And this afternoon we are also going to the absolute premiere of Utopías by Isabel Urrutia (Algorta, 1967), a composition dedicated to the BOS “in celebration of its centenary” and which has the support of the Department of Culture of the Basque Government.
Isabel Urrutia is one of the main composers of her generation in the international contemporary music landscape. The writing style of her works is characterized by the development of the polyphony of timbres and dynamics, often highlighting elements of folklore from different countries, with special attachment to Basque folklore. In recent years, her indefatigable creative restlessness has led her to launch World Timbres Mixture, a new “sound palette” for composing music that has resulted from research on the timbral characteristics of instruments from popular traditions from around the world. A happy discovery of new sounds – carried out together with the composer José Luis Campana – that offers the possibility of colouring the timbres of classical instruments with those of instruments of oral tradition and vice-versa.
With regard to Utopias, and in the words of the composer, “the spatial treatment of the music was the starting point in the composition of the work.” This is evident in Urrutia’s efforts to cover all dimensions of the sound space and to take into consideration the height of the sounds, the depth, the planes and the textures, the densities and the colours- strong or blurred, absolute or streaky – along with changing masses and a rich and exhilarating metrics. But attention to detail does not lose sight of the organicity of the whole and, therefore, the discourse is always coherent: “Throughout the entire work we will hear different sound planes, sound objects and their echoes… in a world of perspectives, movement and lights and shadows of sound”, points out the author. In Utopías a special relevance is given to the timbral quality in all the families of the orchestral community. With this intention, less common instruments are included in the standard templates, so that the colour is increased and the sound space is expanded. For this reason, the common components of the wood family include the piccolo, the English horn, the bass clarinet and the contrabassoon. Among the brass we hear the tenor trombones, the bass trombone and the tuba, along with horns and trumpets. The diversity is increased thanks to the richness of the timbre that comes from the percussion: marimba, glockenspiel and vibraphone, among the plate instruments; variety of heights in cymbals, cowbells, tam-tam and Peking gongs and also presence of the bass drum. The string completes this wide range of sounds organized in two movements, the first of which is built on the basis of “long lines that expand and compress in time”. The second is based on rapid groups of notes that “arise from the idea of disintegration of the sound line.” In matters of timbre and dynamics, Utopías is an exquisite work of musical goldsmithing in which we can appreciate “dialogues, echoes, questions and answers”.