|About this Recording
8.573361 - BROTONS, S.: Symphony No. 6, "Concise" / Rebroll / Obstinacy / Glosa de l'Emigrant (Barcelona Symphonic Band, Brotons)
Salvador Brotons (b. 1959)
Symphony No. 6 ‘Concise’, Op. 122
Symphony No. 6 ‘Concise’ was written during the summer of 2011 for the Lira Castellonera Symphonic Band of Villanueva de Castellón (Valencia) and its conductor José Tello, to be presented as their free-choice work in the 2012 Bands Contest in Valencia. I conceived this symphony for the sonority of a large wind orchestra and percussion although I also wrote an adaptation for symphony orchestra. After Symphony No. 5 ‘Mundus Noster’ [Naxos 8.573163], a long, programmatic piece in four movements (premièred by the Orquestra Ciutat de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya in March 2011), this Sixth Symphony is considerably shorter and does not follow an established external programme. It is characterised as pure music. It has five direct movements, without much development or thematic manipulation, hence the subtitle ‘Concise’. The movements proceed in the following order:
Frontal, as the title suggests, is a fast movement with a direct impact. A modified sonata form follows, with a spirited and energetic first theme while the second, presented by the oboe, is lyrical and intimate.
Procession has a ceremonial character. The main theme is first presented by the euphonium, over a march rhythm. Various relaxed solo interventions follow, after which a period of high tension leads to the reinstatement of the main theme, this time brightly orchestrated. A process of relaxation closes the movement as it disintegrates.
The Scherzo is short, colourful and very fast, with irregular and continuous metre changes. The rhythmic passages alternate with others of a very lyrical character, which, along with the instrumental virtuosity, give the movement great vivacity and contrast.
Written in 1982, Rebroll (Rebirth) was the first piece I composed for symphonic band. Although it is an early piece, it has been widely performed all over the world, and is one of the big ensemble pieces of mine that is most often programmed.
As often happens to composers, contemporary events provide the inspiration to write new compositions. I grew up in a country with a dictatorship. The dictator came to power after a terrible civil war that finished in 1939. Thereafter followed almost 40 years of silence and lack of freedom. In 1977, democracy came, and with it hope started to emerge.
Rebroll is a symphonic poem in one continuous movement with three clearly delineated sections: 1) War and defeat; 2) Silence and desert; 3) Rebirth and hope.
The piece starts with an aggressive fast tempo. A brutal war envelops two sides in a fiery conflict. The first five minutes of the piece are full of action, energy and warlike music. After the initial first five notes, which form a leitmotif for the whole piece, the trombones introduce the first idea. After a transition, full of hectic music in the woodwind, a subsequent theme is introduced by the trumpets. The music recapitulates with varied instrumentation in a completely different way, until, finally, several themes are combined in a sonorous and noisy climax. The horror of the defeat concludes this first part.
A very contrasting second section follows. Silence and desert depicts a dramatic time when nobody is allowed to talk; a dictator maintains a rule of silence. Only the tenor saxophone sings over a timpani roll. The bass clarinet and double bassoon are featured, interspersed with muted trombone interventions in a deathly ambience. Always softly nuanced, the main leitmotif of the piece comes back timidly in the saxophones. The sound of the vibraphone, like discreet sunlight, rises softly, bringing the first ray of hope.
The third part is the Rebroll: a Catalan word which means ‘new growth’, or ‘rebirth’. A beautiful new theme starts very softly in the low register of the clarinets, a tonal theme in D flat major which represents the gradual emergence of hope and peace. Further representations of courage and light are provided by woodwind solos from the beginning of the piece, together with the main theme in augmentation. Played by the whole band, the D flat major theme returns victoriously, incorporating a prominent countermelody on the French horns which brings the work to its buoyant conclusion.
Obstinacy was written during the months of October and November, 1991. My aim was to create a compact symphonic movement with no interruption whatsoever and with minimal thematic material. The whole composition springs from the first four measures of the piece, when the brass introduce the first eight notes of a row. The aleatory central section of the piece is full of surprising combinations of timbres and sudden colours. The first four notes (Eb4-A3-Db4-C3), treated with all kinds of transformations, are the basis of the whole composition. Despite using compositional methods of several origins (serial, minimalist, aleatory), this is not a work that has been approached scientifically. The means are used to obtain very specific results.
The rhythm is insistent and incessant throughout the piece. Several lyrical ideas emerge from the dense rhythmic interweaving and the orchestra shines out with its variety of textures, contrasts and colours, using all kinds of instrumental combinations.
The title of the piece suggests courage and tenacity, which evolves into heroism when the second (and only contrasting) idea of the piece is introduced by the woodwind playing in three octaves over a new rhythmic figure played by the snare drum and brass.
Glosa de l’Emigrant (The Emigrant’s Ballad) – Variations on a Catalan folk song
Based on the well known Catalan folk song The Emigrant, my intention in Glosa de l’Emigrant was to write a sardana (the national dance of Catalonia) with no repetitions, preceded by an introduction and concluded by an epilogue.
The Emigrant is a nostalgic Catalan song, which expresses the feeling of longing for one’s homeland when living in a foreign country. The piece has a prominent tenora part. The tenora is a beautiful folk instrument with a double reed, a sort of tenor oboe with strong presence and projection as well as great expressive possibilities. Although it is possible to perform the piece without the tenora (other instruments can substitute it), its inclusion gives the piece a characteristic Catalan flavour.
The piece starts with a short introduction in sardana tempo. The tenora presents The Emigrant song over a harp accompaniment. The clarinets, and later the horns, finish the rest of the song. The tempo accelerates to reach the dance movement. Two main themes are presented in the sardana, first independently, and then together in its culmination. General references to the song appear at various times throughout the dance.
The sardana’s conclusion is followed by an epilogue. The band suddenly drops dramatically in volume and gradually the music, now based on the first three pitches of the song, grows to a spectacular tutti. At the end, The Emigrant is combined with Els Segadors (The Reapers), the Catalan national anthem, in a triumphant ending.
Close the window