.
Since the great Pan expired, and through the roar
Of the Ionian waters broke a dread
Voice which proclaimed “the Mighty Pan is dead.”
How much died with him! false or true—the dream
Was beautiful which peopled every stream
With more than finny tenants, and adorned
The woods and waters with coy nymphs that scorned
Pursuing Deities, or in the embrace
Of gods brought forth the high heroic race
Whose names are on the hills and o’er the seas.

The musical form is free and reflects the text. Natural modes have been chosen as the appropriate for the solemn, epic character of the piece. The phrases are evenly distributed between female and male voices to provide the easiness of singing of choral texture, and that makes the work suitable for amateur singers (while the piano and the flute parts should be considered of intermediate level of difficulty).

Performance notes

The performance is expected to move in moderate tempo and strict, stable rhythm. The flute part is optional and can be omitted.

Date of composing March 2017

Genre choral song for mixed 2-parts chorus, piano and flute

Language English

Style Neo-Romantic

Duration [2’20”]

Level of difficulty beginner or amateur chorus

Copyrights music: © 2017 Natalia Pispini; George Gordon Byron’s poem ‘Aristomenes’ from public domain (https://en.wikisource.org)

Look at the score sample

Listen to the MIDI-rendering on YouTube

! This work may be commissioned or/and performed. If you want to play this piece, please contact Natalia. In your message, kindly provide some information  (brief introduction, collective’s title, website, contact details). The score, parts and all necessary material will be sent to you within a week.

Previous performances: The first performance was on June 24, 2017, in Orestiada, Greece. read more…

 

Explore my other choral works

…the only lily…(improvisation)

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