Elogio de la sombra (2015)
For string quartet
Fp: Kamus Quartet, Kaustinen Chamber Music Week, Kaustinen, Finland, January 28, 2016
The composition has been supported by the Finnish Cultural Foundation and Sibelius Foundation.
Elogio de la Sombra is an exploration of poetry in music. My inspiration was Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges’s poems of which dreamlike and mystical atmosphere and thematics I was intrigued by. Recurring themes in Borges’s poems are shadows, light and darkness, dreams and mirrors which serve as metaphors for solitude, longing, death, identity and existence.
The piece is in nine movements, each movement inspired by a different poem. I aimed to follow closely each poem’s content and let the poems direct each movement’s dramaturgy, character and musical material in detail. The movements are Amanecer (Dawn), Despedida (Farewell), Los espejos (Mirrors), Alguien (Someone), Elogio de la sombra (Praise of the shadows), El oro de los tigres (The gold of the tigers), Himno (Hymn), La joven noche (The young night) and El sueno (The dream). All in all, the work illustrates a day of events beginning from Dawn (Amanecer) and ending to The dream (El sueno).
Elogio de la sombra – I. Amanecer (Excerpt b. 7-25)
22.08.2018, Rondo Classic, Auli Särkiö-Pitkänen
Translation: ”In all the works, Hill’s original, elegant grip was heard. Elogio de la sombra is a nine-piece miniature set for string quartet (Maria Puusaari, Aleksi Kotila, Max Savikangas, Pinja Laine) which recites the poems of Jorge Luis Borges. The fact that the original poems could not be seen seemed just to emphasize the music’s own poetry: every gesture, with threatening alarms or tangled torrents of speech, had a distinct emphasis. Even though the series was bouncing between opposites, the atmosphere remained united at all times in a deepening exploration of Borges’s dreamy world of shades.”
22.08.2018, HBL, Wilhelm Kvist
Translation: ”The string quartet Elogio de la Sombra, written to Jorge Luis Borge’s nocturnal poems, offered a plethora of new playing techniques with an intensity that was the most apparent when the strings barely rubbed at the strings. The nine movement names, taken from the poems, from dawn to dusk, served as a program that made it easy for the listener to take the music with a given meaning.”