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Cristal Argento I - Oscar Edelstein

Updated on February 12, 2017

A work for orchestra and electronic processes by composer Oscar Edelstein for Basel Sinfonietta

Basel Sinfonietta commissioned a new work by Argentinean avant-garde composer, Oscar Edelstein in 2010. The work premiered in Basel on the 24th January 2011 at the Stadtcasino, Basel, and then at the Franziskaner Konzerthaus, Villingen-Schwenningen (Germany) on the 15th February 2011.

The premiere was conducted by José Luis Gomez - who had just then won first prize in the International Conductor's Competition of Sir Georg Solti at the Alte Oper in Frankfurt, and went gone on to be in 2016 the new Musical Director of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra.

"Cristal Argento I" especially created for Basel Sinfonietta is a work for full orchestra with the electronic process of the Sonic Crystal.

“Compelling Rhythms and Vital Sounds" - Cristal Argento I is a strong piece of new music for orchestra and live electronics from Argentina's Oscar Edelstein which the sinfonietta premiered. Rhythmical - multilayered sound fields develop like waves. Edelstein's close woven music, continuing the tradition of Edgard Varèse, has a force which gets under the skin with great vitality." Christian Fluri, Basellandschaftliche Zeitung

"The electronic part takes the game of the orchestra into another space, another world, another sound universe, like a dream, like a recollection, or how it looks through a kaleidoscope, a prism with various refractions. A powerful percussion mechanism was in action, concentrated beams of sound of stream over the listener. It is exciting to hear such avant-garde new music from Latin America." Roswitha Frey, Badische Zeitung


Concert Master, Daniela Muller; composer Oscar Edelstein; and conductor Jose Luis Gomez
Concert Master, Daniela Muller; composer Oscar Edelstein; and conductor Jose Luis Gomez

Dedicated to the hands, hearts and heads of Basel Sinfonietta

Cristal Argento I is for full orchestra and electronic processes. The electronic processes act like transparencies, Edelstein calls them " Dense Films and Machine Transparencies in the Mode of the Human Memory". They create an acoustic way to make a new edition that goes over the other, allowing the recovery of something that has happened earlier, but in a different way, time and space. "It's like a reminder of a dream - not as a machine memory - more human and diffused," says Edelstein.

"This is a deeply moving work which is capable of setting new accents and making us attentive and critical listeners in a society and culture that are becoming increasingly mainstream." Alfred Von Thiele, Südwestpresse

From the Brilliant Surface to the Deeper Meaning - Hupango: Concert of Latin American music

Basel Sinfonietta premiere Oscar's Edelstein's "Cristal Argento I" in programme of Latin American music. Full Programme:

Pigarro Pifar (1953* Fontecerval BS): Mambo(lero)? for orchestra

Jose Pablo Moncayo (1912-1958): Huapango (1941)

Arturo Marquez (*1950): Dance No. 2 (1993)

Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959): Concert for Harmonica & Orchestra (1955)

Oscar Edelstein (*1953): Cristal Argento I for orchestra with live electronic processes, commissioned by Basel Sinfonietta (2011)

Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959): Bachianas Brasileiras Nr. 8 (1944)

"We wanted to make a concert of modern Latin American music with a proper dramaturgy. I had the idea to commission a new work by an avant-garde composer Oscar Edelstein as a way to go from a more popular first part of the concert, to a more serious second half, or from the brilliant surface to the deeper meaning." Thomas Nidecker, Basel Sinfonietta

Oscar Edelstein with assistant Mauro Zannoli
Oscar Edelstein with assistant Mauro Zannoli

Crystal Sonic - Live electronic processes

In various places during the piece orchestral sounds are captured and processed using the "answer response" of the Crystal Sonic, a configuration that alters the sound and adds a special chamber and colour. The software programme was designed by the research team of Edelstein, LAPSO (Laboratory of Acoustics and Sound Perception), led by physicist Manuel Eguia, with mechanical engineer, Ignacio Spiousas at Universidad de Quilmes (Argentina) in the research programme of Edelstein "Teatro Acústico" (Acoustic Theatre).

