Thomas Adès, Cassandra Miller, Joan Magrané and Bernat Vivancos
Two of today’s most international Catalan composers are the main focus of a season that will revolve around singing as a privileged showcase.
Joan Magrané (Reus, 1988) has recently been resident composer in some of Catalonia’s leading institutions. His music is inspired by the pillars of the Western cultural tradition, in particular the world of Renaissance polyphonic music. The intricate architecture of the music of Josquin des Prez or Orlande de Lassus, among others, provides one of the starting points for a musical concept based on counterpoint. The result is a crystal-clear sound where nothing is superfluous, contained in its expression and geometric in its depth. Its vocabulary full of suggestive elements, meticulously full of meaning in the style of 17th-century madrigalism, makes the work of composers – at least in Magrané’s case – very similar to the writing and meter of poetry. It is no coincidence that poetry is one of the sources of his work: the presence of Ausiàs March, Pere Gimferrer or Francesc Garriga, among others, can be constantly felt, either as the raw material of the text used to produce a canvas of sound, or as a companion during hours of wakefulness. The references to the pictorial worlds of Dürer, Piero della Francesca, Miró or Fortuny, among others, can similarly be felt throughout his career.
Magrané’s time at L’Auditori includes the presentation in Catalonia of Obreda for orchestra, as well as Two short motets with the National Youth Choir of Catalonia. In addition, there will be premieres of works commissioned by the OBC with the L’Auditori de Barcelona Choir and the prestigious ensemble Graindelavoix.
The music of Bernat Vivancos (Barcelona, 1973), somewhere between luminescence and asceticism, reviews the vocal religious tradition as well as modern sounds. The composer has very close ties to the Escolania de Montserrat. His time at the monastery has made a mark on his career, which started at the Conservatoire de Paris and included studying under the guidance of Lasse Thoresen in Oslo, and which resulted in the development of a unique and unmistakable voice. His works include traces of the modal music of various Western vocal traditions and the search for lively and resplendent, incorporeal harmonies. Nature, the sound presence of faith and, ultimately, beauty, are the backbones of a particular musical world, powerfully human and gleaming, close and universal. Throughout this coming season, eight of the author’s works – five of which will see their world premiere at L’Auditori – provide the opportunity to access to one of the most fascinating sound universes in existence today.
This season also marks the end of the portrait of two very unique voices from the international scene – those of Cassandra Miller and Thomas Adès – that started last year.
The music of Canadian composer Cassandra Miller – in constant search for the possibilities of producing new work with existing material – is a limitless assortment of borrowed music that drives a composition process in which references and outlines become blurred. Tracery, Bel Canto and Traveller Song, for example, are precise works of dilution based on recorded vocal music.
Thomas Adès’ work has the eclectic and unorthodox stamp typical of English music. In overview, his invitation to L’Auditori concludes, on the one hand, with the premiere of the violin concerto Märchentänze, which was jointly commissioned by L’Auditori, the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Danish National Symphony Orchestra and the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra; and, on the other, with the presentation of Franz Schubert’s Winterreise (Winter Journey) sung by tenor Ian Bostridge.