Monday, October 28, 2013

camerata aberta plays canto nenhum

The name canto nenhum can be understood as "no place at all": a possible translation for the ancient word utopia. It can also refer to an absent voice. In this case, I chose as my model the aboio, a special kind of singing from the Northeast of Brazil. It's used to call the cattle, being closer to a kind of cry than to a form of chaint. Not intended for human listening, perhaps it's not exactly music. Thus maybe something else: a possible form of communication between man and nature, which draws us back to the terrain of utopia.

The aboios taken as a departing point are recordindg made by Mario de Andrade in the late 1930s during his "folkloristic missions". Inspired more by the ancestral connection between men and cattle described by Terence McKenna in his Book Food of the Gods, than by any nationalistic demagogy, I analysed the aboios as sound objects. Listening to them repeatedly, notes were taken on the different kinds of beginnings, sustains and terminations that could be observed. From these morphologies musical figures were developed so that I could bring to the realm of hearing an abstract structure based on prime number proportions and intervallic unfoldings of a single chord (using a procedure I nicknamed "harmonic LFO").

[summary of morphological variations observed in aboios' recordings]

This piece was premiered 19th July 2009 in the 40º Festival Internacional de Campos do Jordão, by the chamber group of the festival. In this occasion, canto nenhum was awarded with the Camargo Guarnieri Composition Prize. Four years later, it is delightful to listen to this piece live once again with the Camerata Aberta, conducted by Felix Krieger, October 29th at 21.00 pm in SESC Consolação, São Paulo.

For those who wish to remember how canto nenhum sounds or want to get a little more acquainted with it, here is the video of the première:

PS: Personally, the poetical investigation on the communication between two worlds that inspires this piece is tainted with a particularly dramatic nuance. During the process of composition my dear grandmother Janina crossed the threshold of this world as we know it. That's the reason why the score bears a dedication in her name.

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