Alicia Terzian’s creative evolution
My composing style displays a continuous evolution through three periods.
The first period, from 1954 to 1964, features many orchestral, chamber, and choral works (Violin Concerto, First Symphony, Three Pieces for string, Toccata for piano, Three Madrigals for choir, Lorca’s Soongsbook, Contrasting Movements for Orchestra, etc.).
The second period is the cosmic stage, technically joined to post-serialism and atonalism, and marked by the utilization of the microtone, which would become a constant characteristic in my music up to the present day. Images Book for organ, Carmen Criaturalis for solo horn and orchestra, Voces for mezzo, chamber group, and tape, Shantiniketan for solo flute, and many other works were written as theatre and ballet music in this time.
The third period embraces space music with transformation of the sound in real time as well as personal melodic microtonal criteria. It includes the sound produced by orchestra instruments transformed by means of electronic equipment and heard by the audience through many loudspeakers that surround the concert hall as a sonorous dome. With this system, I obtained a new original sound from the orchestra, enriched and moving into the space. I applied this system in one of my orchestral works: Canto a mí misma, performed with the BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra and the Symphonia Varsovia.
To this period belong other works like: Yagua-ya yuca for percussion, Off the Edge for baritone and orchestra, Les yeux fertiles for mezzo and chamber orchestra, Ofrenda a Bach for organ, Le viol des anges for 6 percussions, Au delá des rêves for trio, and more.
CONCIERTO PARA VIOLIN Y ORQUESTA
Written in 1954-55, Concierto Para Violin Y Orquesta premiered at the Teatro Colón on November 17, 1969 with the National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Washington Castro. In 1970, the work was selected for its premiere at the opening concert of the 3rd Music Festival of the Americas and Spain, taking place at the Teatro Real de Madrid with the Spanish Symphony Orchestra conducted by Vicente Spiteri and featuring Simón Bajour as soloist.
In 1972 the piece had its first performance in Yerevan, Armenia, with the Philharmonia Yerevan Orchestra performed by Aram Katanian and featuring Willy Mogatzian as soloist. The Violin Concerto has been interpreted several times in Europe and other Latin American and Middle Eastern countries: in Reykjavik (Iceland), Cagliari (Italy), Bremen (Germany), Zurich (Switzerland), Caracas (Venezuela), Bogotá (Colombia), Taiwan, and Yerevan, among others. These performances always featured Rafael Gintoli as soloist, and were directed by Pedro Ignacio Calderón, Francisco Rettig, Duilio Dobrin, Daniel Schweizer, Gunter Neuhold, and Keith Brown, among other leading orchestra directors.
Concierto Para Violin Y Orquesta is structured in 3 movements. The first movement — Allegro — is based on two contrasting themes: the first of rhythmic character, the second of lyrical nature. The bright symphonism is characteristic of this movement, the entire work, and the great technical skill of the soloist. The Cadenza del violin — of great virtuosity — alternates with the different themes together with microtonal elements (quarter tones).
The second movement — Theme with Variations — is based on an ancient Armenian popular song, compiled by musicologist Dr. Gomidas Vartabed. It is a sad melody with text that says: “Daughter your mother has died.” It is followed by four variations ranging from a quiet environment to a perpetual cycle of great vivacity, with the force returning at the end and the original theme wrapped in a very delicate sound.
The third movement — Andante-Allegro — begins with the bronzes that give way to Allegro vivace. Towards the end a virtuous cadence of the violin built with a melodic theme of memories and a microtonal treatment. The Coda of this ending is a quick — it has great rhythmic force that has its origin at the end of the Three Pieces for strings written in 1954.
