A Metaphor for Power (2018)
Instrumentation: 3(3rd doubles to picc.).3(3rd doubles to eh.).3cl(3rd doubles Bass cl.).3(3rd doubles to cubs.)-18.104.22.168-timp.3perc-hp-pno-str
approx. duration: 13’ 00"
“We hold these TRUTHS to be SELF-EVIDENT, that all men are created EQUAL, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
This is how the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence reads...
In our present-day (year 2018), this sentence invites us, and certainly myself, to think about our experience in this nation, The United States of America. It is unquestionably evident that the present-day of the American experience is governed by a perceivable, and unceasingly growing inequality. From the abysmal separation of social classes, to the renaissance of the historical but silenced racial discrimination. “A Metaphor for Power,” a title chosen from a James Baldwin quote, is a musical essay that attempts to address the present turbulence of ideologies, dreams and hard-hitting realities. The piece unfolds as an expedition through an expanse of troublesome experiences visited by fleeting and unsuccessful moments of hope. Through this journey of struggle, emotional sufferings and survival, the narrative is interrupted with ideological symbolisms that, in the aftermath of the affair, may have taken different meanings. As a Latino composer from Puerto Rico – and United States citizen by birth – this musical essay takes a more vivid significance as many of the unpleasant events have been part of my direct and personal American experience.
premiere: From a nationwide call for scores, Iván Enrique Rodriguez and his orchestral work A Metaphor for Power were selected to participate in the Edward T. Cone Composition Institute with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. A Metaphor for Power was premiered by the NJSO under the baton of internationally renowned maestro Cristian Măcelaru.
Sinfonía No.1 (2016)
Instrumentation: Soprano, Mezzo-soprano, Tenor, Bass soloists – Chorus 3(3rd doubles to picc.).2.eh.2.bcl(doubles Eb cl.).2.cbn-22.214.171.124-timp(2 players).3perc-2hp-str
approx. duration: 50’ 00"
Amongst sleepless nights, hermit evenings of abstraction, between questions objected with more questions and tons of lacerating emotions, this Symphony was born. Composed in three "dramatic" parts, this work aims to pour those emotions as well as musically alleviating the centennial question that, by the hands of Shakespeare, Hamlet asks. “Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and, by opposing, end them. To die, to sleep – to sleep, perchance to dream.”
The symphony begins with a long orchestral episode where human strengths progressively fatigue opening the way to a sorrowful introspection. With the entry of the soloist singers begins the stormy period that define the presence of pain and exposes the fearsome limits of the "human condition".
The second part, for the chorus and soloists only, uses part of the text of the "Dies Irae" from the requiem mass. This part attempts to depict the arrival at the abysmal bottommost of anguish, that moment when an intense imploration is risen, when nothing is enough, when pain clouds consciousness and longs only to get relief.
The third and final part develops a stoic musical atmosphere where Hamlet's question is finally voiced by the soloists. This part attempts to present the musically lugubrious serenity of the consciousness in recognizing the inevitable human ending; ending that with panic is lived by the flesh. As we musically get closer to the human collapsing point, rest is blissfully presented.
The symphony concludes with a heroic and hopeful chorale declaring the end of the battle, the arrival of rest and the Perpetual Light’s eternal shelter of love.
premiere: Sinfonía No.1 has not yet had a public premiere.
Las Puertas de Cuerno y Marfil (2016)
Instrumentation: 2(2nd doubles picc.).2.2(2nd doubles Eb clar.).2(2nd doubles cbn.)-126.96.36.199-timp.3perc-hp-str
approx. duration: 12’ 00"
Las Puertas de Cuerno y Marfil (The Gates of Horn and Ivory) is a symphonic poem based on the eponymous poetic image used by Homer in the nineteenth book of the Odyssey to differentiate the deceitful dreams from the real dreams. Real dreams are those who enter through the gate made of horn and deceitful dreams are those who enter through the gate made of ivory.
