Geoffrey Alvarez: orchestral works

 

download score digital realisation • duration 40′ 26″

Instrumentation

 

Piccolo, 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, 2 Clarinets in B flat, 2 Bassoons, 2 Horns in F, 2 Trumpets in B flat, 2 Trombones, Tuba, Percussion (two players) (Clashed Cymbals, Tubular Bells, Large Gong, Snare Drum, Bass Drum) Timpani, Harp, Soprano, Bass, Double Choir, Strings

 

Composerʼs note

 

My ninth symphony is a setting of parts  of Ernesto Cardenals epic poem Canto Cosmico. Cardenal is one of Nicaraguas most distinctive voices – this is my second work to drawn on Nicaraguan poetry, the first – Triptico Nicaragüense – setting Ruben Darío – an exploration of my Nicaraguan fathers cultural heritage.  I have chosen to focus on five aspects of Cardenals monumental vision: creation as coitus, a fervent social consciousness, a quiet meditation on the beauty of his home in Solentiname (illustrated above), the grim political realities of Nicaraguan history,  and a burning revolutionary spirit. 

 

Musically, the five movements of the work form an arc, beginning with an extended tone-poem dealing with creation, followed by a short ʻscherzoʼ dealing with a tragic accident with a sugar press, the central ʻAdagioʼ, another ʻscherzoʼ dealing with political torture, concluding with Beethovenian call to revolution.

 

In the spirit of Eisler and Brecht, the work is direct in expression, communicating with clarity and force without recourse to unnecessarily complexity. Without presenting insurmountable obstacles, there is plenty for the choral society and orchestra to enjoy.

 

Each of the five parts of this work may be performed alone or in association with other selected movements.

 

  Printed copy of Score • International postage included: £15

  Printed copy of Score • UK postage included: £20

  Download licence: £3 each

Orchestral material available for hire or purchase from Geoffrey Alvarez

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

score digital realisation •  duration 18′ 50″

 

Instrumentation

 

2 Flutes 2 Oboes 2 Clarinets in Bb 2 Bassoons

2 Horns F 2 Trumpets in Bb

Timpani

Strings

The Dark Night of the Soul

 

A ravenous ghoul,

The serpent of destruction and rebirth,

Coils around the dark night-soul:

An all pervasive passacaglia

Suffocating and corrupting tired flesh.

 

The basest material survives

This putrefaction,

Awaiting dawn’s rose...

 

© Copyright Geoffrey Álvarez 2015

 

La Noche Oscura del Alma is Geoffrey Álvarez' tenth symphony, the first of a cycle exploring the four stages of the alchemical Great Work, or Magnum Opus, the first being the ʻnigredo’ or ʻblackening’, poetically portrayed in the poem above. The twelfth, Citrinitas, is already composed, and is dedicated to organist Kevin Bowyer who has already premiered his eighth symphony: St Paul's Shipwreck. The eleventh, Whitening Winds, for symphonic wind orchestra, and the thirteenth, The Chemical Wedding, for organ and large orchestra are in preparation.

 


 

score   digital realisation video of the timpani and organ structure of the work Duration circa 30′ 30

Les Noces Chemiques represents  the final stage of the Alchemical Great Work:  the rubedo (redening) – a process involving the philosopher's stone, described by    Abū Mūsā Jābir ibn Ḥayyān, (born c. 721, Ṭūs, Iran-died c. 815, Al’ Kūfah, Iraq),  a father of chemistry whose name is often associated with the term ‘gibberish’  whilst the  musical backbone of this work is the gene detailed in  Lawn RM, Efstratiadis A, O’Connell C, Maniatis T: The nucleotide sequence of the human beta-globin gene. Cell. 1980 Oct;21(3):647-51        

Note on the biological structure of the piece. 

The main body of the work begins and ends with a musical representation  of the spiral form of the double helix of DNA  Each note played by the timpani is equivalent to one codon:  G = guanine        D flat = adenine E flat = cytosine C = thymine  Each note played simulteously with the timpani by the steel drums  is the paired codon in the DNA double-helix.ine as the musical backbone of this work  Each motiv mainly played by the organ, but also often shared amongst the other instruments  represents an amino acid with the exception of the final representation of the spiral form of the double helix of DNA whose organic bases are alchemically transformed  into a molten blood red golden staircase at the conclusion of the piece.

