Hèctor Parra

Details of TIME FIELDS I

Edicions Tritó, Barcelona (SP). Duration: ca. 6:00. Contemporary music.

Level: VERY HIGH. Range (written): A2 – G6 (or as treble as possible)

Technical skills: Some very fast excerpts. Wide range of dynamics and timbres. Tonguing accuracy. Variety of articulations and vibratos. Wide intervals. Fluctuating tempo. Quarter-tone accidentals. Altissimo register extreme. Flatter. Aeolian sounds and smorzandi. Multiphonic sounds. Portamenti.

Performance skills: Playing with lot of intensity. Phrasing according to the big fluctuations in tempo from the rallentandi and accellerandi in the piece.

Hèctor Parra

Born in Barcelona in 1976 and living in Paris since 2002, HÈCTOR PARRA studied music at the Conservatori Superior Municipal de Música (C. Guinovart and D. Padrós, composition; María J. Crespo, piano), in Geneva with M. Jarrell and at the Ircam with J. Harvey and B. Ferneyhough, among others. Master in Aesthetics of Arts from the University of Paris 8, from 2013 to 2017 he has been professor of composition of the international course of the Ircam-Center Pompidou.

His catalog has almost ninety works. Specially dedicated to the dramatic genre, he has written five operas in collaboration with writers Marie NDiaye, Händl Klaus, theoretical physicist Lisa Randall and stage directors Calixto Bieito and Georges Lavaudant, among others. They have been released with great success of public and critics in Munich, Berlin, Paris, Schwetzingen, Freiburg, Basel, Madrid, Barcelona, ​​etc.

He have received some as the Spanish National Culture Award 2017, the Ernst von Siemens Composition Award in 2011 and both the Donald Aird Memorial Prize of San Francisco and the Prix Impuls Graz in 2007. He won the Tremplin of the Intercontemporain Ensemble in 2005 and the Musical Composition Prize of the INAEM in 2002. His music is published by Durand / Universal Music Publishing Classical and by Tritó Edicions. The labels KAIROS, Col·legno and Ars Harmònica have published four monographic CDs with his works.

Read more about the composer on his website.

I wrote TIME FIELDS I when I was still studying at the Barcelona Conservatory, on Bruc street. It was commissioned by saxophonist Víctor Béjar, who then taught at that center. He suggested the baritone, since it was his favorite saxophone. I was seduced immediately, since its register and possibilities are the largest of the whole family. So, for this piece, I proposed to contrast torrential energies, rough and deafening low register with delicate, velvety but almost electronic multiphonics in the medium.

In the form of a study, TIME FIELDS I is structured following a strict rhythmic progression towards the final frenzy, but with constant interruptions that tense and delay the arrival. Thus, my intention at that time was that a sinuous expression arises that distorts our temporal perception, out of the dialectical relationship that these two contrasting sonorous worlds interweave with the changes of tempo and the permanent agogic processes. I believe that this study has been one of the starting points of my subsequent work in terms of the search for a language that integrates a detailed writing of strong gestural and expressive component in the small and medium scale with a vision at the same time spectrum-morphological It also covers a structural level, on a larger scale.

Hèctor Parra. Paris, 2018

Listen to this work from my new album MADE IN BCN:

Something else about TIME FIELDS I

TIME FIELDS I is one of the most challenging works for baritone saxophonist I know. This is so not only because of its great technical difficulty, but also because of its interpretative skills, which requires performing it with a copious amount of energy, a great control of the numerous changes of tempo and, specially, creating the most suitable character for each moment of this brief (almost compressed) and intense work.

In my opinion, TIME FIELDS I requires the same work process that the masterpieces of any instrument: a detailed and meticulous practice from the very beginning (the reading of the score is not obvious at all) and, at the same time, by adding the specific character needed to play every bar, phrase or section. In this way, technical elements improve themselves while the ideas on the interpretation strengthen, since the interpretative energy is closely related to the technique, in the case of this work. I mean, you won’t be able to play it technically well with a lack of character, or, in other words, you won’t be able to perform it well unless you do not have a very good technique.

In a post from his website, Antonio Velasco explained very well what was the music of the “New Complexity”, an aesthetic current to which this work is closely related:

The works by these composers have a maximal technical requirement for their performance, at the edge of the impossible, which is not an addition (as the style of virtuoso music), but is a part of the work itself. Their extreme performing difficulties want to create a closer relationship between performer and piece, which exceeds the interpretative canons from the past.

As a curiosity, for me it is very gratifying to know that the only solo works that Hèctor Parra has composed for saxophone so far, have been for the baritone: TIME FIELDS I, solo, and CHYMISCH with electronics. We, baritonists, should feel lucky: we have great music for a while!

If you want to work on or know more about TIME FIELDS I, don’t hesitate to contact me.