It is a very well organized work that reflects an obsessive music, plenty of imagination and specific technical resources of the baritone saxophone

Francesc Taverna-Bech, composer

ANTONIO VELASCO POLONIO (L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, 1964) studied guitar, choral conduction and composition in Barcelona, although he is well known in the ambit of the music recordings. He is the director of the record label InSitu which I recorded my first solo album BELIEVER for its contemporary music collection INS Records.

Read more about the compositor, here.

Details of GEOMETRÍAS 1

Edicions Clivis, Barcelona (E). 5 pages. Duration: ca. 6:00. Experimental Contemporary Music.

Difficulty: MEDIUM-HIGH. Range (written): A2 – B5

Technic Elements: Wide range of dynamics and timbres. Diversity of articulations. Diversity of vibratos and oscillations. ¼ of tones. Relative notation. Aeolian sounds. Multiphonics. Flatterzunge.

Performance: Play with intensity. Constant search of timbres.

Meaning and structure of GEOMETRÍAS 1

This is the first work for baritone saxophone written for (and also dedicated to) me, in 2003, which I premiered in Barcelona one year later. I very well remember how enriching was the experience to have participated in the composition process, testing the effects and clarifying some technical questions of the piece. Since then, I appreciate a lot the collaboration with composers since it as a matter of trust between creator and performer. So, I suppose you will understand how important is this work for me.

You will find many of the technical elements of the most experimental music for baritone saxophone in GEOMETRÍAS 1, such as vibrato oscillations, air sounds and their transitions, slaps and other types of articulations, quarter of tones, flatter and multiphonics. In addition, it requires a very expressive performance.

All these elements appear progressively and are replaced among them, thus giving structure to the work. The only element that appears throughout the whole piece is the quarter of tones, since GEOMETRÍAS 1 is based on a melodic series with microtones that gives it a very special colour.

As the composer says: “This work represents my own way in the search of new forms of organisation of the music material going further from the traditional ones. The idea that inspired me was the development of a human being (or any other kind of living creature) that evolves through the time who, at his end, is not the same since the beginning despite he keep his essence. New elements are constantly introduced, but the essence remains in the organisation of the pitches and lengths. So, coherence stays throughout the development.”

I would like to invite you to watch the video by Robert Sirvent (flute teacher at the Conservatory of Music of Tarragona and a good colleague) for this work, as a collaboration with the INS Records label for my album Believer.

How to work on GEOMETRÍAS 1

The indications of the score are very clear so the reading is not difficult at all. The notation is usually conventional except for some spatial elements as the division in bars without beats (the work is written in quarter = 60), notes and rests that do not correspond to the measure, duration lines of sound, etc.

As I always comment in these posts, work first all the effects separately before playing the piece. You will progress a lot if you practice well before, for example, the transitions air-to-sound (always from 0 to 100%) or the transitions oscillations-to-vibrato (in both ways: speed and amplitude).

Microtones will demand you some employ of time, but you can check out my charts of the quarter of tones (put link on the web) and also the one for the altissimo register (put link of the web) of the baritone saxophone. I hope you find them helpful and useful. So, take your time and I am sure that this investment will work very well for you in other works with microintervals in the future.

The polyphonic part of GEOMETRÍAS 1 deserves a special mention, since I have always thought that it is very well reached. The great variety of multiphonics of the final part of the work and are often linked, producing an interesting sonority due to subtle changes of timbers. Listen to them with attention!

There are not many technical difficulties as fast excerpts (and they are not long, but sometimes are articulated) and large slur intervals (not more than one octave). GEOMETRÍAS 1 is not a technically virtuoso work, but it is demanding in the search of different colours.

On the other hand, GEOMETRÍAS 1 does require an very expressive performance (for example, notes and excerpts in slap have to be played with great energy), with great contrasts of dynamics to surprise the audience, highlighting the differences in timbres and generate melodic tensions by the tone quarters. If you get it, I think that this piece will work well in concert and that it is a good example of contemporary music with elements of advanced techniques for the baritone saxophone.

If you want to know more about GEOMETRÍAS 1, don’t hesitate to contact me.