Remembrance is the first symphony for symphonic band of Carlos Pellicer and has been commissioned by the Societat Filharmónica Alteanense as a piece of obligatory interpretation for the 45th edition of the Certamen Internacional de Bandas de Música ‘Villa de Altea’ which, under the slogan ‘Una dona del poble: Carmelina Sánchez-Cutillas’ (a woman of the town: Carmelina Sánchez-Cutillas), will be dedicated to women, to gender equality and in particular to the figure of this writer from Alicante. In this way, the Remembrance symphony is built from the novel that possibly represents Sanchez-Cutillas: ‘Matèria de Bretanya’, no doubt the novel that has become, is and will be the reference book for all the Alteans. Its premiere was on December 1, 2018 in the Palau Altea of the same city during the celebration of this International Music Band Contest.
I. Transfigured Reality >>
II. Because we all have a ‘mom Paula’… >>
III. Imposed Reality: present and absence >>
© Carlos Pellicer. All music is copyright.
- S.M. La Artística de Buñol
- Saturday, December 1, 2018
- CIM Altea 2018
- Altea, Spain
- Associãção Banda dos Bombeiros Voluntários de Esposende
- Saturday, December 1, 2018
- CIM Altea 2018
- Altea, Spain
Diego Armando Rivera
- Banda Sinfónica Municipal de Sibaté
- Saturday, December 1, 2018
- CIM Altea 2018
- Altea, Spain
The WOMAN, very present in Remembrance
The Remembrance symphony tries to imbue itself with the same resources and the same vision that the writer Carmelina Sánchez-Cutillas wanted to focus on in her most important novel ‘Matèria de Bretanya’. All as a tribute to a woman, like so many others, who tried to survive a world too covered with ashes as she affirms in the novel, a woman of her time, a woman from the village. Really the whole symphony, and especially the second movement ‘Because we all have a mom Paula …’, takes the figure of Sánchez-Cutillas masterfully exemplified in his novel as a starting point to pay homage to them. The writer tells us about ‘la mare Paula’ (the mom Paula) in one of the most beautiful and endearing chapters of the novel: ‘Remembrança’. A lady whom the children called mother without being one and who only did for them what so many others: tell stories, have the patience that the rest of older people could not have and tuck them in, tuck them in when they needed it. The Remembrance symphony is born thanks to them and therefore it is for them.
General notes on the work
Remembrance is not a descriptive symphony that follows a script based on the texts of the novel. Music itself does not tell any story, it’s just that, music. What it does try is to provoke very different sensations continuously. It is the same essence with which Sánchez-Cutillas impregnated his novel ‘Matèria de Bretanya’ and in this symphony the same is intended but using the language of music as an inevitable tool towards a fantastic musical game of continuous remembrance: perhaps to resurrect beings and the emotions that once existed with the intention of regaining form and presence, especially within the mind of the listener.
C. Sánchez-Cutillas: 'Matèria de Bretanya'
Carmelina Sánchez-Cutillas (Madrid, 1927-València, 2009) was a historian, poet and novelist who used to write in Castilian but above all in Valencian, her mother tongue and with which she was and continues to be admired by some of her most prolific works. I cultivate poetry, where it is framed in the generation of 50 along with Vicent Andrés Estellés and Maria Beneyto, but also made inroads into the novel, where it reaped its greatest success with ‘Matèria de Bretanya’, winner of the Andròmina Award for Narrative in 1975 . It is about this novel, ‘Matèria de Bretanya’, about which the ‘matter’ itself is extracted to compose the Remembrance symphony.
And why this novel?
No doubt because ‘Matèria de Bretanya’ has become, is and will be the reference book for all the Alteans. Carmelina Sánchez-Cutillas, testimony of her past, lived a childhood in which, like the rest of the children of her generation, everything was kept in her heart because of an inexplicable war for her and above all of a hard post-war. And so it is, with almost fifty years of age, as he prepares to rescue from that heart his lived experiences, his memories of yesterday, of that girl he was. This is what he tells us in the first part of the novel:
«The Origin» «I have written this handful of sheets because I wanted to rescue, save from oblivion a whole world of beings and living things. Possibly reality will seem transfigured; I am also losing the condition of witnessing past events, and start participating actively in this remembrance game. “
Symphony in 3 movements
Remembrance is a symphony written in three movements of which the first and third are written in a language much more forceful, percussive, frenetic and somewhat ambiguous at times. On the other hand, the second movement is the opposite. To relax all the accumulated tension of the beginning of the symphony the second movement merges into an immense tangle of emotion difficult to contain. Each of the three movements have their distinct parts of presentation, development and conclusion, all of which are always constructed from three main thematic elements that serve as a union and cohesion throughout the work.
