aires - Program Notes by Christopher Adler


These five works, offered as a collection without predetermined order, are the most recent composition of soundON 2008 guest composer Juan Campoverde Q. While informed by contemporary complexism and spectralism, the title (“airs”) 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 variation, 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 folk songs, sometimes rendered as slow pedal tones (heard in stark relief throughout all four movements) and sometimes in dense polyphony (up to five voices in P). Rather than continuous streams of notes as in Baroque variations, Campoverde’s polyphonic tangles are presented in explosionive activity that rapidly decays 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. The newest movement, A, is dedicated to Christopher Adler.

© Juan Campoverde Q. 2017