<541> Volume 4

Music from Stanford


1. Alexander Sigman: reflets/rŽflexions/implosions

for solo alto saxophone (2002/2006)



2. Sebastian Semper: Zusammenzeit

for flute, oboe, percussion, violin, & cello (2007)



3. Juan Crist—bal Cerrillo: siempre otra cosa (estaci—n violenta)

for chamber ensemble (2009)



4. Mauricio Rodr’guez: //ligero//

for recorder, piano, & percussion (2009)



5. Patricia Elizabeth Mart’nez: Tenue brillantez / Tenuous Brilliance

for flute, oboe, percussion, violin, & cello (2007)



6. Kristian Ireland: clearing (I)

for string quartet (2007)



Total: 60:23


Performers include: Eliot Gattegno, Ensemble SurPlus, SoundGEAR, and The Formalist Quartet.
Alexander Sigman

reflets/rŽflexions/implosions (2002/2006)

Eliot Gattegno (alto saxophone)


Although somewhat of a fossil, this piece is nonetheless...reflective...of current compositional concerns...


Two primary levels of discourse unfold throughout: one consisting of two intersecting positive layers, each possessing a unique set of materials, vectors, etc. and a sort of Ňecho-chamber,Ó onto which the tendencies of the foreground are projected with an ever-increasing degree of resolution.  After an initial implosion-process, in which the positive layers are reduced to their kernel identities, these identities (which previously functioned purely as markers of points of layer-collision) are expanded, re-configured, and systematized.  However, due to the limited transformational potential of this atomic vocabulary, as well as the saturation of the echo-chamber (which eventually consumes all foreground elements), a state of non-directionality and structural disintegration ultimately emerges.


Alexander Sigman (1980) is currently completing his doctorate at Stanford.  He has pursued further post-graduate study with Chaya Czernowin at the University for Music and Performing Arts, Vienna (2007), and attended the one-year intensive course of the Institute of Sonology at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague (Netherlands) during 2007-2008.  Prior to Stanford, Sigman obtained a BM in Music Composition and a BA in Cognitive Sciences from Rice University.  Since 2007, he has been Co-Editor of Search Journal for New Music and Culture (www.searchnewmusic.org) and Managing Director of Ensemble Modelo62 (www.modelo62.com).  His works have been performed by renowned ensembles and soloists at major festivals and venues across the US and Europe.


2. Sebastian Semper

Zusammenzeit (2007)

Ensemble SurPlus

Martina Roth (flute)

Peter Veale (oboe)

Pascal Pons (percussion)

Stefan HŠussler (violin)

Beverley Ellis (cello)

James Avery (conductor)


ŇGleichzeitigkeit, die Zeit vor der Zeit

Niklas Luhmann, Gleichzeitigkeit und Synchronisation


Sebastian Semper was born in 1978.  From 1998 to 2001 he studied composition at Musikhochschule Kšln with York Hšller and Peter Eštvšs.  During
2001-02 he continued his studies at C.N.S.M.D.P. with Marco Stroppa and FrŽdŽric Durieux.  From 2002 to 2003 he studied musicology and philosophy at Technische UniversitŠt Berlin.  He participated in a master-class with Brian Ferneyhough (supported by a fellowship of the Fondation Royaumont) in 2003.  During 2005-06 he received a fellowship for doctoral studies in composition at Stanford University, and from 2006 to 2010 he served as teaching/research assistant there.

He has collaborated with James Avery, Peter Eštvšs, Barbara Maurer, Rachid Safir, Jonathan Stockhammer, Guillaume Bourgogne, Sylvio Gualda, and Erik Ona, amongst others.

His works have been performed by Ensemble Modern, Ensemble SurPlus, Orchestre du Conservatoire de Paris, Les Jeunes Solistes, Thźrmchen Ensemble Kšln, Minguet Quartett, and Mutare Ensemble Frankfurt, including premieres at the Internationale DarmstŠdter Ferienkurse, Cologne Opera House, and Voix Nouvelles (Royaumont).

His works have been recorded by HR, SDR, WDR, and Deutschlandfunk.  Among SemperŐs musicological essays, his study of GriseyŐs LŐIc™ne paradoxale was published in MusikTexte.


3. Juan Crist—bal Cerrillo

siempre otra cosa (estaci—n violenta) (2009)

Ensemble SurPlus

Martina Roth (flute)

Nicola Miorada (clarinet)

Christian Kemper (oboe)

Andrew Digby (trombone)

Pascal Pons (percussion)

Bodo Friedrich (viola)

Beverly Ellis (cello)

Bernd Schšpflin (double bass)

Christopher Jones (conductor)


Shortly after finishing this piece, its title in place, I found the following lines while reading Octavio Paz:


            Hablamos siempre de otras cosas.