- Approximate total duration of the work: 21 min.
- Grade: 5-6
- Instrumentation for symphonic band: Piccolo, Flutes (1,2,3,4), Oboes (1,2), English Horn, Bassoons (1,2), Contrabassoon (optional), Clarinet in Eb, Clarinets in Bb (1,2,3), Alto Clarinet in Eb (optional), Bass Clarinet in Bb, Contrabass Clarinet in Bb (optional), Soprano Saxophone, Alto Saxophones in Eb (1,2), Tenor Saxophones in Bb (1,2), Baritone Saxophone in Eb, Piccolo trumpet in Bb, Trumpets in Bb (1,2,3,4), Horns in Eb or F (1,2,3,4), Trombones in C or Sib (1,2,3), Bass trombone, Baritones/Euphoniums in C or Bb (1,2), Bass tubas in C, or Eb, or Bb (1,2), Violoncello, Contrabass, Harp, Piano, Timpani, Percussion (for 6 percussionists 1,2,3,4,5,6), and Concert Bass Drum.
I. Transfigured Reality
Duration approx. 9:30
From the same introduction, the entire metal section presents us the one that will be the main element, which along with two others, are reused throughout the work, with very diverse sound forms and possibilities…
After a first part with great strength and vigor, the appearance of a second more relaxed and subtle serves to relax the previous musical discourse and above all to prepare the next one. It is in the third part where, presented by the percussion in a clear and forceful, is based almost entirely on a permanent ostinato that allows you to build from endless endless variations of the two main elements of the work taken to the extreme in some moments . Again everything is interrupted with an ambiguous but relaxed section that serves to unleash the re-exposition of the first part of this first movement, concluding in a resounding and forceful way using the main element with which the symphony was just beginning.
This first movement is born from the idea that nothing is what it seems, at least from the beginning. In the novel ‘Mátèria de Bretanya’ by Carmelina Sánchez-Cutillas, she presents us with a world that is undoubtedly real but at the same time idealized and apparent. In fact it can be considered ‘Matèria de Bretanya’ as an exceptional work of (inevitable) transfiguration of reality, as a prolific work of remembrance game, of unalterable permanence and of the search for a totally unrecoverable world. These forms or techniques that Sánchez-Cutillas uses in his novel to take the reader where she wants to take us, is what is also intended in this first movement of the symphony. Thus, the listener can perceive in the first instance that a thematic element or intervention can go in one direction, but suddenly everything changes our point of view without being able to guess where we are going next. Of this, the own musical speech is in charge to the equal that towards the Alicante writer in its novel: to take us by ways totally guided by them. The introduction of this first movement is an example: from the first measure we are presented with an idea that seems to go in one direction but that twists completely in the second with the appearance of a contradictory and confusing element in the serious instruments. The intention is to ‘transfigure’ musically almost everything that seems obvious.
II. Because we all have a 'mom Paula'...
Duration approx. 7:20
It is presented with a very ethereal introduction conducted by a trombone solo in its most expressive register. This introduction pushes us irremediably towards the main theme of this second movement that is born in turn from one of the thematic elements presented in the first movement…
And from here an emotional ‘tangle’ that is developing little by little and that incorporates again the thematic elements presented previously. Actually the difficulty of this second movement lies in gradually dosing this conscientiously built tangle to get a continuous load of emotion. It is necessary to try to direct the musical discourse towards the culminating point where everything exposed, finally, converges powerfully. At this point is where each performer can let go, now yes, and fluctuate with the music, with every nuance, with every sensitizing and provocative chord. The expressiveness, the emotional charge and the music ultimately send over the indications written in the score. Afterwards, it is necessary to achieve that little by little everything vanishes as it had begun until the intervention, as in the beginning, of the trombone solo. An end to the silence provoked to give more vigor to the beginning of the third and final movement of the symphony.
