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The genesis of The Sobbing of the Phoenix

Our first official recording as a quartet of the young composer Aaron Siebert's unpublished work The Sobbing of the Phoenix was released on 11 March. Beyond all the ineffable details that this music is capable of transmitting by itself, today we want to travel through the path that made the realisation of this project possible and share our experience.

The origins of this piece took place on the other side of the Atlantic, in Rochester, a city in the USA where Aaron studied piano and composition, specialising in film music. Its composition would not have been possible without the existence of the saxophone quartet Psaiko Quartet and the friendship between Juan Alonso, tenor saxophone of this group, and Aaron, from which the idea for this piece arose. This quartet, to whom Aaron dedicated his first music for saxophone quartet, was our precedent in the conservatory and one of the reference groups in our beginnings.

Under the inspiration of the painting Blue Vibrations by the artist Rafael Úbeda, Aaron begins a long creative process accompanied by the grey skies and the cold of Rochester, impregnating the staves with inspiring harmonies reminiscent of the world of the big screen and assaulted, on occasion, by the homesickness of his homeland. Guided by the advice of his teacher Octavio Vázquez, he finished the work in 2019 and it was premiered in March by Psaiko Quartet at the Mallorca Saxophone Festival.

The Sobbing of the Phoenix, is divided into two movements: The Drowning of Chilhood and The Kingdom of Mourning. This work tells the story of a character frustrated by his inability to translate beauty into the real world. Episodes of helplessness and cries of despair form the common thread of the musical discourse, and so there are such emotionally contrasting episodes as a funeral, an unexpected rebirth and the sound of a bagpipe to the rhythm of a muiñeira.

Lítore Quartet and Aaron Siebert

At the end of 2020 we contacted Aaron Siebert through our colleagues at Psaiko and he made the scores of the piece available to us. Since then, we started to work on it and include it in many concerts and even in some competitions. In the summer of 2021 we carried out the first working day with Aaron as an activity in our tour around Galicia with the Alén project, an experience that increased our interest in recording his piece.

Thanks to the youth section of the Ajuntament de Palma we were able to cover the costs of the recording, which took place in the Sonoteque studio (Palma de Mallorca) on the 18th of December 2022. We were extremely lucky to be able to work with Aaron again in the days leading up to the recording and to have him with us in the studio to guide and advise us on our first experience in this field.

These are the kind of projects that we particularly like because of the closeness that is established with the composer, because of our aim to support these new creators who write for our ensemble, because of the breaking down of the separation between composer and performer, because of the evolution of the music and of our repertoire in particular. This was our first official recording, but this is just the beginning!

You can see our interview talking about this project at the following Andante con Moto podcast, in the Radio Nacional Clásica!


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