 [We speak always of other things.]


            Abrir el poema en busca de esto y encontrar aquello

            siempre otra cosa.

 [To open the poem in search of this and to find that

            always something else.]


Increasingly, we tend to see the world from a standpoint that attaches significance only to what is visible, measurable, productive.  Artistic creation is not exempt from this all-encompassing perspective, and when it gives way to this powerful point of view much of what is vital in art is lost.  In effect, art produces—not in the sense of making or manufacturing—but as a bringing forth of something that is simultaneously strange and familiar.  What we can encounter in art is a discovery and a recognizing, it can never be measured or fully grasped.  Artistic creation is an unending questioning that touches us most deeply because it reminds us and brings us into the proximity of that which otherwise tends to oblivion and insurmountable distance.


This work is concerned with what the word imperceptible suggests.  We may view the imperceptible as that which, in some way, always remains at a distance, beyond oneŐs grasp.  It is not an area onto which compositional preoccupations are imposed, nor a topic to be researched, nor an inspiration—if these are understood as feeding on novelty—but it is foremost a longstanding question that remains and maintains even the oldest work of art alive.  It is one of the questions that I try to listen to in my work.  To face the imperceptible: the possibility of encountering and knowing what always remains unknown.


Juan Crist—bal Cerrillo (San Luis Potos’, Mexico 1977) studied composition at the Centro de Investigaci—n y Estudios Musicales (CIEM) in Mexico City and at IRCAM.  He holds an MA in music composition from Stanford University where he currently pursues a DMA, studying primarily with Brian Ferneyhough and Erik Ulman.  He has received numerous grants and commissions (FONCA ŇJ—venes Creadores,Ó Sistema Nacional de Fomento Musical, Festival Radar, Ensemble 3, and IRCAM).  Among the performers with whom he has collaborated are the Arditti Quartet, Ensemble SurPlus, Ensamble 3, Alexander Bruck, Andrew McIntosh, and the Formalist Quartet.


4. Mauricio Rodr’guez

//ligero// (2009)

Toshiya Suzuki (sopranino & tenor recorders)
Satoshi Inagaki (piano)
Kuniko Kato (percussion)


The core material of //ligero// is a harmonic sequence that progresses according to different levels of Ňharmonicity.Ó  The consonance/dissonance of each chord in the harmonic sequence is modeled through the observation of a typical sensorial phenomenon that relates simple integer frequency ratios with intervallic relationships perceived as smooth or terse.  These ratios are also used to define the proportional lengths of each section of the piece, as well as the main rhythmic configuration patterns. When harmonicity is highly unstable (rather dissonant or inharmonic) the harmonic progression either starts a new process or extinguishes itself.  If harmony is auto-annihilated, it then leaves the space for sonic materials whose Ňanti-referentialÓ nature allows for the possibility of a Ňnon-cultivatedÓ listening, where sounds and their sources of production are intentionally veiled to emulate an instrumental acousmatic in which music is traced from sound and timbral transformations.


Mauricio Rodr’guez (1976) earned his bachelorŐs degree in Composition at the Laboratory of Musical Creation led by Julio Estrada at the National University of Mexico (UNAM).  He has a masters degree in sonology granted by the Royal Conservatory The Hague in The Netherlands, where he studied with Clarence Barlow (composition) and Paul Berg (computer programming).  During 2005-2006 he completed the one-year course at the Centre de Creation Musicale Iannis Xenakis in Paris.  Currently he is pursuing the Doctor of Musical Arts program in composition at Stanford University with Brian Ferneyhough as his advisor.


5. Patricia Elizabeth Mart’nez

Tenue brillantez / Tenuous Brilliance (2007)

Ensemble SurPlus

Martina Roth (flute)

Peter Veale (oboe)

Pascal Pons (percussion)

Stefan HŠussler (violin)

Beverley Ellis (cello)

James Avery (conductor)


Tenuous Brilliance is a tiny light to illuminate the infinitesimal parts of any instant, and a poetic microscope enabling us to become aware of the interior of each sound. The work employed the famous 16th Century In Nomine as its starting point.  The cantus firmus of In Nomine served as the internal root of Tenuous Brilliance, but at the same time the focus is on the mutating process into a renewed material.


Patricia Martinez (1973) was born in Argentina.  She is an active composer of instrumental and electroacoustic music, an improviser, pianist, and multi-disciplinary artist working especially with video art and poetry.  She is currently pursuing her doctorate in music composition at Stanford University with Brian Ferneyhough as her advisor.  She served as director and performer of several experimental ensembles: ZhŽffiro, ThrYzaS, and La Nada.  She is a singer in and director of the Seraphim Ensemble (new early music) and, since 2001, a member and organizer of FASE (a non-profit organization concerned with artistic politics).


