vocal quintet and tape
based on the sonnet ir y quedarse by Lope de Vega
commissioned by La Biennale di Venezia
written for and premiered by Neue Vocalsolisten at La Biennale di Venezia — 26.09.2021
ir is based on the sonnet ir y quedarse by Lope de Vega. The text verbalizes and describes feelings of loneliness, absence, unease and frustration. The use of repetition and infinitive verbs —which accentuate the effects of immobility, intransitivity, in contrast to the active nature of the verb—, as well as the permanent presence of antagonisms, oxymorons and chiasmus converge on the feeling of loneliness and the suffering of the lover in the absence of the beloved. Lope creates a paradox which stirs a constant confusion in the reader’s mind: when the conflict seems to find its resolution —with the appearance of the verb ser (“to be”) conjugated in the 13th verse— it suddenly turns towards itself in a kind of dramatic mirror, emphasizing ideas of change and immutability.
The vocal quintet articulates two main ideas: the arising of a complex soliloquy by five voices, and the game of opposites. The voices emerge from a cloud of noises, giving the space a theatrical quasi-mystical dimension, and they confront the text, being both an obstacle and a vehicle for its communication. The voices alone will only work with their own materiality in order to provide the text with a definite shape; in other words, at the same time giving life to the poet’s word, and embodying it by giving it a new meaning through music.