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

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