« America»
for guitar

To America Martinez Serrano

Duration: around 5 mn. 30

First performance in Seville (Auditorium Manuel de Falla) on 20/09/87 by Betho Davezac

I composed this piece after the International Festival of Guitar organized by Betho Davezac in Sablé (Sarthe, France) during summer 1986.

The guitarist America Martinez Serrano, Professor at the Seville Conservatory, was the guest of honour, during the time I was there as an invited composer.

I was delighted to meet her, and it was she who encouraged me to compose this work.

The piece, whose chromatic style is atonal, is divided into three sections:

1) It begins with a dialogue between two characters, whose voices are recognizable by their pitch, their tonal quality, and the nuances ascribed to each of them. Their separate communications at the beginning, then superimposed to each other, generally have a regular flow, although a little bit "rubato" (crotchet = 118, i.e. semi-crotchet = 236). During this episode the atmosphere gradually warms up.

2) A passage of free commentary follows, where something starts going wrong: the regular pace so characteristic in the first section suddenly gives way to chaotic rhythms enhanced by percussive sounds referring to flamenco guitar skills. The mood intensifies until it reaches a climax, giving the unmistakable impression of indignation and anger.

3) The concluding section introduces a feeling of restrained violence, during which delicate reminiscences are inserted as short, poetic comments.

Both these rhythmical paces, regular and chaotic, intertwine with each other. Some passages recall the initial atmosphere, but their instrumental tone is different, distorting them.

In effect, "America" becomes a small dramatic work, like a dialogue gone awry.

Edith Lejet