Instrumentation

Piccolo, 2 Flutes, Bass Flute, 2 Oboes, Cor Anglais, Clarinet in Eb, 2 Clarinets in  Bb, Bass Clarinet, 2 Bassoons, Contrabassoon

6 Horns in F, Piccolo Trumpet in D, 2 Trumpets in B flat, Bass Trumpet2 Tenor Trombones, Bass Trombone, Tuba

Timpani 

Percussion: Tenor Bass (Four Bass) Steel Drums, Congas, 2 Whips,                                                                      Clashed Cymbals, Tam-tam, Snare Drum, Bass Drum, Vibraphone , 2 Cowbells

Organ, Harp

Strings

orchestral material available from  Geoffrey Álvarez


 

 

        excerpt digital realisation  duration 40′ 26″

Instrumentation

 

2 flutes, piccolo, 2 oboes, cor anglais, 2 clarinets ,2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets,

3 trombones, tuba, timpani, bass drum, cymbals, tambourine, tubular bells, xylophone, piano, harp, strings

 

All instruments notated at written pitch duration circa 24

 

Composerʼs note

 

This work was premiered in its original form in St Giles, Cripplegate under my direction by the Alvarez Chamber Orchestra in 1981. The revision was undertaken in 2010. The work is the nearest to traditional symphonic form I have attempted and was composed at a time whilst I was still a student at the Royal Academy of Music avidly absorbing the music of a variety of other composers: Waltonʼs First Symphony and Lutoslawskiʼs Concerto for Orchestra, for instance, are strong influences in this and following movement, Passacaglia, whilst the Bartok of the Dance Suite and Bluebeardʼs Castle can be heard in the last turbulent movement: Totentanz. Of significance to my subsequent development was the simultaneous presentation of the first and second subject of the exposition of the first movement, which  had been heard sequentially, in the conventional manner in the  exposition.

  Printed copy of Score UK postage included: £15

  Printed copy of Score International postage included: £20

  Download licence: £3 each

Orchestral material available for hire or purchase from Geoffrey Alvarez

 


 

 

Three pieces from the King’s Last Prophecy

a nine-hour dream in five operas

 

1: Alunas Creation

Overture

 

peruse and purchase score digital realisation duration 10′44″

 

Instrumentation

 

piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, cor anglais, 2 clarinets,

bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon 4 horns,

2 trumpets, 2 tenor trombones, bass trombone, tuba

 

timpani. percussion(4 players): Taiko drum, Tom-tom, harp, pianoforte, strings

 

 

2: Danzamar espiral

Ballet – for orchestra

 

peruse and purchase score digital realistaion   duration 9′18″

 

Instrumentation

 

piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, cor anglais, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet,

2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 2 tenor trombones, bass trombone, tuba

 

timpani. percussion(4 players): anvil, congas, cymbals, snare drum, taiko drum,

2 tom toms, xylorimba glockenspiel, vibraphone, tubular bells, harp, pianoforte, strings

 

Illustration: the Kogi of Columbia – subject of the Kings Last Prophecy

 

3:El corazón del mundo

Aria for soprano and orchestra

 

peruse and purchase score digital realisation • duration 9′26″

 

Instrumentation

 

piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, cor anglais, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon,

4 horns, 2 trumpets, 2 tenor trombones, bass trombone, tuba, percussion(4 players):  2 wood blocks, 2 temple blocks (lower pitched than the wood blocks) glockenspiel, vibraphone, tubular bells harp strings

 

The poem El corazón del mundo is from Masque and Marriage, the third part of a five opera dream based on the ‘Weltanschauung’ of the Kogi of Colombia: The King’s Last Prophecy. There are two main sources: Los Kogi de La Sierra Nevada by Reichel Dolmatoff and The Heart of the World; the latter is both a documentary and a book by Alan Ereira. Alan Ereira notes the universal resonance of Kogi beliefs in his work cited above, finding echoes in other world religions: the Madrona, for instance, mentioned in the song, is the archetype of the Great Mother found in cultures as diverse as Ancient Mexico, Old Europe, India: the Virgin of the Catholic world.

