The works

Escenas contemporáneas: the works
By Nemesio García-Carril Puy

Our travel begins with José Gonzalez Granero’s Petite Suite for Brass Quintet and String Orchestra (2015). Structured in five movements (Overture, Valse, March, Interlude, Finale), it general form is inspired by the traditional baroque suites. The characteristic contrast of this historical style is reflected on the general structure of this piece. Indeed, whilst the brilliant sound of brass is sought in the first, third and fifth movements, the expressiveness and the sweetness of this kind of instruments are highlighted in the second and the fourth. Nevertheless, the work is harmonically enriched by means of a post-romantic language which combines the traditional tonal system with modal elements –over the Doric mode in the Valse and the Eolic mode in the Interlude–, polytonality –as happens in the March–, and the use of traditional chords with tones added –like we can hear specially in the first and fifth movements. In addition to these features, the employment of means such as glissando, col legno, harmonics, mutes, and the like, gives rise to very original colors within the synthesis between the quintet and the orchestra. The result is a work with an deeply actual aesthetics, but without breaking the familiarity links with the musical conceptual schema of the spectator. This piece was composed at the request of Proemium Metals and premiered on March of 2015.

Next, we enter two works that have a common stylistic imprint: the Roman School tradition in which Valentí Miserachs –with a more post-impressionistic puccinian influence– and Nemesio García Carril –with a more austere and sober tendency– were educated. However, this roman style is manifested in both works in a perfect symbiosis with the character of the traditional folk music of the regions of origin of their composers: Cataluña and Galicia, respectively.

Maternal, fantasia i fuga is intended by his author, Valentí Miserachs, to be a tribute to Sant Martí Sesgueioles. This is village where he was born and raised in his childhood, and that has subsequently meant for him a place of refuge and spiritual "sanatorium" throughout his life, as if the host in the arms of a mother is involved. Originally thought for cobla catalana and orchestra, the version for brass quintet and orchestra made by Luca Petrongari –and supervised by Valentí Miserachs– at the request of Proemium Metals favors the integration and the dialogue of the quintet with the orchestra in a widely variety of orchestral colors. Structured in two big sections –fantasy and fugue–, the work is carried up by the theme of “La Dida”, a folk melody that appears in a preponderant way throughout the piece. Based on a general sonority of the Doric mode over different tones, the fantasy begins with an introductory theme in ternary rhythm in which the theme of “La Dida” is anticipated in different moments, that appears later fully exposed by the oboe and the trombone. In contrast, a new theme self-created by the composer is introduced in the violin and the violoncello, but is continually interrupted by the main theme with interventions of the quintet. is the theme of "Dida" which just holding fast with a shortened recapitulation and constituting the subject of a scholastic fugue that concludes the work, in which the voices of the quintet dialogue of contrapuntal way with the other elements of the orchestra .

Gabriel Delgado, Nemesio García Carril and Luis Otero during a rehearsal

Meanwhile, within the roman school style, Escenas de “Campana y Piedra” para quinteto de metales solista y orquesta takes us to an atmosphere typical of Galicia. Composed at the request of Proemium Metals, the themes of this piece are taken from the main themes that Nemesio Garcia Carril had devised for the soundtrack of a film production, which consisted of a series of television and film: Campana y Piedra, based on the novel Fragmentos de Apocalipsis of Gonzalo Torrente Ballester and with script and production by Jesús Navascués. Finally, this film production was not carried out due to due to the unexpected death of the producer moments before shooting. The plot of the movie would have been developed in Santiago de Compostela Cathedral and its environment. Hence, throughout the work is permanently evoked the Galician atmosphere in spite of the absence of any folk theme: all the melodies are original from Nemesio García Carril. The allusion to the Galician spirit is especially achieved by the design of the melodies and the modal treating of them. Similar to an overture in which different characters are presented, in the piece various themes occur. The work begins with an introductory section -characterized by the melody of the horn in the Dorian mode over D- ending once the quintet is presented in its entirety solemnly on long values. This leads to a second section that, under an expressive character and also evolve in the Dorian mode -now over de E tone-, quintet and orchestra converse in the manner of double choir to finish merging to reach the climax. After a transition section, a new theme is reached -in this case on the Phrygian mode- so that is introduced by the oboe and developed by the quintet. Finally, a summary with the reprise of the introductory theme takes place, which is followed by an exposition and stretti of a fugue in tempo allegro -whose subject is precisely extracted from the introductory theme- in which the quintet only, for candeza exhibits all his brilliance and virtuosity.

