Improving the practice and performance of contemporary music

David del Puerto: 42° a la sombra

Listen to a sample of the recording of 42° a la sombra by Miquel Bernat

Introduction by the composer David del Puerto

Originally this piece was a marimba solo, in the form of an etude focused on rapid and widely spaced chords. afterwards, these tense, rapid musical patterns brought forth the idea to give this gesture to vocalizations made by the performer, repeated continually, without recompense. As presented now, it is more of a short performance piece, though the theme and desperate character are perhaps not particularly conducive to the stage.

Interpretation by Miquel Bernat

Divided into two distinct sections, the first is more agitated and rhythmic and requires an exuberant, intense and sonorous interpretation, with plenty of balance and swing. This music has two main motifs, the initial one having an African feel that is suddenly interrupted by more Balkan flavours, such as in the bars in 13/8 time.

This contrasts sharply with the second part of the piece, which transports us to a more fragile, refined atmosphere. The music is also more abstract and technical, ideal for working the double alternated stroke, or the rotation of the wrist (in four-mallet technique) in every possible combination:

1-2/3-4 1-2/3 1/3-4 2/3-4...
1-2/4-3 1-2/4 1/4-3...
2-1/3-4 2/3-4...

In the second part, two different tempos are possible. if, at the beginning, elegir the performer chooses a tempo close to quarter note = 130, then I recommend choosing dotted quarter note = quarter note. But if the initial tempo is very fast, close to quarter note = 150, I recommend choosing eighth note = sixteenth note. At the end, in bar 184, the performer should do the reverse.

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