THE MUSICIANS Adam Levin, Guitar Cuarteto ASSAI Reynaldo Maceo, violín 1o Gladys Silot, violín 2o José A. Martínez, viola Joaquín Ruiz Asumendi, violoncello; 1- El Jinete Azul y 16 - 22 Caprichos no1 Javier Esbrí, guitar in 3 - Kitab Pablo J. Heras Moral, trumpet cuts 12 - 15 Sparks CD NOTES by ADAM LEVIN Having grown up in a small suburb of Chicago where rock 'n roll, blues and jazz were the basic music pedi- gree, Spanish guitar music seemed an unlikely match for a wide-eyed Eric Clapton wannabe, dreaming of one day making it to "the show." My Spanish musical palate was developed, truth be told, on a bribe. Master Andre Segovia's 20 selected studies by 19th century Spanish composer Fernando Sor, my father offered, and I'll buy you the electric guitar you've been hocking me for. It turned out to be a good deal for both of us. By ten I had slugged my way through all twenty studies, was hooked, and no longer cared about getting an electric guitar. Onward to Francisco Tarrega, Isaac Albeniz, Manuel de Falla, Enrique Granados, Joaquín Turina and Joaquín Rodrigo, all of who captured both the mystery of Spanish culture and the highly impressionable imagination of a ten-year-old classical guitarist. Through the sonic lens of these great masters I began to realize the essence and evolution of the Spanish repertoire. The golden ages of classical Spanish composition (and there have been se- veral) have been impermanent and somewhat erratic in their production. As other nations around the globe de- veloped a contemporary musical language, the Spanish contribution and influence became stifled due in part to the policies of the isolationist dictator, Francisco Franco, who in many ways severed Spain from it's cross-fertilization with Europe and the West. This systematically levered a schism between pre-and post- Franco cultural sensibilities, obstructed the easy transmigration of Spanish musical motifs and effectively halted the integration of contemporary Spanish composition into world music. As my familiarity with Spanish history and the music it has sired over it's course has grown, I have won- dered, naturally, what's next? It was not until my pilgrimage to Spain as a Fulbright scholar and arrival in Madrid in 2008 that I discovered that Spain was in the midst of another musical Re- naissance. Although this was not so immediately obvious in the creation of new guitar literature, I found a creative revolution in the composition of new music for other solo instruments and chamber works by a great number of gifted Spanish composers. The recording you are about to listen to, Music from Out of Time, is a small but deeply personal step towards answering my own questions about the development of Spanish guitar music in the 21st Century and at the same time contributing to it's ad- vance. The works presented in this world-premiere performance explore the diversity of Spanish repertoire written for the guitar within the last 15 years (some within the past 15 months!). The spectrum of musical voices compiled on this disc is vast and argues for a Spain that has changed course once again. Not only are Spanish composers revi- siting their nationalist past, but more importantly, with eagerness and dedication they are pursuing new and unique compositional styles. Eduardo Morales-Caso, José María Sánchez-Verdú, David del Puerto, Mario Gosálvez-Blanco and Leonardo Balada have written monumental works for the guitar advancing both the musical and technical possibilities of the instrument while creating enduring works, all of which I am certain, will find their way into the standard repertoire. This recording lays a foundation for the future presentation of contemporary Spanish guitar works, some already "under cons- truction," which I have commissioned from today's pre-eminent and up-and-coming Spanish composers. It is my hope that this recording begins the process of bridging the gap between music of the Spanish nationalist era (think Flamenco, "cante jondo" and rasqueado), the musical revolution of 21st century Spain and the infusion of popular and modern musical motifs, tonalities, and novel rhythmic devices. Above all else, I hope you enjoy the music. (Adam Levin ) PROGRAM NOTES written by the Composers 'EL JINETE AZUL' (2007) is my heart-felt tribute to the brilliant Russian painter, the forefather of lyrical abstractionism, Wassily Kandinsky. This fantasía for guitar and string quartet, inspired by Kandinsky's "El Jinete Azul," projects the magic of the painting through lyrical timbric textures and a striking clarity of form. Adam Levin's performance of the Morales-Caso with the Assai String Quartet is a world première recording of the piece. ( Eduardo Morales-Caso ) "LA FRAGÜA DEL VULCANO" (2009) ingeniously showcases the seemingly limitless technical and expressive possibilities of the Spanish