for cello trio(2016)
|Commissioned by the OpenICE commissioning program of the International Contemporary Ensemble
|February 10th, 2016; Abrons Arts Center, NYC; Michael Nicolas, Kivie-Cahn Lipman, and Katinka Kleijn, cello
The title is a Latin word which encompasses a range of meanings and associations, including current of air, breath, vital life principle, and in alchemical contexts, the soul. Along with Sumna for solo viola da gamba and Cantus for solo cello, these form part of a group of works inspired by the vocal styles of Hildegard von Bingen, infused with the riffs and ornamentations of doom metal. The trio uses a melodic fragment from Sumna as its basis, a kind of "lamento motif” of a descending melodic figure, expressing sadness or grief. Envisioning the trio’s sound as ecstatic consort music, I arranged the lamento motif using a heterophonic texture, where the each player intones the melody simultaneously, but at slightly different speeds. These florid passages are contrasted by more primal, non-melodic sounds, such as that of the introduction, where slowly converging low register tones evoke primal vocalizations. Throughout, the notes and rhythms are enlivened with shimmering sounds, eventually transforming into a wall of distortion.
– Mario Diaz de Leon