Commissioned by Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation

The world premiere took place on October 17th, 2012 performed by The Gulbenkian Orchestra, conducted by Lawrence Foster.

  • 25 min

Programme Note

The piece is in concertante style - there are nine soloists that form a separate group from the tutti, that interacts with it, in different ways and with different instruments -, and is divided in three movements. The first movement has a quasi processional nature, with its constant rhythmical cycles and repeated notes; the second displays a crepuscular nature, with the nostalgia and pathos of dreams; in the final movement, the circular music returns - under the form of mechanisms that control (by switching on and off) an (almost) perpetual motto.

As I was writing the piece (in rather isolated circumstances), a passage from Eliot´s Hollow Men would frequently come to my mind: 'In this last of meeting places / We grope together / And avoid speech / Gathered on this beach of the tumid river / Sightless, unless / The eyes reappear (...)'. In the overall disheartened tone of this poem, the words ´sightless, unless the eyes reappear' would always appear as an unexpected beam of light in the otherwise barren and relentless landscape described by the poet: and, by suggesting a chance for redemption (although a rather thin one), they also suggest there´s still time. That it´s not too late.

Music is outside the world: what makes it sublime is sometimes its curse. But it´s in places such as the concert hall - where we gather to share something extraordinary that cannot be said through words - and in occasions such as concerts - where we celebrate the possibility of sharing - that lies music´s chance to return to the world. The wordplay between the title and Eliot´s verse is a mere expression of that wish.



GROUP TOGETHER? Avoid Speech: I. Solemn, Assertive


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