Orlando Jacinto Garcia

Celestial Voices

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Five compositions as rich in atmosphere as they are intelligent in structure. "Music for Berlin" (1990) for one performer on flute, piccolo, C flute, alto flute, and bass flute, and one pianist, slowly develops a haunting low flute melody. The pianist plays briefly on the strings of the piano, then plays ascending arpeggios in broken, jagged rhythms, a pattern that a higher flute then imitates. After the wind player changes to another instrument, the rhythmic patterns occur in arpeggiated chromatic clusters in the piano part, while the flute continues with slow tones. Then the work simply stops, as if this strange new land has been charted and there is no more to be said. "Canciones Fragmentadas" (1996) is for solo contrabass, and employs strong pizzicati contrasted with fleeting, barely audible harmonics, multiple and simultaneous sliding tones, little popping sounds, and many other techniques. "Retratos I" (1989), for piano and electronics on tape, employs slowly developing and rhythmically layered patterns of a moody, sultry personality. The composition "#2 From Three Pieces" (1990), for double bass and tape, contrasts sighing/sliding patterns in the high registers of the bass with slowly swelling/intermodulating, deeply pitched chords and slides in the electronics. The brilliant concluding selection "Voces Celestiales" (1993) is for two contrabasses and orchestra. Opening with a roar of instruments and intermittent percussion, the two basses begin harmonic slides like lone birds in the sky. Deep, sonorous sustained chords are each presented singly, and examined for their unique timbres. Dense textures -- like the increasing acceleration of a string rhythm -- are often interrupted by simple percussion events. Garcia's harmonic sense is remarkable and surprising in its invention, his original "sound" infused with a dramatic foreboding yet realized with a thorough-going modern formality.

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