RECITATIVI (2012)

RECITATIVI (2012)

for high voice and cimbalo cromatico

instrumentation: S/T, cemb*
duration: 8 minutes
première:October 18, 2012, Alte Oper Frankfurt, Germany
Daniel Pataky – tenor, Johannes Keller – cimbalo cromatico

Commissioned by the programme of Academy Opera Today by the Deutsche Bank Foundation.

RECITATIVI

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RECITATIVI

(full recording)

October 18, 2015, Rače Castle, Slovenia
Marisol Montalvo – soprano, Johannes Keller – cimbalo cromatico

Additional performances

October 20, 2015, Slovenian Philharmonic, Marjan Kozina Hall, Ljubljana, Slovenia
October 18, 2015, Rae Castle, Slovenia
Marisol Montalvo – soprano, Johannes Keller – cimbalo cromatico

ABOUT

The RECITATIVI are a series of four recitatives for voice and “cimbalo cromatico” (a microtonally tuned harpsichord) set to texts that were created as part of Alexander Stockinger’s libretto to Žuraj’s opera Orlando: Das Schloss. Beginning in the manner of baroque recitative, the four movements progressively depart from this anachronistic pretence and take up a new habitat in the harmonic and melodic world of Žuraj’s own style.

The first recitative begins with the customary sixth-chord of baroque recitative and makes exclusive use of harmonies that are conceivable on a standard, evenly tempered keyboard. Quarter-tones are used to expand the palette of chord progressions available in a tonal harmonic context, a technique reminiscent of the works of the early twentieth-century composer Alois Haba.

The second recitative also begins with the obligatory sixth chord, but departs from the sonorities of tonal harmony, making use of spectral harmonies and microtonal dissonances while largely retaining the affect and gestures of its baroque models. Occasionally, the more impassioned vocal style of the late romantic and expressionistic periods bursts through.

Although the third recitative begins with an expansive arpeggio in the harpsichord, the latter is no longer even remotely reminiscent of a sixth-chord. This recitative quickly dispenses with all pretence of baroque gesture, making liberal use of microtonal trills and frantic bundles of cluster chords. The vocal part, too, experiences a transformation, with passages in the half-spoken Sprechgesang style often associated with Arnold Schoenberg.

In the fourth and final recitative, the traditional framework of the recitative is turned on its head, with the singer with a florid solo line. The relationship of solo singer and keyboard accompanist is nullified, with the entire recitative being an equal dialogue between singer and keyboard, in which the two strive to outdo each other with acrobatics and glissandi. The cycle is brought to a startling close with a warning shriek of “Alarmglocke” (“alarm bells”) and a monumental cluster in the cimbalo cromatico.

Alwyn Tomas Westbrooke

The RECITATIVI are a series of four recitatives for voice and “cimbalo cromatico” (a microtonally tuned harpsichord) set to texts that were created as part of Alexander Stockinger’s libretto to Žuraj’s opera Orlando: Das Schloss. Beginning in the manner of baroque recitative, the four movements progressively depart from this anachronistic pretence and take up a new habitat in the harmonic and melodic world of Žuraj’s own style.

The first recitative begins with the customary sixth-chord of baroque recitative and makes exclusive use of harmonies that are conceivable on a standard, evenly tempered keyboard. Quarter-tones are used to expand the palette of chord progressions available in a tonal harmonic context, a technique reminiscent of the works of the early twentieth-century composer Alois Haba.

The second recitative also begins with the obligatory sixth chord, but departs from the sonorities of tonal harmony, making use of spectral harmonies and microtonal dissonances while largely retaining the affect and gestures of its baroque models. Occasionally, the more impassioned vocal style of the late romantic and expressionistic periods bursts through.

Although the third recitative begins with an expansive arpeggio in the harpsichord, the latter is no longer even remotely reminiscent of a sixth-chord. This recitative quickly dispenses with all pretence of baroque gesture, making liberal use of microtonal trills and frantic bundles of cluster chords. The vocal part, too, experiences a transformation, with passages in the half-spoken Sprechgesang style often associated with Arnold Schoenberg.

In the fourth and final recitative, the traditional framework of the recitative is turned on its head, with the singer with a florid solo line. The relationship of solo singer and keyboard accompanist is nullified, with the entire recitative being an equal dialogue between singer and keyboard, in which the two strive to outdo each other with acrobatics and glissandi. The cycle is brought to a startling close with a warning shriek of “Alarmglocke” (“alarm bells”) and a monumental cluster in the cimbalo cromatico.

Alwyn Tomas Westbrooke

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