Given the mystical and prophetic quality of dreams in Homer’s narrative (later used by multiple authors), this symphonic poem intends to build several contrasting sound worlds interacting with each other in the realm of dreams for the purpose of shaping, deceiving or auguring Fate. Despite the particular qualities of each sound worlds and musical motifs of the piece, the development and interaction of these, makes the interpretation of its origin progressively more obscure.
The Gates of Horn and Ivory is a work that, immersing the listener into the realm of dreams, challenges his personal interpretation of reality against deception and how these elements determine Fate. Dares the listener to discern which dreams come through the Ivory door and which dreams come through the Horn door, and how these contours the present.
approx. duration: 9’ 00"
Luminis is a set of fantasy variations on original musical motifs. The latin term "luminis" (singular genitive of "lumen" in English) represents the possession of Light. Throughout piece, the original motifs remain relatively unchanged. However the surrounding musical environment changes constantly. As the variations develop, they progressively describe the encirclement of light by darkness. Even when describing musically what could be total darkness, the original motifs remain relatively untouched. This is intended to give Light a ubiquitous quality to state that regardless of the conditions surrounding it, the energy emanating from this point—whatever it may symbolize for us individually—reinforces an inextinguishable radiancy and omnipresence. The tempi markings for the variations are:
• Muy brillate (very bright)
• Tenue, opaco, débil (Dim, opaque, weak)
• Rodeado de sombras (Surrounded by shadows)
• Total oscuridad (Total darkness)
• Poca luz, tenue, distante (Low light, dim, distant)
• Luz absoluta (Absolute Light)
As the two elements of light and darkness are opposite in that one is the absence of the other, the effect of no change on the original motifs despite the constant change of the musical variations might suggest that, although opposite in nature, they conceive their existence within the same vertex.
Fortuna Victrix: a Tale of War and Triumph (2014)
Instrumentation: 3.(3rd double to picc).2.eh.2.bcl.2.cbn-188.8.131.52-timp.3perc-hp-str
approx. duration: 12' 00"
Fortuna Victrix: a Tale of War and Triumph is an episodic tone poem that tries to describe the war of the soul against its greatest fears and frustrations. Fortuna Victrix is the materialization of the goddess Fortuna who brings and represents vicory in wars and conflicts. This symphonic poem begins marked Abstruce Times of Darkenss attempting to describe the soul mired in its deepest frustration and hunted by fears. The soul surrounded by the darkness of its fears, decides to confront them in battle. The battle, marked Times of Misfortune, Doom and Demise, has the soul crushed and almost ready to give up (marked The Summoning), but conjures Fortuna Victrix to bring victory to the horrible battle. The sections marked The Advent, With Immense Majesty, and Victorious represent the arrival of the goddess, her command and victory against the darkness. The final section, Ataraxia, finds the soul in a state of peace and victorious in battle against its fears and frustrations. This work attempts to represent through the goddess Fortuna Victrix the passions and dream that any being can possess in his soul, and that only they can fight and overcome any fear and frustration.
premiere: Fortuna Victrix: a Tale of War and Triumph has not yet had a public premiere.
Himno de Vida (2013)
approx. duration: 7' 00"
Himno de Vida (Life's Hymn) is an orchestral overture composed for trumpeter, producer and arranger Luis “Perico” Ortiz for inclusion on the recording Tiempo de Amar. The album was produced specifically for the support of the San Jorge Children’s Foundation.
premiere: Himno de Vida was premiered and recorded in 2013 by the Ernesto Ramos Antonini Symphony Orchestra with Iván Enrique Rodriguez as conductor in the Jesús María Sanromá Symphony Hall at the Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico.
Crónica de Una Vida (2012)
approx. duration: 10' 30"
Crónica de Una Vida (A Life’s Chronicle) is an orchestral overture that is structured as absolute music in Sonata form, yet has programmatic intention and an aura of Life itself writing a letter about the process of living. The overture travels through different landscapes of Life recalling its journey from the genesis of its existence to the acceptance of death as the achievement of life’s cycle and spiritual plenitude.
premiere: Crónica de Una Vida was premiered and recorded in 2013 by Ernesto Ramos Antonini Symphony Orchestra with Iván Enrique Rodriguez as conductor in the Puerto Rico Capitol House.