 

Orchestral material available for hire or purchase from Geoffrey Alvarez

 


 

 

 

digital realisation excerpt duration circa 14 minutes

 

Instrumentation

 

Piccolo, 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes (2nd doubling Cor Anglais), 2 Clarinets (2nd doubling Bass Clarinet)

Bassoon, Contrabassoon, 4 Horns, 2 Trumpets, 2 Tenor Trombones, Tuba, Timpani,

Percussion: two players Snare Drum, Bass Drum, Cymbals, Tubular Bells, Xylophone,

Piano, Harp, Strings

 

Orchestral material available for hire or purchase from Geoffrey Alvarez

 

Composerʼs Note

 

The work is structured around the number seven, sacred to the seven vowel God

JIEVOAŌ according to Robert Graves: The Lord of the seven day week was ʻDisʼ, the transcendental God of the Hyperboreans, each day symbolised by one of the seven vowels introduced to correspond to the additional two strings introduced to the five course lyre in the 4th century by Simonides, the subject of my address to the Robert Graves White Goddess Conference in Manchester University and subsequently published in Gravesiana: the Journal of the Robert Graves Society.

 

Download paper here.

 

He cannot walk in the brazen sky, but among
those goods that we of mortality attain to he goes
the whole way. Never on foot or ship could you find
the marvelous road to the feast of the- Hyperboreans.

Perseus came to them once, a leader of men,
entered their houses,
found them making hecatombs of asses
to Apollo, who in their joyance and favourable
speech rejoices, and smiles to see
the rampant lust of the lewd beasts.

Never the Muse is absent
from their ways: lyres clash, and the flutes cry,
and everywhere maiden choruses whirling.
They bind their hair in golden laurel and take their holiday.
Neither disease nor bitter old age is mixed
in their sacred blood; far from labor and battle
they live; they escape Nemesis,
the over just.

 

From Pindar: Tenth Phythian Ode 498 b.c.

  Download licence: £2.50 each

  Printed copy of Score • UK postage included: £12

  Printed copy of Score • International postage included: £15


 

 

excerpt digital realisation

 

Instrumentation

 

Piccolo, 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, Cor Anglais, 2 Clarinets, Bass Clarinet,

2 Bassoons, Contrabassoon, 4 Horns, 2 Trumpets, 3 Trombones, Tuba,

Timpani – two players, Percussion – five players, Harp, Pianoforte, Strings

 

Duration c. 47 minutes

 

Composerʼs note

 

The result of my work on music on Gravesʼ grammar of poetic myth, The White Goddess is a song cycle for bass and chamber orchestra, My Last Muse, setting six of Gravesʼ poems inspired by Julia Simonne, his ʻlast museʼ and my Second Symphony: The Five Seasons, whose structure is based on a presentation of Gravesʼ Celtic Five-Season Year expressed as the five vowels of the Beth-Luis-Nion alphabet, each season assigned to a vowel and corresponding tree - the third month at the top of the diagram above, for instance, is Ura, the Heather Goddess (Uroica in Gallic).

 

Each season is also divided into three months, also associated with certain trees, and five intercalary days, associated with the birthdays of the five principle Egyptian deities, Osiris, Horus, Set, Isis and Nephtys, and the days at which Thoth beat the Moon Goddess Isis at draughts; whilst some may find nothing new under the sun, there is plenty to be discovered

under the moon.

 

 

  Download licence: £3.50 each

    Printed copy of Score • UK postage included: £20

  Printed copy of Score • International postage included: £28

Orchestral material available for hire or purchase from Geoffrey Alvarez


 

concertino for piano and chamber orchestra

 

This piece was awarded a prize in the

Tansman 6th International Competition of Musical Personalities, Composers Competition, Lodz 2006.

 

The adjudicators included Krauze, Penderecki, Nyman, Holliger and Zur.

 

He was pianoforte soloist in this work with the Arthur Rubenstein Philharmonic Orchestra in Lodz, conducted by Luca Pfaff (pictured on the right)

 

 

 

digital realisation  excerpt

   Download licence: £2 each

  Printed copy of Score • UK postage included: £15

  Printed copy of Score • International postage included: £18

Orchestral material available for hire or purchase from Geoffrey Alvarez


 

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