A (Para Christopher Adler, con mis agradecimientos)
W (for James Avery, in memoriam)
Performed by Christopher Adler, piano.
While informed by contemporary complexism and spectralism, the title (“airs”) partly hints at a mysterious shadow of Baroque-era lyricism. They are a modern incarnation of the variation suite for solo keyboard of the early Baroque era (ca. 1570–1650) sometimes labeled variatio, diminution, double, division, or diferencia. In these works, a source melody, such as a chorale or folk song, is rendered slowly as melodic variations are derived in progressively faster and more intricate polyrhythmic subdivisions. These works were a showcase of rhythmic variety and the performer’s technical virtuosity.
Campoverde’s source melodies are Ecuadorean popular and folk songs (part of a traditional body of works sometimes referred to as aires típicos, another reference implied in the title of the series), sometimes rendered as slow pedal tones (heard in stark relief throughout all four movements) and sometimes in dense polyphony (up to five voices in aires P).
Rather than continuous streams of notes as in Baroque variations, Campoverde’s polyphonic tangles are presented in explosions of activity, rapidly decaying in dynamics and speed, as though they are musical realizations of the natural decay of the piano’s tone. This allusion is enhanced as the entire piano vibrates with energy from the dissonant collision of the natural harmonics of each low pedal tone with the equal-tempered harmonies sounding above.
released November 25, 2014
Recorded at Warren Music Center Studio by Josef Kucera, October 8, 2010. Mastered by Jeff Kaiser.
Album cover photo by Edwin Fonseca / Augustana College, used by permission.