VIA, Joan Magrané


Details of VIA

Contact the composer ( to acquire the score. Duration: ca. 10:00. Contemporary Music.

Level: HIGH. Range (written): A2 – F#5

Technical elements: Some fast excerpts. Slaps. Bisbigliandi. Trills and tremolos. Varied dynamics (specially in ppp) and timbres. Large intervals. Voice. Growl. Key noises. Air sounds and breathing. Tempo oscillations. Control of the multiphonics in ppp. Portamenti.

Performance: To play very delicate and phrasing well the portamenti. To play with intensity the central section and to emphasize the recitation of the text.

Joan Magrané

JOAN MAGRANÉ (Reus, 1988) received his first composition lessons by Ramon Humet. He subsequently studied at ESMUC (Barcelona) with Agustín Charles, in the Kunst Universität (Graz) with Beat Furrer and in the CNSMD (Paris) with Stefano Gervasoni. The year 2016 he was one of the lauréats of the Villa Medici in Rome.

Some poetic and artistic references —from Arnaut Daniel to Francesc Garriga, from Albrecht Dürer to Miquel Barceló— are crucial in his creative process; also very close to him are the works by Josquin Desprez, and Claudio Monteverdi. His works have been performed by the Ensemble Intercontemporain, Quatuor Diotima,  Neue Vocalsolisten, Quartet Gerhard, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, OBC, Orquesta de la RTVE and many others.

In the field of opera, he has worked on different projects such as Dido Reloaded (with María Hinojosa and Anna Alàs) and disPLACE (with Elena Copons and Sébastien Soules). He has been awarded several international awards including the XXXI Queen Sophia Composition Prize, 2014.

Read more about the composer on his website.

The main idea for VIA was the melodic continuum, always wavy and fluctuating, that guides the listener in a subtle way in between the different sections of the piece. This work was my first approach to the saxophone. I chose the baritone sax for some reasons, but especially in relation with the ideas I have in mine for this piece: the instability and lyricism of the high register and, at the same time, the strength and deep richness of the low register.

Joan Magrané, 2018


Something else about VIA

You can listen to this work in my album MADE IN BCN

Originally written for baritone saxophone in 2013, this work made known by Spanish saxophonist Antonio Garcia Jorge who asked Joan Magrané for a solo piece for soprano saxophone in 2014 and premiered it at the inaugural concert of the new Philarmonie of Paris in January 18th, 2015. I had the opportunity to premiere the original version for baritone saxophone in Bertrange (Luxembourg) in December 3rd, 2017.

Both versions, the original for baritone saxophone and the one for soprano, are quite similar except for the changes on the low A, obviously, and the central section of VIA, where original slaps were replaced by multiphonics in the soprano version. Furthermore, the text excerpted from Virgil’s Eneida XI was conserved in the original version for baritone saxophone and removed from the soprano version. Anyway, both versions have a very different character: the soprano version sounds like ethereal and delicate whilst the baritone one sounds like overwhelming and intense.

Hereby attached the original text in Latin and the translation, if the reading could inspire you when working on and perform it. Text should to be declaimed like whispering and by marking the consonants in order to enhance their timbre and articulation differences:

Summe deum, sancti custos Soractis Apollo, quem primi colimus, cui pineus ardor acervo pascitur et medium freti pietate per ignem cultores multa preminus vestigia pruna, da, pater, hoc nostris abolevi dedecus armis, omnipotens (…).

Eneida XI, Virgilio

[Supreme deity, oh, Apollo, guardian of the holy Soracte, you, in whose honour our worship is endeavouring, lighting fires of tall pines, you in whom trusting by the fire your devotees tread on live embers, I pray, O Father, Oh, Almighty God, put my arms to this dishonour (…).]

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

By the way, do you feel like watching this video? :

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