Urquiza: Ex voto (2019)

Scored for alto saxophone, piano and percussion

Duration 18’

Commission by Radio France

15 February 2020, Radio France - Festival Présences (first performance)
postponed: 5th May 2020, Fundación BBVA, Bilbao, Spain (Spanish premiere)

Composer’s note:

Here is a small collection of ex voto - thanking sculptures, miniatures, images – for Dea Roma, who has kindly welcomed me at Villa Medici during the months in which I have written the piece.

The first movement [pavone] is a peacock : the animal that greeted me upon my arrival. A silly bird with a ridiculous cry (why not say it) and an elegant silhouette which reminds of the fantastic animals depicted in grotesques. The music starts with a homorhythmic phrase and fans slowly its feathers to cover the whole acoustic space.

The second movement [occhio] is my eye, admiring the spectacular panorama of the city. The details, the depths, the quick change of the weather and the light, caress the senses with a gentle and demanding murmur. The third movement [cuore] is my heart, beating for Rome's heart : its antique heritage which lies deep beneath its surface (marbles in baroque palaces, proportions in renaissaince paintings, the foundations of most buildings). The music throws a stone to its own depths and takes the time to listen to the echo.

The fourth movement [orecchio] is my ear, the one which questions the garden, that answers mostly with a silence - that I appreciate. The fifth movement [piede] is my foot, the keeper of my freedom in a city in which public transport is impractical, but where it is always pleasant to walk – or run. I have put a sound before the other as I do with my feet to walk – and soon, through this simple but effective movement, I have found myself elsewhere.

I leave these presents at the feet of the statue of Dea Roma which ends the orange tree alley, not as a gift, but as a tribute to her generosity. She has the world in her hands and looks distracted. If she doesn't notice, I hope at least the peacock will appreciate.

M. U.

© Trio Accanto 2021