guitar. Inspired by Velazquez' masterpiece of the same title, this fantasía of great sonority and lyrical poetic twists builds it's musical drama on the harmonic tension between contrasting 'cells' and motifs organized around a central thematic structure. "La Fragua de Vulcano" is dedicated to the gifted guitarist and my dear friend, Adam Levin. ( Eduardo Morales-Caso ) "KITAB" for two guitars, (1995) was the first piece in a seven part cycle of compositions written for various guitar and chamber ensembles between 1995 and 1997. Translated from Arabic, "Kitab" means, very simply, "book." The first piece of the cycle, a duet for two guitars, was written in Frankfurt for Avelina Vidal and Pedro Martín and premiered in Comillas, Spain in 1996. Soon to be completed is an eighth Kitab written for guitar quartet. ( José M. Sánchez-Verdú ) 'VIENTO DE PRIMAVERA' (2009) is a triptych I have composed for Adam Levin, based on my concerto "Cefiro," written for guitar and chamber ensemble. It's three movements -- moderato, lento and allegro -- evolve relentlessly through varied and contrasting moods, which demand great technical versatility from the interpreter. The first movement, "Entre la brisa," engenders a certain calmness and tranquility through it's continuous and fluid movement. Though delicate in effect it builds on a formidable underlying complexity. "Luz de tarde," which follows, is a contemplative meditation infused with moments of twilight melancholy. The work ends with "Danza," a vigorous, cheerful and virtuosic movement. To me, it has the feel of jazz. In it's middle section it engages the guitar idiomatically; fast arpeggios across alternating open strings and fretted notes in a passage that is light and agile when deftly performed. "Cefiro" is the gentle spring wind softly caressing the newly emergent fields and announcing the arrival of mild weather and the waning of winter's harshness. This work was written in 2009 and is dedicated in friendship to a gifted and brilliant musician, Adam Levin. ( David del Puerto ) 'MUSIC FROM OUT OF TIME' (2009) This work was composed and dedicated to my friend and virtuoso guitarist, Adam Levin. Taken as a whole, the piece captures a wide range of musical styles well suited to the guitar's astonishing versatility. The numerical approach of each movement distinguishes and identifies it while at the same time giving structure to the work as a whole. The piece opens with a prelude in which the energy builds and drives the next four movements. The second movement describes a dichotomy, the contrast between two realities, one visible, audible and concrete, and the other, nuanced and abstract. Both co-exist in the movement and are interwoven, while maintaining their autonomy and individuality. Each theme has it's own vehement spirit, an original and unmistakable attitude that seems to defy the call of it's thematic counterpart. In the end, the conflict is resolved as opposition gives way to harmony. The third movement entitled "Aim to Serve," may be the most characteristic and signature movement of this work. The modesty, simplicity and pure humility expressed here are ideally suited to the color and subtle elegance of the guitar, and in the high register the most noble and intimate musical "truths" sing from the instrument. The Fourth movement, "Self Existence," explores the experience of being in it's purest essence freed of all constraints and limitations. An absolutely primitive motif in D-major is the subject for a fugue in three voices, which develops freely in a Baroque style and is reminiscent of contrapuntal inventions from the 17th and 18th centuries. Dauntingly complex as it is written for the guitar, this is a virtuosic challenge, which only the finest instrumentalist will conquer. "Radiance," the final movement, is a grand and triumphant climax, a lucid celebration and a dedication to the rhythm of Bulería, which is both cheerful and virtuosic. The inspired interpreter will make the guitar shine in all of it's brilliance here. (Mario Gosálvez-Blanco) 'SPARKS' (1990) for Guitar and muted trumpet This is an idiosyncratic duet indeed; an uncommon pairing of instrumental voices. One never knows when and where inspiration will strike! I envisioned this scenario at a roadside gas station in Andalusia: While filling my tank, I saw a guitarist playing under the open sky in front of a mechanic shop. Somebody was cheering, singing and dancing while holding a wine jug from which he drank while the guitarist strummed and hammered away at fiery scalar passages using his thumb to pluck the strings. In the background I could see Olivar de Jaén. It was this image emblazoned in memory, which inspired me to write a dialogue between the guitar and trumpet. The music was composed as if it were an impromptu performance between the two instruments. The