Martinez studied at the Municipal Conservatory of Buenos Aires, Quilmes University, and at the Annual Course in Computer Music at IRCAM (Paris).  Her honors include first prize at The International Young ComposersŐ Meeting (Holland); Diffusion (Ireland); residence at the International Competition of Electroacoustic Music (Bourges); Pierre Schaeffer International Competition of Computer Music; the Ň60 seconds international piano composition competitionÓ (Paris New Music Review); first prize at the National Composition Competition J. C. Paz; first prize Tribune of Electroacoustic Music (TRIME), Argentine Tribune of Composers (TRINAC), and Tribune of Argentinean Music (TRINARG); SonoImagenes; and the first prize of the Buenos Aires City Government.  Fellowships and commissions include IRCAM, VCCA/UNESCO-Aschberg; Yvar Mikhashoff Trust For New Music Foundation; National Fund of the Arts, University of Quilmes; Luigi Russolo Competition; Antorchas Foundation; and De Ereprijs, Culture Fund BA.  Martinez has participated in events and festivals in France, the US, Holland, Brazil, the UK, Costa Rica, Perś, Chile, and Argentina. See also: www.myspace.com/patriciaelizabethmartinez


6. Kristian Ireland

clearing (I) (2007)

The Formalist Quartet

Mark Menzies (violin 1)

Andrew Tholl (violin 2)

Andrew McIntosh (viola)

Ashley Walters (cello)


The string quartet clearing (I) is an amplification of a violin solo of the same title, a solo that appears in only slightly altered form as the 1st violin part of the quartet.  The 1st violin part begins with a passage (heard in reverse measures) from yet another work, the larger ensemble piece floors and walls.  In clearing, this passage is transformed through being partially reversed and marked by insistently regular bowing.  However, its identity is gradually subsumed by that of another motivic material present at the outset.  In all instances, the string writing is deliberately limited: particular playing techniques are regarded as expressive distractions and excluded entirely.  The title of the work refers, in translation, to the final word of Thomas BernhardŐs novel Korrektur (Correction). 


The work clearing (I) was written for and premiered by the Arditti Quartet in Luxembourg, 2007.  The Formalist Quartet gave their first performance of clearing (I) at Stanford University in 2008 and have since given several further performances in California and during a 2009 East Coast Tour of the US.


Kristian IrelandŐs music has been performed in Europe, Japan, the US, and Australia by leading exponents of contemporary music.  Ireland (born 1975) is currently a doctoral candidate in music composition at Stanford University, having studied primarily with Brian Ferneyhough.  At present he is an exchange scholar at Harvard University (2009-2010), studying with Chaya Czernowin.  Ireland was an artist in residence at The Banff Centre (Canada, 2009) and at the Denkmalschmiede Hšfgen (Germany, 2008).  He was a finalist in Der Staubachpreis competition (Darmstadt, 2008) and a 2003 Japan Foundation Fellow.  IrelandŐs music has been performed by ensembles such as the Arditti Quartet, Ensemble SurPlus, Ensemble fźr Neue Musik Zźrich, The Formalist Quartet, Aphids Trio, and Speak Percussion, among others.



<541> series co-producers: Mark Applebaum, Brian Ferneyhough, Jaroslaw Kapuscinski, & Christopher Jones.  Production assistance: Kristian Ireland.


Philip Blackburn: innova Director, design

Chris Campbell: Operations Manager

Greg Reierson, Mastering



<541> is a concert series dedicated to performances of challenging music by students at Stanford University.  Composers in the Stanford community produce pieces that reflect a broad range of aesthetic issues.  The <541> CD project aims at being an ongoing account of this multiplicity of musical concern with each CD being made up largely of performances recorded in <541> concerts.


We would like to thank many people who have been involved with the realization of these concerts and of this recording, above all the administration of Stanford University for its generous financial underwriting of the project.  Many individual members of the Music Department have unstintingly given of their advice and support, including Mario Champagne, Stephen Sano, Mark Applebaum, and Christopher Jones.  These concerts benefited hugely from the untiring technical support of Mark Dalrymple.  Our special thanks are also due to Philip Blackburn and Innova Recordings for making this series possible.


Professor Brian Ferneyhough

Department of Music

Braun Music Center

Stanford University


Also in this series:

<541> Volume 1 (innova 635)

<541> Volume 2 (innova 658)

<541> Volume 3 (innova 705)