Mauro Zannoli realised the electronic processes especially designed in connection with Oscar Edelstein, for the concert in Stadtcasino, Basilea (Switzerland) y Konzerthaus, Villingen-Schwenningen (Germany). He is a permanent member of Ensamble Nacional del Sur (founded by Edelstein) and also worked on electronic processes for Edelstein's work, "La Foto del Tiempo" (The Photo of Time) premiered by Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional, conducted by Pedro Ignacio Calderón and with the participation of Eduardo Isaac as solo guitarist.

Cristal Argento: Photo Deborah Claire Procter
Cristal Argento: Photo Deborah Claire Procter

Programme Notes

Oscar Edelstein was interviewed by Rainer Schlenz, a music journalist for SWR Studio Ulm for the programme notes entitled "Through the consideration of the Prism: Oscar Edelstein and his composition Cristal Argento I."

" All art is political ", said the Argentinean composer Oscar Edelstein (*1953), “and to be political in Latin America is a risk.” Many people died before and possibly will also in the future. An artist who does not consider this does not live in the present. Therefore, one can taste blood in my music - but I hope, also joy and luck." The political in the music of Oscar Edelstein, does not strike however in direct pictures or texts. It appears in subliminal form, as if one considers the reality of Argentina through a prism: The reality itself is not illustrated, rather it is broken down by the focus of the prism, and is transformed. With the help of the prism the point of view changes. This is the basic idea of Cristal Argento I a commissioned work Basel Sinfonietta.

Musical Action Painting

The piece is for full Orchestra and Electronic Processes. The electronics are like a transparency, a replica: they take the sound of the orchestra and afterwards repeat it - a renewed representation of what has just played, but in a modified form. Comparable with human recollection: It takes again the past, but filtered, changed, perhaps even falsified.

A musical form to explain the moment of the diffuseness, the in-exactness, is improvisation. And actually the sound language of Edelstein now and again is reminiscent of Free-jazz and he himself refers to the saxophonist John Coltrane. A passage of his new work, titled ”In Another World: Another Nightingale Making a Nest in the Wig of Voltaire“ has an improvised quality. In reality, however, it is about a "Quasi-Improvisando." musical freedom expressed, but notated. "I do not believe in the improvisation", says Edelstein, "however, I do like the contrast between the rational and the irrational", therefore the contrast between the fixed and the unplanned. "If your decision surprises yourself, it is also possible to surprise the public." Oscar aims at expressive moments which are used in the design of the Action Paintings of Jackson Pollock: produced with a certain force and immediacy and not entirely foreseeable.

The "Cristal Argento I" is continuous work of 22 minutes with four movements:

1) Órgano colonial respirando / Colonial Organ Breathing

2) En Otro Mundo: Como otro ruiseñor haciendo nido en la peluca de Voltaire / In Another world: Like Another Nightingale Making a Nest in the Wig of Voltaire

3)Órgano Colonial Respirando Sumergido como en la Catedral de Santa Mónica de los Venados / Colonial Organ Breathing Submerged, like in the Cathedral of Saint Monica of the Venison

4) Cristal Estallado en Perspectiva Impura Memoria Navega de Fugas Futuro / Exploded Crystal in Perspective Impure Memory Navigates of Future Fugues

Oscar Edelstein (Composer, Pianist, Researcher)

Oscar Edelstein is an original contemporary composer from Argentina. Known for his creativity and inventiveness, he is frequently described as leading Latin America's avant-garde, and as a pianist, conductor, and researcher, his career is characterised by breaking new ground. Born in La Paz, Entre Rios (Argentina), Edelstein studied with the leading Argentinean composers, Jose Maranzano, Mariano Etkin and Francisco Kröpfl.

In 1980 he was invited into the emblematic avant-garde association of composers founded by Juan Carlos Paz, Nuevas Musicas, and later, together with other young composers, he created and directed Otros Musicas, in 1985 to facilitate the diffusion of contemporary music in Latin America. At the University of Buenos Aires in 1986, he made a pioneering research centre into music and artificial intelligence, C.I.M., and in 1990 co - founded Lulú, the first magazine in Argentina to be dedicated to music and technology. Receiving numerous prizes, he was the youngest artist to receive the Antorchas Scholarship for Outstanding Artists of the Intermediate Generation. Edelstein has written many operas: El Tiempo - La Condena (1999 - 2000), El Hecho (1998), Klange, Klange Urutau (1997), El Telescopio (1992), Viril Occidente II (1982), and in 2006, Teatro Colón commissioned, Los Monstruito'; and El Caballo Fantasma (2012) and La Carta Imaginaria (2014) were commissioned by the Centro Nacional de la Música.