resulting piece consists of four parts: Prelude, Interlude I, Interlude II, and Postlude. Think of these segments as fleeting musical sparks, which work separately as well as synergistically to create a musical image evocative of the scene which inspired them. The work as a whole is informal, except for the third "spark," which is a humoresque composed by means of 12 tones organized according to a mathematically derived process, which generates all of the sounds from the Interlude in the integral serial form used in the early 20th Century. (Mario Gosálvez-Blanco) 'CAPRICHOS no.1' (2006) for guitar and string quartet Commissioned by the Austin Classical Guitar Society, this quintet consists of seven short movements freely based on folk songs by the poet-dramatist Federico García Lorca. Originally composed for piano and voice, they are drawn from the popular melodies of Andalucía. Generally, the first two or three bars of these arrangements are quoted by Balada; from there he has expanded his compositions using an assortment of contemporary techniques (aleatoric devices, tone clusters, atonality mixed with tonality, textures, etc.) This symbiosis of the avant-garde with the folkloric traditional has become a personal signature in Balada's music (starting with "Sinfonia en Negro-Homage to Martin Lither King" (l968)-where evocative African-American motifs are used-and in "Homages to Casals and Sarasate" (1975)-evocative of Spanish folk melodies). In much the same way that Manuel de Falla and Aaron Copeland blended traditional folk music with the techniques of their time, Balada amalgamates contemporary folkloric melodies with modern technical advances. In the first movement (Los Cuartro Muleros), a folk melody is presented virtuosically with dance-like rhythms. In the second movement (La Tarara), the composer subjects the melody to a dark, austere interpretation. In (Los Peregrinitos), the third movement, a delicate melody is played by the guitar in it's lowest register while the strings play upper register harmonics throughout. In the fourth movement (Sevillana) a graceful dance from Seville is arranged virtuosically. The effect is that of the whole ensemble producing collectively the sonic impression of a surrealistic folk guitar. In the Fifth movement (Lejano or "For Away") simplicity is the guiding principle with the guitar producing a plaintive melody in a repetitious manner from the very high to the very low register, and always very softly. The quartet creates layers of simple lines based on that same melody. Everything is very quiet. In VI (Nana or "Lullaby") everything is also very quiet and simple, but the relationship between guitar and strings, undergoes a metamorphosis in which the strings play only supportive chords and the guitar a simple melody. At this point both guitar and strings play in a low register. Following the subdued character of these last two movements the brilliant and spirited seventh and final movement (Zapateado) is an uplifting traditional dance. The world première of "Capriccios No 1" was performed on July 16, 2006 in Austin, Texas by guitarist Eliot Fisk and the Miró String Quartet to whom the work is dedicated. Adam Levin's performance of the Balada with the Assai String Quartet is a world première recording of the piece. ( Leonardo Balada ) THE SESSIONS The recording sessions for guitar and string quartet and duos were made in the main scoring room at CATA Studios (Argüelles Center for Art and Technology in Madrid), using DPA 4006 microphones in a Decca Tree configuration and Schoeps CMC6 Mk IV directional microphones in front of each instrument. For Adam Levin's guitar, we also placed two DPA 4006 microphones in AB configuration. For the guitar and string quartet and duo sessions we used "Milenia" microphone pre amplifiers and for the solo guitar sessions a Telefunken 672/2 pre-amplifier. Edgar Grau- Audio recording engineer and chief production assistant. CREDITS Producido por / Production: Mario Gosálvez y Adam Levin Asistente de Producción / Production Assistant: Edgar Grau Asistente de Grabación / Recording Assistant: Alex García Diseño y Arte / Art and Design: Carlos Bermúdez Fotografía / Photography: Sean Dwyer and Teresa Tam Studios Acknowledgments I would like to thank : Gabriel Estarellas, Eliot Fisk, Oscar Ghiglia, David, Veda, Adriane, Jon, Pam and Maxine Levin, Hana Christensen, Faih McCoy Scriven, Marta Dominguez, Fulbright Association, Stephan Connor, Richard Brune, Chris Wheeler, Richard and Zoe Kaufman, Northwestern University and New England Conservatory. Nuestros agradecimientos también a Elena Cifuentes, Lidia Fiscer, Manuel Blanco, Pascual Osa, Elena G. Clarke, Manuel Fernández Plana, Aneta Acenova, Deli supermarket, Fuentes de Lebanza y Vinos Loess. Gracias a todos por su colaboración inestimable en esta producción.