The piece is born from the reading of 3 English poems from the 19th century that evoke the spirit and night atmosphere with different nuances and perspectives. Some verses that describe the essence of the poems are: in the 1st movement, A Night Piece, by William Wordsworth, “…and the mind which slowly settles into peaceful calm…” The 2nd movement, The Voice of the Devil, the William Blake, “…Man has no body distinct from his soul for that called body is a portion of Soul discerned by the five senses, the chief inlets of soul in this age”. The 3rd movement, The Eve of St. Agnes, by John Keats, “… young virgins might have visions of delight. And soft adorings from their loves receive upon the honey’d middle of the night “. The saxophone -with its warm and sensual timbre- is the voice of the poem, and allegorically evokes the settings and scenes of the texts. The guitar part is organically conceived, with an internal movement that arises from the soloist’s own musical phrase, and is reflected as a shadow with a life of its own. The atmosphere and general color of the work is sweet and calm, like the night evoked in the poems. The three movements are abandoned in a fusion of sound with silence, which is the deepest music of the soul.
by Ramón Humet
In 2011, I wrote this piece at the request of the Icarus Duo. This unusual formation suggested a very particular, meticulous and balanced sound world. For this reason, I opted for a brief and concise format in which, as the Japanese Haikus, I could present a concrete and suggestive concept. The work is based on four Haikus, which serve to paint the sound canvas with which I conceived the mixture between these two instruments.
I. Snail miniature: Dance, dance, snail. And if you don’t want to dance, the foals, the heifers, will step on you and cook. But if you dance very well, we will let you play in the garden where little flowers grow. Ryoyin Hishou (1170) of the Emperor Goshirakawa.
II. Miniature of the moon: The full moon. Simply beauty. Spotlessly bright. Miura Chiióra (1729-1780).
III. Miniature of the water: The same as the water towards the hill that goes among the mosses wetting the rocks, I go quietly through life. Rioukan (1758-1831).
IV. Insect miniature: In this world there are also insects that sing well. Others sing badly. Kobaiáshi Issa (1763-1827).
by Santiago J. Báez
La nuit, le jour
This work was composed in 2013 for alto saxophone and guitar, with real-time sound processing and dedicated to the Ícarus duo, part of a harmonic initial material, from which a multitude of spectral-type processes are generated, rhythmic, etc. by developing it linearly or cyclically and expansively. The title alludes to the opposition of clearly contrasting and differentiated elements, even opposed at many times, that shape the general texture of the piece, as are the sound characteristics of the two acoustic instruments involved. The piece begins with the natural sound of the saxophone, which by means of multiple delay produces a complex harmony as a resonance, to which is added the generation of quarter tones derived from the use of multiphonics, from an initial chord of G minor. Gradually, a timbral and morphological transformation of the sound takes place by means of processors built within the programming environment of the Max-MSP software. In the guitar, the use of granular synthesis stands out, which enhances the production of percussive sound, typical of the amplitude envelope of this instrument. In this dialectic between saxophone and guitar, continuous and discontinuous sounds, natural and processed sound, tension and relaxation, epic and lyrical, the evolution of the piece unfolds. by Antonio J. Flores
Jondo ma non troppo
It is a piece that, as its title indicates, is based on an expressive material similar to Andalusian cante jondo but with a treatment that has nothing to do with the usual “sticks” of flamenco. In it there are strong contrasts between energetic fragments and very calm. The guitar uses technical resources of the flamenco guitar such as “rasgionado” or “punteo” and also others with a classical tradition such as harmonics or glissando, which are rarely found in flamenco. We can find melodies in both instruments where the extensive use of the final tetrachord in the Spanish Phrygian mode, which has a very different treatment here, basically atonal. The sax alternates “passages of bravery” with “quiet passages”, and contains some extended techniques such as multiphonic, “breathing only” or some harmonics. The choice of the soprano saxophone instead of the C-flute (more frequent in flamenco) is due in part to its lower pitch that allows me to connect better with the guitar, but also because of its colour: darker, deeper. more “jondo”. by Francisco J.Martín Quintero
Mizu no oto (“Water sound”)
Version for saxophone and guitar
All the poetic, sonic, visual -in short, sensual- image of the next Japanese haiku by Basho made me build in my imagination, just in few seconds, this piece that was written in Germany on August 3rd 1997 and was dedicated to Saiz-García Duo. The piece was originally written for shakuhachi and guitar.
