Pedro OLIVEIRA (Portugal) Labirinto
(pour quatuor à cordes et bande)
Congratulations to João Pedro Oliveira
for winning the Trivium, a prestigious prize for composers with
a regular career in electroacoustic music, at the 29e Concours International
De Musique Et D’art Sonore Electroacoustiques De Bourges 2002. This
was awarded for his Labirinto for amplified quartet and
tape, which I had singled out at the 25th
Gulbenkian Encounters of Contemporary Music Lisbon, Spring
2001 (excerpt from my report copied below). Another Trivium prize was
awarded to the Italian Marco Marinoni, and for
his DeLeTE 'e' Unit the British composer Thomas James
Cahill-Jones won a prize in the Residences category for student
composers, and young composers.
Labirinto , which made a great impression
in Lisbon played by the Arditti Quartet, was judged in Bourges, as is
usual there, on the score and a recording of that Lisbon performance,
both of which had been received also by S&H
after the 2001 festival. The Ardittis have not played it again and the
international prize received this month was a notable success, not least
because, as I have learned from João Oliveira and others
'it is very difficult to programme Portuguese music - - '. That exporting
their own contemporary music, and even hearing it at home, is a problem
for some European countries (e.g. Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg)
has become evident on our travels, where we have heard fascinating music
which is unlikely to reach Britain.
Following the poor attendances at the 2001 Encounters,
reported in S&H under the sub-heading To Portugal
in quest of Scelsi, the Gulbenkian Contemporary Music Encounters
May 20-June 3, 2002 had more success this year. The organisers explain:
' - - last year, our festival was dedicated to the "refusés"
composers, while this year the composers were generally well accepted
by the public... and besides the theme "East meets West/West meets East"
was particularly attractive'.
The Gulbenkian's future plan, however, is that from
2002/03 onwards 'we shall no longer have the contemporary music in one
only block in the second fortnight of May. The contemporary music will
be distributed in a balanced programme along the whole season from October
to May either in autonomous concerts or in mixed programmes, which will
include pieces from all times of the history of music'.
This epitomises some of the dilemmas for contemporary
music. Oliveira's Labirinto was performed again at the Festival
of Aveiro (April 2002) by the Hear Ensemble, with support from
Hungarian Radio. Although a contemporary "season" in Lisbon distributed
all over the year may reach many more Portuguese music lovers, Oliveira
still sees the need of a small festival in Portugal exclusively dedicated
to contemporary music, as a meeting point for composers, critics, musicologists
etc, from Portugal and abroad, to meet and exchange ideas - 'we have
to find other possibilities for contemporary music'.
Peter Grahame Woolf
Excerpt from S&H 2001 report
The Arditti Quartet, British based but more likely to be encountered
on its peripatetic travels, was acclaimed
by a substantial audience (for a string quartet) and the choice of its
location in the Gulbenkian Grande Auditório was
justified by the inclusion of Labirinto by the Portuguese composer
and organist Joao Pedro Oliveira (b 1959).
For amplified quartet and tape, this was one of
the finest demonstrations of the potential of state-of-the-art electronics
that I have heard. There was no distortion of string tone and (from
a central position) the engaging, abstract tape music melded perfectly
spatially, reaching back from the stage and making the whole more than
the sum of its parts.