Rita Torres


vita | composing | research | agenda

pieces | performances


Si amanece, nos vamos

for guitar

(ca. 6')

This piece was written to meet the request of guitarist Jürgen Ruck to contribute to his project Caprichos Goyescos.

The project consists of short musical caprichos for guitar by various composers, illustrating the set of 80 prints

Los Caprichos (1797-1798) by the Spanish painter Francisco Goya.

The chosen print was number 71, Si amanece, nos Vamos (If day breaks, we will be off). It depicts a group of five

witches under a starry sky, one of whom is pointing to the sky and has strapped to her back small children; behind

them is the black silhouette of a figure with wings. Witches were thought to consume the flesh of babies at Sabbats,

for which the scene takes place before the meal of a Sabbat. Interpreting the silhouette as a symbol of the devil that is

yet to arrive, the witches have just settled down and are getting ready for their ritual.

The piece is centred on multiphonics, a technique which I have been researching in the context of my PhD.

Apart from using assumptions based on results of an experiment with a sample of guitarists and close microphone placement,

new forms of multiphonics usage were investigated for the piece. Possibly for the first time, the sounds are attained by articulating the string

with tremolato while the open-string sound is progressively filtered. The inverse process brings the open-string sound back.


Le tombeau de Falla

for medium voice and guitar

(ca. 5')

to Anna Alàs i Jové

This piece sets to music four poems by Federico García Lorca on, or featuring, the guitar. It departs from Manuel de Falla's

only piece for guitar and one of the first guitar compositions of the twentieth century by a non-guitarist composer.

In 1920, Falla, who had repeatedly been asked by the guitarist Miquel Llobet to compose for guitar, was requested to

contribute with an article to a special volume of La Revue Musicale dedicated to the memory of Debussy. The volume

was to include a musical supplement, entitled Le Tombeau de Debussy, with pieces especially written for it (in music, a tombeau

is a composition written in honor of a departed colleague or master – a tradition that goes back to the lutenists of the 17th century).

This triggered the writing of Homenaje: pièce de Guitare écrite pour “Le Tombeau de Debussy”, the revision of which took place

with Llobet at the house of the García Lorca family in Granada.

The revisitation of Homenaje originated most harmonic fields of Le tombeau de Falla, as well as some of its motives and rhythmic

patterns. The compositional process was also influenced by some of the characteristics of deep song (cante jondo). These include

the voice's restricted melodic line, rarely exceeding the compass of a sixth, and its reiterative well-nigh obsessive use of a single

note. Falla was a great enthusiast of the preservation of the deep song and was the soul of the famous Deep Song Contest (1922),

to which Lorca contributed with a lecture partially based on Falla's musicological surveys. The influence of Lorca's poems can be

found in one song, in which both voice and guitar do word painting.

LISTEN (excerpt | concert recording of Catalunuya Ràdio | 20.01.2013 | Tonmeister: Lluís Miguel Soler i Farriols)

Le tombeau de Falla Copyright © Rita Torres and Herederos de Federico García Lorca.

Music by Rita Torres. Words by Federico García Lorca. SGAE/GEMA. All rights reserved.

For information regarding rights and permissions, please contact lorca@artslaw.co.uk or

William Peter Kosmas, Esq., 8 Franklin Square, London W14 9UU.

Aquelarre step-by-step

for piccolo, bassoon, harp, accordion, percussion, violin and cello

(ca. 9’)

This piece was written during a residency at the Villa Sträuli in Winterthur, Switzerland,

for a cadavre exquis by women composers under the title and motto Aquelarre (Spanish for Witches' Sabbat),

to be performed exclusively by women and with no conductor. The sections of the piece were inspired by the standard set of events

that was thought to occur during a Sabbat and follow its unfolding.

WATCH (Aquelarre concert recording | 20.11.2012)



for one percussionist (2008-2009)

(ca. 9’)

Point of departure for this piece was Pessoa’s poem O Mostrengo (The Sea Monster), namely its characters and phonems.

LISTEN (excerpt | concert recording | 28.10.2009 | Tonmeister: Marc Seiffge)

Cyrano-Szenen III

for two violins

(ca. 5’)

This piece took some of the “scenes” of my guitar piece “Cyrano-Szenen” as its point of departure.



Hörspiel for diffusion system 5.1


Prémio do Público no Festival Black & White 2010 (categoria audio)

The poem that is heard is O Mostrengo (The Sea Monster) by Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935).

O Mostrengo was published in 1934 in the book Mensagem (Message) – from the latin

MENS AGitat molEM (The mind moves the matter, Virgil) – Pessoa’s only book in Portuguese

published during his lifetime. “Mostrengo” is Pessoa’s name for “Adamastor”, a greek-mythological figure

created by Luiz Vaz de Camões (c.1524-1580) in his nationalistic epic poem “The Lusiads” (1572).

Adamastor symbolizes the untamable forces of nature with which the portuguese sailors were

confronted during the Discoveries. It appears in the form of a terrifying cloud at the Cape of the

Torments, renamed “of Good Hope” after it was successfully crossed by the portuguese sailor

Bartolomeu Dias (c.1451-1500) in 1488. The readings and the readers (in this case, actors) are from different

epochs: 1993/Luís Miguel Cintra (*1949) and 1959/João Villaret (1913-1961). The differences in these two

interpretations was what gave me the idea for this piece. For the „staging“ of this „duel“ I used sections of an older

piece (“Shaking Mendeleev in the presence of a guitar”), in order to underline the tension of the poem and the readings.

The piece was produced at the ComputerStudio of Karlsruhe’s Hochschule für Musik. I thank Luís Miguel Cintra,

Editorial Presença and Valentim de Carvalho for the authorization for the use of the recordings.

LISTEN (excerpt, stereo version)


for six percussionists (2005-2008, rev. 2009)

(ca. 9’)

The attempt of a transcription of my electroacoustic piece "Shaking Mendeleev in the Presence of a Guitar"

was the point of departure for this piece.

LISTEN (excerpt | concert recording | 28.10.2009 | Tonmeister: Marc Seiffge)


um Lieder herum…

for small ensemble

(ca. 5’)

This piece consists in some of the miniatures of my piece “Quando eu morrer” to which some interludes were added.

Quando eu morrer – Vertonungsversuche um den Tod

for Mezzo-Soprano, Alto saxophone/Alto flute/Clarinet and Piano

(2003/2006-2007, rev. 2009)

(ca. 12’)

to Anna Alàs i Jové

Menção Honrosa no 4º Concurso Internacional de Composição da Póvoa de Varzim (2009)

For this piece I chose excerpts of poems around death that cointained

last wishes (“quando eu morrer” – when I die) and put them to music in the form of miniatures.

LISTEN (excerpt | concert recording | 28.10.2009| Tonmeister: Marc Seiffge)


Cyrano-Szenen II

for small ensemble

(ca. 5’)

This piece took some of the “scenes” of my guitar piece “Cyrano-Szenen” as point of departure.


Shaking Mendeleev in the Presence of a Guitar

for diffusion system 5.1 (2004-2005)


This piece uses guitar sounds and noises as well as the noises resulting from the shaking

of a plastified periodic table of the elements (thus the title) in the same way as a thundersheet.

The piece was produced at the ComputerStudio of Karlsruhe's Hochschule für Musik.

LISTEN (excerpt, stereo version)



for guitar

(ca. 9’)

This piece consists of short movements inspired in certain scenes of the theatre piece Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand.

LISTEN (excerpt | studio recording | Nov. 2004 | guitar & production: Rita Torres)