WORKS / solo

KOUBBA

1997KOUBBAfor marimba | 8'47''

PROGRAM NOTES


KOUBBA is the name of an Arabic temple built to the memory of an important and relevant person. This work is dedicated to the memory of my teacher Xavier Joaquín who died of leukemia in Barcelona in 1996 at the age of forty-nine. This work was commissioned by my personal friend and a very good percussionist, Sebastià Bel. It is a piece for solo marimba articulated in six sections:
The first one [Lento assai (quasi ad libitum)] creates the necessary atmosphere of expectation to captivate the audience and gives certain suspending feelings through the two diminished chords (of the three possible in the system of twelve tones); from the beginning, the musical text is free (there are not barlines) only appears the approximate indication of theduration (in seconds). This section ends in the fermata (at the end of the first page) after the grace notes.
The second section [Moderato] represent the most scholastic part of the piece. An eight bars chorale is presented and harmonized in four parts which is followed by five variations. The baroque orthodox treatment of the chorale and the variations as a Chaconne, remember the method of Bach’s time.
From the third section of the piece, [Tempo giusto], the setting is totally changed. It appears a distortion of the key Db2, that we call the ‘harmful note’ (which appears encircled in the score). The distortion is obtained by means of a piece of reed subjected to the key with an elastic gum. This key, represents the fateful virus that comes each nine sixteenth notes. All thissection is based in permutations of the number 9. After a little bridge [Meno mosso] where appear different kinds of tremolos, we arrive to the middle section of the piece [Rítmico] which requires the virtuosity of the player. Here we find a minimal treatment that enlarge more and more the section with an accumulative growing of different elements like the pentatonic melody {Eb, Db, Eb, Gb, Eb}, which drift to the Fibonacci series (1, 2, 3 5, ...) and the accompaniment derivative of the conventional arithmetic progression (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, ...).
All this section culminates in the tam-tam’s stroke that symbolizes the death (the second bar of the fourth staff, page number eight). After that we find the scream of fury and the protest followed by the transfiguration [Tempo primo (quasi ad libitum)] sweeter and more calmed. We find, one more time, the diminished chords of the beginning section that vanish intervening five new arpeggiated chords (extremely delicate, like an harp, morendo).
The last section [Epitafi] returns to the same thematic material of the first, closing the vital circle and giving unity to the piece.
“Alpha es et o”
koubba.pdf