Op. 11 Piedras (world premiere, LA Phil commission)
After studying trombone at conservatories in Valencia and Madrid, Francisco Coll went to study composition at the Guildhall School in London, and he also worked privately with Thomas Adès. In short order he has won a number of Spanish and U.K. prizes, for a catalog that now includes 14 opus numbers. He also continues to work as a trombonist, and has provided the following note:
“Commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, Piedras (‘stones’ in Spanish, 2009/2010) was born of a surreal vision, the beginning and end of which shaped the material of the piece. My compositions have what may seem an unusual starting point. Painting has been a passion since childhood, and I still create a canvas before translating my images into music. Colors rule; they determine what music I write.
“Perhaps the most evident thing when one hears the piece is the consistent use of extreme sonorities. For me this creates a kind of surrealistic landscape, and also has the advantage of distancing the sound from the origins of this kind of ensemble. The piece continues my interest in blending the stable with the unstable to create a peculiar tension, while remaining within a closed form. The music flows between fragmented harmonies and melodies, supported by incisive rhythmic material. This material takes on a function throughout the work, and in the dreamlike central section I use softer sounds to evoke the purest surrealist concept.”
Paul Griffiths is a Welsh music critic, novelist, and librettist.