TRES PIEZAS PARA CUERDAS
This work was written for string quartet as well as string orchestra in 1954, when I was in the first year of my studies of composition at the National Conservatory of Music of Buenos Aires. The version you have here is for string orchestra. It is divided into three movements and the inspiration comes somewhat from Armenian folklore. The first movement, “Canción del atardecer - Sunset song,” is in 3 parts: a-b-a and coda. The two different themes are contrasting. The second, “Pastoral con variaciones - Pastoral with variations,” is based on a melody like the medieval ancient music played by the altos with different variations. The last movement, “Danza rústica - Rustic Dance” is a very rhythmical and lively rondó. This work was played in many different concerts in Europe, with different orchestras and string quartets. — Alicia Terzian
REVIEWS OF THE CONCERTO FOR VIOLIN AND ORCHESTRA
La Nación newspaper (Buenos Aires)
René Vargas Vera writes: “The Zurich Symphony Orchestra conducted by Massimiliano Matesic performed on tour through our country with soloist Rafael Gintoli, who performed his ‘Violin Concerto.’ I wrote this work at age 20 and [brought it into] the world [through] the master fingers of Rafael Gintoli. Our composer developed in this work her own harmonic and contrapuntal conception, in such a way that the orchestra reached a sound balance with the solo voice of the violin. This is clearly perceived when Rafael Gintoli shows meticulously, the suggestive plot of Terzian’s concerto in 3 movements. The work is surprising, for its clarity and the elaborate contrasts, the violin and orchestra dialogues, the explosions and backwaters, the orchestral grandiosity and introspective climates, the halo of mystery, and the irruption of the dance over 50 years ago are enjoyed intensely.”
La Nación newspaper (Buenos Aires)
“One of the best compositions of the outstanding Argentine composer could be heard, one of the most active diffusers of contemporary music. The Philharmonic Orchestra of Buenos Aires, directed by Jorge Rotter, had a superlative performer in Rafael Gintoli, not only because of the quality of performance, but because he knew how to penetrate the aesthetics of the work. It is a generous score in the richness of the orchestration, with the use of microtonal intervals in which Gintoli provided moments of subtle phrasing, quality, and emotional intensity, especially in that wonderful 2nd movement whose theme is an ancient Armenian song in which serenity and virtuosity alternate ”
L’Unione Sarda newspaper (Sardinia, Italy)
Greca Piras writes: “From Buenos Aires came violinist Rafael Gintoli and director Pedro Ignacio Calderón to premiere Alicia Terzian’s Violin and Orchestra Concerto with the Cagliari Community Orchestra. Terzian’s work…[demonstrates] the creative experience that the composer has in the field of contemporary music. Rafael Gintoli was a first-rate violinist, technically perfect and of great virtuosity. This is a true piece of bravery that the interpreter [delivered] in a masterful way.”
New Journal (Madrid)
F. Ruiz Coca writes: “He closed the afternoon of the 3rd Music Festival of America and Spain with the ‘Concerto for Violin and Orchestra’ by Alicia Terzian. Conceived as an extension of the historical expressionist constant, it is a work of great importance, a good work and in which the brilliance of soloist Simón Bajour stands out for a complete technique and sensitive musicality.”
La Nuova Sardegna newspaper (Sardinia, Italy)
Daniela Sari writes: “Alicia Terzian is an Argentine lady who has a great passion [for] contemporary music, and who has composed, directed, and explored for many years, being the voice of Latin American music. Alicia Terzian’s Violin Concerto has a particular accent for rhythmic and thematic elaboration and the composer gives ample space to the solo instrument, filling it with virtuosity in the sound discourse. Rafael Gintoli overcame it with great expertise, designing the atmosphere by highlighting the particular descriptive or dramatic contours of the work, whose orchestral exhibition is balanced and expressive
La Razón newspaper (Buenos Aires)
Ricardo Turró writes: “The Teatro Colón, within the framework of the concert of the Philharmonic of Buenos Aires directed by Washington Castro, announced in an absolute premiere the ‘Concerto for violin and orchestra’ by Alicia Terzian, a work that gave its composer unquestionable success. It is a piece filled with sincerity and depth, with sensitive musical appreciation and balance. It is written ‘for the violin’ and not ‘against the violin.’ The rich orchestration knows the nuance and combines its loudness well with that of the soloist without ever drowning it. There are in the first movement and in the last difficult and attractive cadence for the violin. The walk with variations is wide, thematically intense, with penetrating cantábile and excellent elaboration. The finale has more value in the rhythmic impulse passages. The violinist Szymsia Bajour had an outstanding performance, technically safe, played like a virtuoso. His acclamation by the public was of strict justice as was that of the author and the orchestra that Washington Castro conducted with skill and ease.”
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