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ambigua

Ambiguous: having more than one possible meaning; open to two or more interpretations; of uncertain nature or significance; intended to mislead; not organized in conventional patterns.

Ambigua is my take on post romantic classical music and an homage to early 20th century composers who dramatically influenced the art. They revolutionized music with a series of stylistic breakthroughs, staring with symbolism and Impressionism, that had a tremendous impact on the way we perceive harmony, melody and rhythm today. I revisit these utopian and ideal places with modern tools and aesthetics (and mindset) searching the point where musics meet, whether time is linear, and where in the great scheme of the universe is the artist's home.

Ambigua consists of interpretations of selected pieces by composers Debussy, Satie, Schoenberg, Bartok, Mahler, Stravinsky and R. Strauss, mainly orchestral, preferably for string ensembles. Using mostly software synthesizers (*), I try to maintain the basic characteristics of ambiguity and intrinsic - extrinsic metaphor and the deepest, elusive and most tangible secrets of these compositions.

A modern envision of 20th century classical music is the presentation of the composition in an analogous way, so that the content is preserved in the utmost detail, while the sonic ambience is transformed to reflect the current aesthetics. I extensively use as much of modern sound designing, computer programming and recording techniques I could get my hands on, with future plans for 7:1 surround sound and 3D visual content.

Ambigua is conceived in three stages (Acts) that span chronologically to cover respective eras of the early 20th century.
Act Ι - "To Suggest is to Dream": G. Mahler - 5th Symphony, Mvt 4 - Adagietto, C. Debussy - Prelude à l'après-midi d'un faune, E. Satie - 3 Gymnopédies
Act ΙΙ - To transcend: Béla Bartók - Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta
Act III - Es Ist Ein Glanz Um Alles Her: Arnold Schoenberg - Verklarte Nacht

 

  • In a conversation between Debussy and his former master, Ernest Guiraud, Guiraud asks about an ideal poet. Debussy answers by telling him that an ideal poet is “one who only hints at what is to be said”, quoting Stéphane Mallarmé and the symbolists: to name is to destroy; to suggest is to dream. He goes on to say “one can travel where one wishes and leave by any door” when referring to a seemingly random cluster of notes he played on the piano.

 

 

 

Béla Bartók is one of the most forceful and influential musical personalities of the 20th century, whose music was so widely abused and misunderstood in their own lifetime. He fused and completely assimilated seemingly conflicting musical elements - the classical masters, contemporaries like Debussy and folk songs. Especially the polychromatic orchestral textures of Richard Strauss had an immediate effect upon Bartók's instrumental sense, evidenced in masterpieces such as Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta (commissioned by the conductor Paul Sacher to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Kammerorchester Basel and written in 1936.) It perfectly reflects the composer's style, as it had evolved through several stages into one of the most distinctive and influential musical idioms: Ingenious application of asymmetrical, sometimes driving, often savage, rhythmic propulsion and ear-tweaking sonorities, exploitation and refinement of devices likepalindromes, arches, and proportions based on the "golden ratio."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Act III is Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht (Transfigured Night), Op. 4 (1899), a string sextet in one movement. Inspired by a poem by Richard Demhel, Schoenberg composed it in three weeks, at the age of 25. It is a perfect showcase of his uncanny skills in classic harmony. Clearly rooted in D minor, it often ventures far from this home key, using extreme chromaticism, undermining both conventional harmony and metric boundaries, signalling the new era that Schoenberg pioneered a few years later: the 12-tone, serial music system. 

 

 

 

Check out Ambigua in bandcamp and Soundcloud:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can also find Ambigua - Act I on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Napster and Deezer

Ambigua - Act II is on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Napster and Deezer