Edelstein often works with some of Argentina's best directors on acoustic and electro-acoustic works for theatre and dance.

First rehearsal of "Cristal Argento I"
First rehearsal of "Cristal Argento I"

José Luis Gomez (Conductor)

The premiere was conducted by the Venezuelan conductor José Luis Gomez who in 2010 won the first prize in the International Conductor's Competition of Sir Georg Solti at the Alte Oper in Frankfurt.

José Luis Gomez is the Principal Conductor of the orchestral season of the Teatro Sociale di Como and in 2016 became the new Musical Director of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra.

In an interview with Art TV, Basel, Gomez described Edelstein's "Cristal Argento I" as like a Picasso painting.

Copyright: Daniel Spehr
Copyright: Daniel Spehr

Basel Sinfonietta

Basel Sinfonietta was founded in 1980 by a group of young musicians. Their goal is to bring exciting new combinations of contemporary music and works, both familiar and unknown, to audiences who are open to unusual sounds and experimentation. With its unconventional, provocative approach, basel sinfonietta has gained a considerable international reputation as a large symphony orchestra. It is the only Swiss orchestra to be invited three times in a row to appear at the Salzburg Festival.

When not taking part in the orchestra members perform as freelance performers in ensembles and chamber music groups. The group manages itself, which gives its members a high degree of self-determination both in artistic and organisational matters.

Photo Gallery

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Basel Sinfonietta - an orchestra with imaginationFirst rehearsal of "Cristal Argento I" with conductor Jose Luis GomezJose Luis Gomez & Oscar Edelstein clarifying detailsHupango poster in the streets of BaselJose Luis Gomez & Oscar Edelstein clarifying details with the concert masterPianist Maho Yamada rehearsing the piano sectionOscar Edelstein and technical assistant Mauro ZannoliMauro Zannoli following score to prepare electronic partSecond rehearsalCristal Argento
Basel Sinfonietta - an orchestra with imagination
Basel Sinfonietta - an orchestra with imagination
First rehearsal of "Cristal Argento I" with conductor Jose Luis Gomez
First rehearsal of "Cristal Argento I" with conductor Jose Luis Gomez
Jose Luis Gomez & Oscar Edelstein clarifying details
Jose Luis Gomez & Oscar Edelstein clarifying details
Hupango poster in the streets of Basel
Hupango poster in the streets of Basel
Jose Luis Gomez & Oscar Edelstein clarifying details with the concert master
Jose Luis Gomez & Oscar Edelstein clarifying details with the concert master
Pianist Maho Yamada rehearsing the piano section
Pianist Maho Yamada rehearsing the piano section
Oscar Edelstein and technical assistant Mauro Zannoli
Oscar Edelstein and technical assistant Mauro Zannoli
Mauro Zannoli following score to prepare electronic part
Mauro Zannoli following score to prepare electronic part
Second rehearsal
Second rehearsal
Cristal Argento
Cristal Argento

Interview with Oscar Edelstein & José Luis Gomez

Sonic Crystals at LAPSO (Laboratory of Acoustics and Sound Perception), Universidad de Quilmes, Argentina, in the research programme, Teatro Acústico, directed by Oscar Edelstein.
Sonic Crystals at LAPSO (Laboratory of Acoustics and Sound Perception), Universidad de Quilmes, Argentina, in the research programme, Teatro Acústico, directed by Oscar Edelstein.

Originality

The live electronic processing of the orchestra is a world first. Edelstein takes his researches into the scientific principle of the Sonic Crystal to create a software that reproduces the same resonance. He says, "The process is like putting the orchestra into a Sonic Crystal configuration. The effect produced is like a kind of memory, playing in the zone of the dream. Paradoxically when you are in a dream, you are in the time of the desire. "

Opera of Oscar Edelstein: Los Monstruito

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