A CHILLIDA, Mercè Capdevila

A Chillida

Picture from Turismo Donostia (San Sebastián)

Each one of its five parts or forges is an absolutely amazing sample of advanced techniques on the baritone and colouring on the electronics part. Simply spectacular!

The Composer

MERCÈ CAPDEVILA (Barcelona, 1946) studied at the Conservatori Superior Municipal de Música and, simultaneously, Plastic Arts at the Massana School both in Barcelona and, later, at the Kunsthand Werk Schule in Pforzheim (Germany) with Professor Edward Mosny.

Capdevila is a founder of the Asociación de Música Electroacústica de España. Her music has been performed in musical festivals throughout Europe, Canada and the United States. In 1993-94, Capdevila worked in the study of Aaron Copland from the University of New York at Queens College as a guest composer.

Click here to read more about the composer.

Details of the Work

Tape and baritone saxophone modulated live with SPX90 II.
There is also a version in live electronics (MAX) by the sound artist and composer Joan Bagés i Rubí.
Publisher: Contact the composer (mercecapdevilagaya@gmail.com)
Duration: 16:10 long
Range (written): A2 – F6 (or as treble as possible)
TECHNIQUES: Diversity of articulations, slaps, glissandi, trills and tremolos, flatter, extreme altissimo register, tonguing accuracy, key sounds, air sounds, overtones, use of voice, trumpet sounds.
PERFORMANCE: Play with lot of energy. Scenic attitude.

Meaning and structure

Saxophonist Josep Maria Aparicio, one of the few musicians who engaged and promoted the contemporary music in Catalunya in the 1980’s and 1990’s, premiered A CHILLIDA in 1997 and made me discover it, some time after.

Some years ago, sound artist and composer Joan Bagés and I worked on this piece with Mercè Capdevila in addition to update the modulation of the baritone saxophone with a new patch (MAX). The result was the version recorded in my album MADE IN BCN (LMG2154) in 2018.

Mercè Capdevila commented me about A CHILLIDA:

Contemplation of the whole work by sculptor Eduardo Chillida made me think that all his works could be looked, viewed and/or felt in different ways depending on where are they observed and how that spaces and lines could change their meaning. I imagined how to create a kind of music which different spaces, lines and blocks change their meaning and tried to stage the gap inside the form, the essence of the material and a sense of monumentality.

A CHILLIDA consists of five blocks or movements that represent 5 different forges in a single work. The forge is a shape of metals that consists in change by compression for hot.

One could say that there are no rhythms but only beats. Gaps among beats or chords show internal forms that create different volumes and masses. These rests and sounds make us change the perception of the work.

I chose the baritone saxophone because of its timber qualities, its width and its ductility. The live modulation (to give more possibilities to the performer and the audience), in addition to the tape, could allow me a direct and rough material, as FORGING closed and complex chords by compression, where it would be no possible to perceive any register or frequencies, neither movement or droop.

Don’t hesitate to contact me if you want to work on A CHILLIDA with me.


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