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for orchestra | 17'ca. (2023) download | purchase[3333-4331-timp+4-hp-pno-strings]
Reminiscent of the work with the same tittle written back in 2012 by English composer Brian Ferneyhough, in this case, "Finis Terrae" delves into the rich tapestry of myth and history surrounding Cabo Finisterra, infusing the composition with echoes of the Roman tradition of the end of the world. For the Romans, Cabo Finisterra held a mystique as the "Ara Solis," the Altar of the Sun, where the sun appeared to sink into the vast Atlantic Ocean during stunning sunsets. This awe-inspiring spectacle, coupled with the region's rugged beauty, led the Romans to believe that Cabo Finisterra marked the literal end of the earth, beyond which lay the mare tenebrorum, or sea of darkness.
Drawing on this mythical imagery, "Finis Terrae" becomes a sonic journey to the edge of existence, where the boundaries between reality and myth blur. The composition's intricate textures and shifting harmonies evoke the sense of standing on the precipice of the known world, gazing out into the infinite expanse of the ocean. Through the interplay of musical fragments and motifs, the composer captures the sense of wonder and awe that the Romans must have felt as they witnessed the sun's descent into the mare tenebrorum, symbolizing the cyclical nature of creation and destruction.
In "Finis Terrae," the composer invites us to contemplate our place in the universe, confronting the mysteries of existence and the passage of time. Like the Romans before us, we are drawn to the edge of the earth, where the sun meets the sea and the boundary between light and darkness blurs. Through music, we embark on a voyage of discovery, exploring the depths of the human experience and the eternal dance of light and shadow at the edge of the world.
Embarking on a daring exploration of sound, skillfully interweaving elements inspired by the rich history and breathtaking landscapes of the Galician Costa da Morte and the village of Fisterra this piece draws inspiration from the Catalan artistic technique of "Trencadís," a method rooted in the architectural masterpieces of Catalan Modernism, the composer ingeniously mirrors the region's rugged beauty through musical means.
The concept of Trencadís, meaning "broken" or "chopped," becomes a metaphor for the fragmented yet cohesive nature of the piece's composition. Like the mosaic artisans piecing together shards of ceramic and glass, the composer meticulously crafts a musical landscape where disparate elements - pitch, rhythm, playing technique, and timbre - coalesce into a unified sonic image. This intricate parametric counterpoint creates a kaleidoscopic tapestry of timbres, rhythms, and harmonies, evoking the wild and varied terrain of Fisterra and its surroundings.
Central to "Finis Terrae" is a contrapuntal writing style that explores the use of minimalistic small cells, each fragment serving as a foundation for the larger musical structure. These fragments, reminiscent of the rugged cliffs and windswept shores of the Costa da Morte, are interlinked and expanded throughout the composition, creating a hypnotic and immersive texture that draws listeners into its intricate web.
As performers navigate the labyrinthine pathways of "Finis Terrae," they are tasked with carefully cementing together each musical shard, piecing together the mosaic of sound with unwavering precision and control. The result is a mesmerizing symphony that reflects the beauty and complexity of the Galician landscape, inviting listeners on a journey of discovery.
Through "Finis Terrae," the composer invites us to explore the boundaries between chaos and order, fragmentation and unity, mirroring the resilience and beauty found within the broken pieces of our world. Just as the architects of Catalan Modernism transformed shattered fragments into breathtaking works of art, the composer transforms musical fragments into a captivating sonic masterpiece, revealing the hidden marvels of Fisterra and the Costa da Morte.
Albert CARBONELL - FINIS TERRAE (for orchestra).pdf