古池や | 蛙飛びこむ | 水の音
Furu ike ya | kawazu tobikomu | mizu no oto
Into the ancient pond’s mirror | A frog jumps | Water’s sound!
Its utopian ideal would be to convert the rumour of an instant on an eternity, to freeze one picture in the memory through a game of readings and re-readings of a material that change from something lineal to just poetry, just image, just rumor, just a moment… by Jose M. Sánchez Verdú
Alberto Plaza: He studies with the great spanish guitar soloist José Tomás, He took masterclasses with outstanding guitar players as Narciso Yepes, Carles Trepat, Manuel Barrueco, David Russel, Marco Socías, Antonio Duro, Miguel Trápaga, Miguel García , Carmen Maria Ros and during 2 years he followed lessons with Alex Garrobé in Universidad Autónoma in Barcelona. He joins the “Ensemble Gerhard” a contemporary group performing at Festival Internacional de Música de Granada (Spain) and “La Fenice” theatre in Venice (Italy). As a soloist he has performed with Orquesta de la Comunidad de Madrid and Orquesta de Chamartin in the National Auditorium of Spain under conducting of José R. Encinar, Juan Manuel Alonso and Arturo Tamayo. He has been awarded with the 1rst Prix at Concurso Internacional “Francisco Tárrega”, finalist at JJ.MM Competition and International Contest of Cantabria. Nowdays he guives guitar lesson at Conservatorio Profesional de Música “Francisco Guerrero” (Sevilla).
Alfonso Padilla: He is a saxophonist with wide international prominence, as proven by the amount of concerts, recitals and masterclasses offered in Germany, Austria, Belgium, Italy, France, Denmark, Estonia, Poland, Switzerland, Portugal, Morocco, Algeria, Argentina, Panama, Singapore, Taiwan and USA. He made his studies in Cordoba (Spain) under the guidance of Manuel Ureña and Bernardo Zagalaz and further masterclasses with Daniel Deffayet, J.M. Londeix, Claude Delangle, Vincent David, Phillip Braquart, or Gilles Tressos, among others. On a continuous basis, he receives classes also from Eric Devallon and Arno Bornkamp. He forms a part of the Ziryâb Saxophone Quartet and regularly plays with the pianist and composer Santiago J. Báez. In 2014, he toured USA, which led him to teach masterclasses and offer concerts at Messiah College (Mechanicsburg, PA), Susquehanna University (Selinsgrove, PA), Mansfield University (Mansfield, PA), and Eastman School of Music (Rochester, NY). He is invited to participate at important international events and he has performed as soloist at the 1st European Saxophone Congress 2014 (Spain) and the Vienna International Saxfest 2015 (Austria), I Asian Saxophone Congress in Chiayi (Taiwan, 2016), Panasax (Panama, 2019) and Alpensax Classica in Bressanone (Italy, 2019). Currently he is a saxophone teacher at CPM “Francisco Guerrero” in Sevilla. Padilla is a Selmer Paris and D´addario Woodwinds artist.
Dúo Icarus: The combination of saxophone and guitar is quite unusual as a chamber music ensemble, due in part to the very different characteristics of both instruments. It was the research on new instrumental and timbrical resources what inspired Alfonso Padilla and Alberto Plaza to establish this singular duo in 2009. The group makes use of two very popular instruments in a new way, employing all the new techiques and possibilities of both instruments and developing all the resources in a surprising way. Since their debut, Icarus duo has been performing in recitals and festivals in Spain and abroad, such us the Scandinavian Saxophone Festival (Denmark, 2013), XVII World Saxophone Congress in Strasbourg (France, 2015), Eventosax in Rome (Italy, 2016), Festival Figures Sonores VI in Alger (Algeria, 2018) and XVIII World Saxophone Congress in Zagreb (Croacia, 2018). Its members have a huge musical background as international soloist and as members of other chamber music groups and also they teach at very important musical institutions in Spain and abroad as guest teachers in masterclasses and workshops. Its repertoire is wide and includes pieces originally written for this instruments and also transcriptions of the greatest compousers of the music that help to show the possibilities of this chamber music duo. Their goal is to continue encouraging composers to write for this combination to increase and enhance the original repertoire.