Manuel Hidalgo Navas – Soliloquio … de un teatro fracasado (2020)
for French horn in F
Christine Chapman, horn
Janet Sinica, video
Jan Böyng, editing
Stephan Schmidt, recording producer/editing
Work premiered during the concerts of the Voix Nouvelles Academy of the Royaumont Festival in September 2020.
I was very surprised when I got the score to Soliloquio … de un teatro fracasado. This was Manuel Hidalgo Navas’ first piece for horn, and I’d only had a few short email exchanges with the composer the month before the score arrived. I was so impressed when I got it! The piece uses many extended techniques, including some very original uses of pitched air sounds and the vocal resonance of the instrument. The intensity of the musical expression shifts from shockingly direct to so subtle you have to focus your attention to hear the fragile change of colors.
I had fun with the title in English: Soliloquy … from a failed theater. The drama of a horn player expressing themselves through the filter of brass and the composer’s intentions. In the program notes for the premiere in Royaumont, Manuel wrote:
The voice of the hornist appears, making the space almost dramatic, and comes face to face with the instrument itself, simultaneously obstacle and filter. The vocal gestures – the saturated voice, the unstable air sounds, and the worn-out consonants – are juxtaposed on a mosaic to create a labyrinth, a deceptive horizon, from which the impediment of expression, the limit of gesture, and the interruption of words are detached.
Working with Manuel was fantastic, and the Royaumont audience’s enthusiastic reaction to the premiere was an inspiration to record the piece for Ensemble Musikfabrik – thank you, Manuel!