Improving the practice and performance of contemporary music

Joan Guinjoan: Divertiment

Listen to a sample of the recording of Divertiment by Miquel Bernat

Introduction by the composer Joan Guinjoan

The origin of this short piece is related to my Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra. In fact, it was Miquel Bernat, the soloist at the premiere of the concerto, who suggested I use one of its marimba sequences as the basis of a piece for this collection.

After listening to his magnificent instrument with the beautiful sound of its bass octave and the multiple textures achieved by this great soloist, I decided to write this composition as an improvisation in accordance with the simplicity of its form and using a free language guided by intuition.

Following the introduction, the main sequence is formed by atmospheric arabesques that suggest the pantonality. There follows a brief rhythmic motif also borrowed from the percussion concerto, which is developed and reaffirmed harmonically before linking up with a totally modified version of the initial sequence. The piece concludes with a kind of dialogue between the high and low registers, always accompanied by the motif exposed beforehand, creating a kind of coda where the musical discourse gradually fades out.

Interpretation by Miquel Bernat

The origins of this work lie in a section of the second movement of the Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra by the same composer, which I premiered in 2013 in Barcelona. In that section there are some long, gentle, legato phrases, and when I was studying it, I was fascinated by how well they sounded on the marimba by itself, without any need for orchestral support.

As the legato in long sections is somewhat uncommon and difficult to play on the marimba, and bearing in mind there was no piece in this collection that tackled this aspect, I decided to ask Joan Guinjoan to develop this theme (it is the theme in bar 8 in the work) to create a legato etude for solo marimba, using long phrases like those in the moderato in this work. The composer also tackled other types of legatos, shorter and more expressive ones with different combinations and articulations in the melismas of the initial section and the con grazia section (beginning at bar 22).

Another more common approach to the legato in the marimba repertoire is the section of rolls (beginning at bar 52).

lsl.clicktrack files

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