Large saxophone ensemble (12)

This piece for twelve saxophones unveils the musical universe, one of great rhythmic complexity, of Francisco Guerrero. The beginning of Rhea perfectly illuminates the metric subdivision according to fractal techniques, whose musical innovation was largely developed by Guerrero. Interpreting a series of ascending glissandos, all the instruments follow the same trajectory in which the sounds merge into a compact and indissoluble whole. However, the notes are attacked with a millimetric phase shift, which maintains an extraordinary drive that animates this mass of sound from within.

The Spanish composer knows how to make the most of the ambiguity inherent in the velvety tone of saxophones. The multiphonic sounds, the violent trills, the repeated notes, the continuous fortissimi, give an impression of frenzied savagery. But he knew that the rhythm decreases for a moment, that the glissandos soften, to expose in the sounds a shade of languid sensuality, immediately carried away by the impetuous flow in which it is reborn.

This work was premiered at the Madrid-Bordeaux Biennale in 1988 by the Ensemble international de saxophones, under the direction of Jean-Marie Londeix.