The title of this second movement clearly hints at the musical path that is intended to be reached from the beginning. Sánchez-Cutillas writes the chapter entitled ‘Remembrança’ in his novel ‘Matèria de Bretanya’, which focuses on the figure of ‘La mare Paula’ (the mom Paula), an old lady who although she had no family relationship with the writer, for her and seems be that for many other boys and girls was even a little more than that. Undoubtedly, the final sentence of this chapter in the novel proves it: ‘And when the grandparents buried Mother Paula, we, the children, buried many things’. Surely all of us have had or have our own ‘mother Paula’. Some, perhaps, still have that luck: our mother, our grandmother, a neighbor, a sister, a friend… a woman in short who has told us stories, who has clothed us, who has loved us, and we to her . In short, this second movement aims to be a fair and necessary tribute to all of them, to those women who fortunately have always existed and will exist for all of us, for all of us. The emotion of this music to be interpreted must necessarily be linked to our own ‘Mare Paula’.
III. Imposed Reality: present and absence
Duration approx. 4:20
The third movement of the Remembrance Symphony is the shortest but possibly the most intense. Starting from the conceptual idea of a totally imposed reality, it is presented with a firm and forceful introduction presenting again a variation of the main theme of the work by the horns and trombones…
All this converges in a determining point that bursts in a totally surprising way and with great force presented by the percussion, trombones, tubas, etc. Two complete sets of tom-toms strategically placed on the stage to create a striking sonority and stereo image, are reinforced by a second drum with various percussive effects. Everything is doomed to a grand finale, with a lot of strength that again takes the two main elements of the whole work but now yes, without any kind of ‘transfiguration’. At last, what the listener hears in a direct and forceful way is what it seems.
It is always hard to assume the passage of time, although we make every effort to disguise our almost forgotten memories, our unrecoverable absences. The best thing is always to assume the present. The essence of this third movement of the Remembrance Symphony lies in the fact that every reality that we try to recover from the past will always be inevitably transfigured by the simple fact of the passage of time, our memory thus makes it up to ourselves. But the truth is that life can be much more pleasant if we focus on the present, even more than in the past or the future.
45 Edition of the Certamen Internacional ‘Vila d’Altea’
As every year, the Organizing Committee designates a theme or theme on which the entire contest revolves. For the 45th edition of this year 2018, the theme will be linked to gender equality and personalized in one of the most representative women of the city of Altea and Valencian literature, the writer Carmelina Sánchez-Cutillas. In this way, the motto chosen for this occasion is ‘Una dona del poble: Carmelina Sánchez-Cutillas’ (a woman of the town: Carmelina Sánchez-Cutillas).
Web of the Contest: http://certamenaltea.alteacultural.es
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+ Info about the Contest
Since 1889, the Societat Filarmónica Alteanense has been the main cultural entity of Altea. In the 1930s it maintained the only library in the population -with more than 2,000 volumes- and, from 1931 to 1936, it published the monthly magazine ‘ALTEA’. This cultural dynamism caused the Societat Filarmónica Alteanense to call and organize, in 1949, the 1st Altea Music Band Contest. Unfortunately, the economic difficulties of the time did not allow this initiative to continue. The second Band Competition was held in February 1973. From this date until today, with the sponsorship of the City Council of Altea and other entities and organizations, and with the organization of the Societat Filarmónica Alteanense, there has been no interruption . On the occasion of the 25th edition, in 1996, the Societat Filarmónica Alteanense gives a new impetus to this event: international call, important prizes, juries of great musical qualification and a careful organization are the keys for the International Bands Contest of Music Villa de Altea has deserved year after year recognition and prestige at a national and international level. Currently the Contest has a single participation section where bands of up to 135 musicians can register. ‘Una dona del poble: Carmelina Sánchez-Cutillas’ (a woman from the village: Carmelina Sánchez-Cutillas). Motto chosen for this year 2018.