Rita Torres

contact(at)ritatorres.eu


vita | composing | research | agenda

pieces | performances


2018


Luminescências

for amplified guitar and live electronics

(ca. 2')

to Diana Ferreira /// for the project Nova Música para Novos Músicos

Luminescências departed from piece of mine for the same instrumentation, entitled The fireflies, twinkling among leaves, make the stars wonder

(which is an epigram by Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore). The idea for The fireflies, the revision of which ended up being influenced by the composition

of Luminescências, came from a reference to fireflies in the title of a piece of the friend to which The Fireflies is dedicated. Both in The fireflies and Luminescências

there are three kinds of sounds, all of low loudness level, which is enhanced by the amplification. The fireflies are symbolised by sounds are produced by striking a string

or by scraping it in tremolato using the edge of a plectrum. The rhythms of the sounds produced by striking the string (which sometimes consist of only one attack)

are the same as the flash patterns of several species of fireflies, which repeat them according to specific time intervals. In both pieces, these repetitions are carried out

by the electronics: in Luminescências there are flash patterns of the males of four species, and in The fireflies there are 26 patterns, as well as some of the sincronised

female responses. These rhythmical processes are the only conceptual elements of the pieces, being the rest improvised. The stars of The fireflies’ title are symbolised

by sounds of multiphonics, an unconventional performing technique that I have been investigating and that gives to sounds with colours that are quite distinct from those of

sounds produced through traditional techniques, being easier to perceive multiple pitches in a sound produced on a single portion of a string. These pitches/colours are only

completely revealed to the audience through the amplification of the sounds.

Luminescências was commissioned by the association Arte no Tempo for the project Nova Música para Novos Músicos (NMpNM; New Music for New Musicians).

It was written during an artistic residency at Centro de Estudos de Arte Contemporânea (CEAC) of Vila Nova da Barquinha and is dedicated to Diana Ferreira,

Arte no Tempo’s president, for her effort and dedication in promoting and disseminating Portuguese new art music.




2015


The fireflies, twinkling among leaves, make the stars wonder

for amplified guitar and live electronics (rev. 2018)

(ca. 8')

to Francisco Huguet /// revised for the project Jovens Músicos Arte no Tempo

This piece is dedicated to Francisco Huguet, a friend composer who for so many years insisted that I should write a piece for guitar and electronics.

When I met him, Huguet was preparing the premiere of a piece for string quartet and electronics entitled Más de mil luciérnagas (More than a thousand fireflies, 2007).

This piece is dedicated to the victims of the El Mozote massacre, which took place in 1981 in and around the village of El Mozote in El Salvador, causing over a 1000 victims.

Visiting the village after the massacre, the only living creatures that a journalist could find were fireflies, visible only during the night – thus Huguet's title.

I decided then to search for ideas in the realm of Fireflies, to create a sonic background to contrast with sounds of multiphonics, the usage of which was my requirement.

For the title of the piece I found then suitable an inspiring epigram by the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore that I found as the epigraph of a paper during my survey.

There are three kinds of sounds in this piece, all of low loudness level, which is enhanced by the amplification. The fireflies are symbolised by sounds produced by striking a string or

by scraping it in tremolato using the edge of a plectrum. The rhythms of the sounds produced by striking the string (which sometimes consist of only one attack)

are the same as the flash patterns of several species of fireflies, which repeated them according to specific time intervals. These repetitions are carried out by the electronics:

there are 26 patterns, as well as some of the sincronised female responses. These rhythmical processes are the only conceptual elements of the piece, being the rest improvised.

The stars are symbolised by sounds of multiphonics, an unconventional performing technique that I have been investigating and that gives to sounds with colours that

are quite distinct from those of sounds produced through traditional techniques, being easier to perceive multiple pitches in a sound produced on a single portion of a string.

These pitches/colours are only completely revealed to the audience through the amplification of the sounds.

The revision of this piece was commissioned of the association Arte no Tempo for the project Jovens Músicos Arte no Tempo (Young Musicians Arte no Tempo).



Si amanece, nos vamos

for guitar

(ca. 6')

for Jürgen Ruck

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.



2012


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)



2009


MSTRG

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.



2008


Mostrengo-Interlude

Hörspiel for diffusion system 5.1

(3’04’’)

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)


SMPG

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)




2007


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)



2006


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.



2005


Shaking Mendeleev in the Presence of a Guitar

for diffusion system 5.1 (2004-2005)

(4’16’)

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)




2004


Cyrano-Szenen

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)


home