The Taking (after “The Kiss”) (2015)

For marimba, live-electronics and video (“The Kiss” by Raphael Montáñez-Ortiz, 1985)

The Taking (after “The Kiss”) was written as part of a collaboration project between ESMUC (Catalonia’s College of Music) and MACBA (Museum for Contemporary Art in Barcelona). The composition students were asked to write new pieces inspired by some of the pieces that were being shown at their exhibition “L'herència immaterial” (the immaterial inheritance). The new music works would be performed at the musuem; in the same room as the pieces that inspired them.

Raphael Montáñez-Ortiz’s piece “The Kiss” from 1985 was being shown on a television screen and it immediately caught my attention. Even if the piece has it’s own soundtrack, my first experience watching it was without its sound counterpart and I thought about writing a piece of music that could be synchronised to it. I was fascinated by the pseudorepetition of material; a buffer of sorts that moves forward or backward in time, always repeating, always changing. I started tracking what the original film footage came from and it was apparently a scene from the 1948 black and white Hollywood film “Body and Soul”, a title that made reference to the jazz standard of the same name from 1930. 

I decided to write a piece for marimba; trying to score the video by matching each shot from the video to a word from the original song, and using the pitch material from the melody into my score. This was the first piece in which I worked with this idea about translation as a metaphorical tool for composition. In which the meaning of the 1930 song meets the meaning of the 1948 film, the 1985 video-art piece, and finally the 2015 piece itself; since the live-electronics take the marimba pseudo-loops as starting point for layering even shorter loops, that become processed further into microsonic fragments of sound by using granular synthesis techniques. 

The piece was premiered in May 2015 at the MACBA museum in Barcelona. It has been performed by Miquel Vich (who premiered it), Kalle Hakosalo and Paula Piñero in almost 20 different performances in Denmark, Finland and Catalonia/Spain.. 

A studio recording with Kalle Hakosalo on marimba is coming later in 2019.