Sunset Gleams of Ardas River, for alto flute

Sunset_Gleams_of_Ardas_River-title

Date of composing May 2016

Duration [3’59”], [1’02’’]

Genre  suite in two movements

Style contemporary, neo-romantic, ethnic (Greek)

Level of difficulty advanced

Dedication ‘dedicated to dear Dimitri’

Copyright   © 2016 Natalia Pispini

 

Description

In B. Largo poetico / In C. Allegretto semplice.

This is a suite in two movements which are contrasting to each other in sense of structure (AA1 vs. ABCD), tempo (slow – fast), rhythm (irregular vs. regular rhythm), mode (tonal centre B vs. tonal centre C) and character (meditative vs. active and mercurial). It was inspired by the evening sun gleaming in a river, and I thought of expressing the gleams of two kinds: one can see them as calming, soothing (looking at the smooth parts of a river) or as livening, cheering up (looking at the swirls and currents). There are other ‘gleams’ reflected in this music, those are birds’ voices saying their goodbye to the sun (in 1st mvt.), and an echo from an imaginary distant Greek folk orchestra playing traditional Thracian round dance ‘Lianochortaroudia’(in 2nd mvt.).

The scales are enneatonic:

1st mvt. B-C#-D#-F-F#-G-A-A#

2nd mvt. C- Db-D-Eb-F-G-A-Bb-B

 

Performance notes

1st mvt. Tempo rubato means that the duration of all notes, pauses and fermatas are optional and can be slightly resized according the performer’s taste. The sign ⌐ marks the beginning of each phrase. The sign ’  means the short breathing break.

1st mvt. The tremolo fragments with ‘Lianochortaroudia’ (see mm.7-10 and similar) are in whispering, bisbigliando manner.

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

! 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, ensemble title, website, contact details). The score, parts and all necessary material will be sent to you within a week.

 

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”…Облака заволокли небо, и мы почти не заметили как это случилось. Солнце, еще не закатившись, слегка померкло. Вода в реке, обычно серая или зеленоватая, начала отливать свинцовой синевой. Река блестела и затихла. Мы наблюдали за прибывающими облаками и убывающим светом.  Неожиданно быстро подкрались сумерки. Издали доносились звуки народного оркестра, преломленные в вечернем воздухе. Река потемнела, зашумела. Облака почернели. Наступала ночь, но характер ее казался необычным: эта была ночь на исходе лета…” (Natalia’s writing inspired by this work)

 

 

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Over Cool Waters Bridge, for chamber ensemble (flexible score)

Title Over Cool Waters Bridge

Date of composing  November 2016

Duration   [3’22”]

Genre piece for chamber ensemble with flexible score: flute, oboe (or Bb clarinet), bass clarinet (or bassoon), contrabassoon (or double bass), harp (or 4 guitars), celesta and harpsichord (or piano for 4 hands)

Style  romantic, ethnic (Asian)

Level of difficulty  from beginner to intermediate

Copyright   © 2017 Natalia Pispini

 

Description

A minor / A major. Allegretto grazioso.

This music is about meeting the past love, hope and dreams. Everything is gone, yet there are sweet memories. Keeping them through the cold waters of broken relationships is the key for the future recollecting the soul.

The use of contrapuntal imitations and pentatonic scales are the main composing technique of this piece. The form is strophic ABA1B1.  The texture is transparent, and the rhythm is limited up to several durations only (like in some Japanese or Chinese folk music styles).

 

Performance notes

Although the composer thinks the original scoring is the best to achieve the desirable sound effect and the fragile mood of this composition, it can be played by different instruments defined in the description above. The tempo should be kept the same from the beginning to the end. The manner of playing is expected to be slightly emotionally distant, subtle and elegant. It is suitable to play for musicians with various background experiences, as well as for amateurs.

 

Look at the score sample

Watch YouTube clip

! 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, 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 ensembles

Fire-Flowers, on E.P. Johnson’s poem for a cappella SATB chorus

 

Date of composing October 2017

Genre choral song for mixed SATB chorus a cappella

Language English

Style Neo-Romantic, contemporary, ethnic

Duration [2’16”]

Level of difficulty intermediate to advanced

Copyrights music: © 2016 Natalia Pispini; lyrics: Emily Pauline Johnson’s poems from public domain

 

Idea and musical structure

B minor. Lento. The song has slightly severe and bitter mood affected by the poetic meaning of the verses. The strophic AA1 form follows the two couplets of the poem. The harmonies are of the romantic style, enriched by additional dissonant tones and dynamic modulations to distant tonalities. There are some features of Mohawk (Native American) music as well: ‘trichord’ pitch sets, dotted rhythms and sung syllables. The ranges are: soprano – F4 – G5, alto – A3 – A4, tenor – D3 – E4, bass – G2 – A3.

 

Lyrics

For this choral song, I chose a remarkable poem ‘Fire-Flowers’ by Emily Pauline Johnson (1861-1913), Canadian and Mohawk poet, writer and performer.

EPJohnson1

Fire-Flowers

by Emily Pauline Johnson

And only where the forest fires have sped,
Scorching relentlessly the cool north lands,
A sweet wild flower lifts its purple head,
And, like some gentle spirit sorrow-fed,
It hides the scars with almost human hands.

And only to the heart that knows of grief,
Of desolating fire, of human pain,
There comes some purifying sweet belief,
Some fellow-feeling beautiful, if brief.
And life revives, and blossoms once again.

 

Performance notes

No extended technique required.

Look at the score sample

! 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 title, website, contact details).  The score, parts and all necessary material will be sent to you within a week. (So far, the score has been sent to: Massachusetts, USA).


Image of E.P. Johnson credit: Cochran / Library and Archives Canada, Acc. / no. 1952-010 / C-085125


 

Explore my other choral compositions

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 (Asian), neo-romantic, post-impressionistic

Copyright  © 2017 Natalia Pispini

 

Description

In F.  Adagio arioso. This is about something vague, obscure and ever-changing like clouds in mountains and objects behind them that appear and disappear. During the process of composition the images of distant beautiful pagodas came to my mind, which are 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

Listen to the MIDI-generated excerpt 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, ensemble title, website, contact details). The score, parts and all necessary material will be sent to you at no charge, if it is for the premier performance in your country/state.

Explore my other works for chamber ensembles

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 to advanced

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. Now, 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

! This work may be commissioned or/and performed. If you want to play it, please contact Natalia. In your message, provide some information  (name, surname, brief introduction, ensemble title, website, etc.). The score, parts and all necessary material will be sent to you at no charge, if it is for premier performance in your country/state. (So far, the score has been sent to: Egypt)

Explore my other works for chamber ensembles

 

…that is why the white bird is hiding from people…

That is why the white bird is hiding from people

It was difficult to take a photo of this enigmatic white bird sitting quietly among the palm-tree leaves. But eventually we got it! We walked inside of Bahrain, in province, where there are plenty of whispering palm-trees and joyful birds. It was winter, the best season there…

The image had inspired me for new genre: an improvisation on MIDI-keyboard. Each would employ particular timbres, rhythms, melodic patterns etc. Here it is solo flute and Arabic maqam Bayati, interpreted in free, non-traditional way. Great exercise! Also great way to give the second birth to those numerous photos collected during our trips.

Title …that is why the white bird is hiding from people…

Genre improvisation (live playing on MIDI-keyboard)

Tasks flute; non-traditional approach to maqam Bayati; expression of anxious and shy character

Duration [2’06]

Date of creating April 30, 2017

Copyright © 2017 Natalia Pispini; CC BY-NC license (for non-commercial use)

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

Watch on YouTube