About this Recording
8.579007 - ROMÁN, A.: Chamber Music - Epojé / Diégesis / 3 Tableaux Français / Zootropías / Homenaje a Bartók / Nocturno (Trío Arbós, Sanz, Knörr)
English  Spanish 

Alejandro Román (b. 1971)
Epojé • Trois Tableaux Français • Diégesis • Zootropías • Homenaje a Bartók • Nocturno



The word Epojé (from the Greek epoché) can be described as the total suspension of judgement in order to fully appreciate the essence of beauty.

When, in 2014, the pianist Ángel Huidobro suggested that I write this work, I thought about representing these concepts through the medium of music. After a colourfully harmonised introduction, five sections are developed: in Actitud Natural (Natural Attitude), the initially placid cello melody becomes more dynamic; in Suspensión the cello reveals a contrasting, energetic and rhythmic theme; Ensimismamiento (Self-absorption) reworks the first subject in a more tranquil setting; Camino Místico (Mystical Way) recalls the sonorities of the introduction, but this time in a static composition; and Epojé, Contemplación de la Belleza (Contemplation of Beauty), features both themes in a gradual crescendo, leading to the final ecstatic moment.

The work, with its impressionistic and jazz sonorities, is dedicated to the Huidobro-Del Río Duo.

Trois Tableaux Français

This composition was inspired by the uniquely identifiable sonorities associated with French compositions, particularly those found in the Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp by Claude Debussy. Thus, in a way, these musical paintings are a tribute to Debussy.

The first tableau, after an introduction, presents two themes in clear sonata form. Both give way to a development section, with the first theme and the introductory motif leading into the second tableau. This second movement has a much more contemplative character, and, following the development section, the themes are explored further. In the third tableau the piano presents a figuration similar to that at the end of Debussy’s Sonata, while the violin recalls a fanfare, which then gives way to a melodic theme on cello. The development leads back to the introduction of the first movement, before ceding to a conclusion based on the initial theme.

Arrangements of this work exist for clarinet, cello and harp; flute, cello and harp; and flute, viola and harp. This version, written in 2011, is dedicated to the Arbós Trío.


Diegesis is an Ancient Greek (Platonic) concept of narrative or plot-telling; a way of creating a fictitious theatrical universe. Musical instruments can be responsible for building a new sound space in the same way that a theatrical world seeks to take the listener out of the present and to alter their perceptions.

Diégesis is organised into six parts, corresponding to the development of a theatrical drama, and incorporates both Greek elements, contemporary musical techniques and rock sonorities. It also includes musical fragments which date from the time of the Ancient Greeks: the First Ode Pítica (dating from 470 BC) can be heard in Oda; the Lamento de Tecmesa (156 AD) is utilised in Lamento; a musical fragment of the ‘Papyrus of Vienna’ (copied circa 200 BC) can be heard in Visión; and the Stasimon Chorus from Orestes (c.408 BC) is utilised in Caos, with the latter two musical fragments attributed to Euripides.

Diégesis was commissioned by the INAEM and is dedicated to the Trío Arbós, who premièred it in 2014 at the Festival of Contemporary Music of Tres Cantos.


A zoetrope is an early animation device comprising a circular drum with vertical slits cut through it and drawings arranged in strips along the inside. When the drum rotates, the drawings appear to move.

As a suite, Zootropías suggests different images, recalling the beginnings of cinema. Like a zoetrope spinning endlessly, and the moving figures repeating infinitely, the pieces reiterate their musical images until they succumb to inertia. In Chacona, the cello plays a repetitive phrase while being accompanied by the piano, and the violin plays a melody reminiscent of an old Spanish dance.

In Obstinación the constantly repeating piano accompaniment represents the persistence of an idea. In En círculos (In Circles) the string melodies are gradually modified while the piano performs a cyclical accompaniment. Tras la ventana (Behind the window) slows the pace and represents the melancholic image of rain falling behind a window. In Soledades the piano starts playing alone, and later the strings add a motif which is repeated throughout the piece. Sous la pluie (Under the rain) begins with a piano soliloquy and then cedes to the violin, the whole movement overlaid with the atmosphere of a tango.

Zootropías, written in 2011, is dedicated to my wife, Susana.

Homenaje a Bartók

This work was composed in 2000. The composition uses a theme based on a Hungarian scale, and develops into a series of symphonic variations where the instruments of the quartet have equal relevance. The work consists of two movements, each divided into three different parts. The opening Coral presents a melodic theme which is then used in each of the variations in differing permutations.

I wrote this work as a personal tribute to Béla Bartók, my favourite composer and one of the most relevant and influential composers of all time. The première was given by the Sonor Ensemble in 2008 at the Contemporary Music Festival of Madrid.


The philosopher Simón Marchán (who was the director of my doctoral thesis) introduced me to Ilia Galán, Professor of Aesthetics. When I first read Galán’s poetry I was captivated. In 2015, Marta Knörr asked me to write a song for an unusual ensemble, and thus inspired Nocturno, which takes as its inspiration the beautiful poetry of Galán. The poetry inspired musical images both dramatic and impressionistic, and the song is dedicated to Marta Knörr. The work was premièred at the Jesus Guridi Conservatory in Vitoria, at a concert where other works for the unusual and rarely seen combination of mezzo, viola and piano were showcased.

Booklet notes compiled from material provided by the composer

Ilia Galán (b. 1966)

Dark eyes shine
in the dawn
Caves of my soul.

Dream Birds
do not fly in the nights
above the days
to lie in the sun.
No longer.

Days without light,
clouds without water,
without the black of night
without the white of lightning.

And the journey of the day
for no other reason than violence
of each existence,
fighting to fight,
stating without reasons
the eternal motive above the ends:
to live.

Reproduced with the permission of Ilia Galán
English Translation by Ilia Galán

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