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Program notes : « Paraphrase », 1/2
Nr. 10.2
[“Densités II”]
(for ensemble)
“Pedro Amaral's "Paraphrase" does in fact
paraphrase both an earlier work and also many phrases
and themes from within the piece itself. The solo trumpet,
superbly played, led the ensemble into endless
Anne Ozorio,
Seen and Heard international
(London, February 2006)
From a linguistic point of view, the word “paraphrase” means a second reading, the
interpretation of a text, with the intention of elucidating it or commenting on it, which
often implies the development of the original ideas. The content of the initial text
undergoes critical analysis and the paraphrase, however constrained or extravagant,
amplifies its substance and transliterates it in the light of a certain point of view –
which may be latent in the original, or may present a completely unexpected
I believe that in “Paraphrase” [“Densités II”] I have managed to touch on the majority
of the possibilities of paraphrase in relation to the initial piece, “Densités”, written in
2005 for the Festival of Witten where it was given its first performance by the
Ensemble InterContemporain in April of that year. The piece was dedicated to Pierre
Boulez for his eightieth birthday.
Not all aspects of the original “text” have been paraphrased in this second piece and,
naturally, many aspects of “Paraphrase” are new, or else appeared in “Densités” in a
merely embryonic form or only implicitly. The decision to ignore certain aspects of the
initial text, led sometimes to their simple omission from the paraphrase, and
sometimes to their direct transcription, with no explanation or development. But a
large part of “Densités” was rewritten, expanding the immediate sense of the music,
adding commentaries and greater or smaller parentheses and footnotes.
Paradoxically, the formal layout became clearer in this second piece, with two more
or less complementary parts, the first of which explores ensemble writing while the
second centres on a solo trumpet line constantly commented on by the piano which
becomes a secondary solo instrument. These two sections are divided by an
intermediary moment with an extended virtuoso piano solo.
It is interesting to note how the idea of paraphrase is already contained within the
original piece. In its final sections, the solo trumpet line is constructed as a self-
Program notes : « Paraphrase », 2/2
explanatory melody whose development increasingly adds more notes in between
the five initial notes, that then become thirteen, then twenty-one, always returning to
the beginning and increasingly amplifying the line – interpretation upon
interpretation…. Every now and then this solo is paraphrased by means of
commentaries or developments on the piano that functions as a kind of shadow. And
the first section of the work is no more than a note-by-note interpretation of the
melodic lines of the final trumpet solo, transforming the intervals into durations,
extending and proliferating the progression from one note to the next in time,
harmonic field and timbre.
In this way, to use a title reminiscent of Borges, and without hiding a certain irony in
the extravagance of the process involved, “Densités II” could be called “Paraphrase
on a paraphrase”. This would sum up the substance of its creation without giving
away any of its content.
Pedro Amaral
[English translation: C. Bochmann]