Then begins the second part of the disc with works for quintet alone. Dedicated by Gustavo Díaz Jerez to Proemium Metals, Anemoi is the work among all presented here that offers a more innovative aesthetics: from the technique employed in its composition (using algorithmic, espectralists, fractals procedures and other methods used in computer-aided composition), to the achievement of absolutely original colors for brass instruments. The term "Anemoi" (Άνεμοι) referred in Greek mythology to winds, which, like other natural agents, appeared personified in the manner of gods to deliver a supernatural explanation of the evolution of nature. Within the Anemoi, for main gods were identified, which correlate with the winds from the four cardinal points: Boreas, from the north, consuming and violent; Noto, from the south, destroying crops; Zephyr, from the west, the more smooth and friendly; and Euro, from the east, bringing heat and rain. From a formal point of view, the work presents the classical tripartite structure: exposition, development and re-exposition. Although there is not a description intended by the composer, within the exposition four thematic sections manifesting four contrasting atmospheres are presented, and each of them can be taken to correspond to the four winds: an expressive coral generated by the canonic imitation between trumpets and horn, with inputs of trombone and tuba; an imitative and contrapuntal part in a nervous and shaken character; a homophonic section sharped and violent; and finally, a homophonic section again but with a heavy mass sound and less sharped. After a long development in which the different themes appear, the re-exposition takes place, shortened a 62% in accordance with the Golden Section. There, the themes occur in reverse order to the exhibition, concluding with the coral –in which the melodies are retrograded- that ends diluted between different winds blow. The whole piece is developed within an atonal language in which the chromatic density appears very carefully balanced, and where the use of microtonality effects and mutes confers a unique aesthetic to the work.

Proemium Metals and Gustavo Díaz Jerez after finishing a rehearsal

The work with which we conclude our journey takes us to an aesthetic close to Stravinsky's neoclassicism. Derek Bourgeois’ Brass Quintet No. 2 was composed in 1972 for the Philip Jones Ensemble. However, the British group refused to play the piece due to its very high technical difficulty and thus remained unperformed until April 2014, when it was premiered by Proemium Metals. The work is divided into three movements. The formal basis of each one of them is -either more or less explicitly, prepared or distortioned- the classical scheme of tripartite sonata in its most common two variants: ABA or exposition-development-recapitulation.

The first movement begins with the anticipation of the A theme –a rhythmically binary one- through the presentation of its head and tail elements in a developer way. The A theme will not appear perfectly defined until its presentation in octave by the two trumpets. Next, a fugue exposition serves as a transition towards the second big section of the movement. The fugue exposition subject is based on the A theme and its four occurrences take place at the interval distance of a 3rd minor, diachronically setting the seventh minor chord over G sharp. Moreover, the fugue exposition subject is accompanied by four polirhythmical controsoggetti. Later, the B theme is progressive bringing in, by intercalating it in a persistent fight with elements of the A theme tail and its rhythmical accompaniment. In contrast with the A theme, the B theme is rhythmically ternary, hemiolical in respect to the binary general time of the movement. The B theme will appear completely presented later, having successive occurrences throughout the trumpet, horn, trombone and tuba, always over a fully homophonical texture that contrasts with the rhythmical character of the A theme accompaniment. And suddenly  the exposition begins,  in which the A theme reappears first in trumpet and trombone, and afterwards in interval inversion in trumpet and tuba. The second movement begins with the same chord (perfect fifth and sixth minor) and with the same instruments (horn, trombone and tuba) with which it began and ended the first movement, giving a feeling of unity and continuity. Here we find a bucolic and expressive first theme set out in trumpet and tuba. Then, after a stunning trumpet cadence serves as a transition, it appears a second theme of aggressive and violent, whose start is based on the tail of the  A theme of the first movement. This second movement ends with the recapitulation of the first theme, now in pianissimo and color screening instruments for the use of dampers. The continuity between second and third movement is set back harmonious and timbrically, this time through minor third interval between the trumpets.

The last movement exposition has the particularity of being bi-thematic. it has a theme A built from elements of the themes of the first movement, and a B theme that is executed by the muted trumpet and aims to simulate the character of an improvised and fuzzy melody. After that, it begins the development of the movement on the A theme, quickly passing to develop the B theme, with an overlay of rhythmic melodies on the bass tuba leading to a chaotic and apparent simultaneous improvisation of different instruments texture. The re-exposition appears announced by the trumpets again in the distance of a third minor. However, the exposition order is altered here. Indeed, we find first the B theme without the melody, only with the accompaniment (now in the horn, trombone and tuba subwoofer register), and only after that is the A theme re-exposed. The work concludes with a coda of considerable dimensions based on the motive that it had initiated this third movement. All this is made within a complex harmonic language, with great presence of dissonances but in which polarization to certain tones is not rejected.