A new CD of recent chamber and solo works by prominent Portuguese composers, (flut)uações, will have its formal launch concert Thursday, Feb. 23, at 7:30pm GMT, and will be live-streamed from the venue in Lisbon, Portugal.
Featuring Katharine Rawdon on flutes of varying sizes, Catherine Strynckx on cello, and Francisco Cipriano on vibraphone, marimba, and percussion, the launch recital showcases the lyrical and sensuous nature of the music by six of the seven composers featured on the CD.
Ivan Moody’s, “Istella” (“Star” in Sardinian), a work for bass flute, vibraphone, and crotale, sets the stage with its striking and enchanting mix of sonorities, and its unapologetic lyricism. The CD includes a second work by Moody, “Lyrebird”, for solo piccolo with vocals. Moody is a British-born, longtime Lisbon resident who is a musicologist and prolific composer.
The recital continues with a movement from the solo cello work “Três Poemas e um Violoncelo” (“Three Poems and a Cello”) by Anne Victorino de Almeida, based on the poem of Eugénio Andrade (1923-2005) titled “Procuro-te” — “Looking for you”. As the title suggests, the cello ranges high and low, seeking in perhaps the way that only a cello can…while suggesting a very Portuguese, very 20th-century ambiguity, rather than any triumphant success or abject failure. Along with composing, Victorino de Almeida is active as an arts administrator.
“Five for Two”, by Carlos Marecos, written for a four flutes and a room full of percussion, follows in the program. The longest work on the CD, in five movements for two performers—hence the title—Marecos conjures up various sound-worlds, exploiting the wide range of instruments at his disposal and both rhythmically strict and freely spontaneous compositional styles. A haunting work that invites multiple listening, by the highly-respected Lisbon composer and professor.
Next up is a short work for solo concert flute, “Places I Go in my Sleep” by the flutist Katharine Rawdon. Three brief depictions of dream states, these pieces use the flute as a lyrical, virtuosic, even frenzied musical proponent, with a few “extended” techniques included for added textural interest.
Andreia Pinto-Correia’s duo “Sobre um quadro de Júlio Pomar” (“On a Painting by Júlio Pomar”), for flute or alto flute and cello, follows. Inspired by a striking painting by Pomar (1926-2018), the music conjures up a surreal encounter between the 20th-century poet Fernando Pessoa and the 16th-century Portuguese King D. Sebastião, lost in battle at Alcácer Quibir. Evoking the desert scenario, the flute and cello lines intertwine, bend, escape and entwine again. Pinto-Correia, whose solo alto flute work “Pleistocene Landscapes” is also included on the CD, lives in New York City, and has been commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony, and the Jack Quartet.
Wrapping up the program is the “Suite ‘O Doido e a Morte’” (“Death and the Madman”), by Alexandre Delgado, based on themes from the first opera in his “trilogy of madness”. Written for flute and bass flute, marimba, and vibraphone, the music is by turns darkly witty, luminous, mysterious, frenetic, and hysterical. Delgado is the composer of many memorable chamber works, and is highly regarded as an educator, concert presenter, and arts journalist. Stamped with the unmistakable “Delgadian” touch, it brings the celebratory concert launching (flut)uações to a close in perfect style.
To access the live-stream, click here to the site of O’Culto de Ajuda in Lisbon, Portugal (19.30h GMT, Thursday, February 23rd, 2023). The CD is available through link Neper Música, and on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music, and Bandcamp.