What is Mobili?
A record of contemporary music for viola and piano, to be released under the New Focus Recordings label on October 9th, 2020.
Named after one of the pieces on the record, Mobili introduces the listener to six pieces by five Chilean composers, and offers a first-ever studio recording of five of them. Part homage-to-home, part celebratory contemporary and chamber music collaboration, part art-object, and entirely in honor of the composer of the titular work, Juan Orrego-Salas, Mobili covers an immense musical landscape, with the oldest composer born in 1912 and the youngest in 1985. With one out-of-print exception, these gemstones of the Latin American string repertoire have never been officially recorded, and so have been, until now, almost entirely inaccessible.
As mentioned, Mobili was conceived in dedication to Juan Orrego-Salas, composer of the titular piece, 2019 marking his centennial. The giant of composition passed away days before the recording took place, on November 24th, 2019, and the album will be released in memory of his life and work. Read his obituary here.
Who is on the album?
Myself and New-York based pianist Silvie Cheng.
Where was Mobili recorded?
At Oktaven Studios in Mount Vernon, New York, with sound-engineer Ryan Streber, in early December of 2019.
How was the record funded?
Mobili was successfully crowdfunded in 2019, and is made possible entirely by the generosity of its backers.
Visit the project landing page here for more information.
Who are the five composers?
David Cortés b. 1985
Cortés was born in Santiago and studied composition at the Universidad de Chile. His 2011 work Tololo for solo viola and orchestra won first prize in the Luis Advis competition, a major national honor. The piece is inspired by the night sky as viewed from one of Chile's most spectacular observatories, the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Coquimbo, and presents the listener with a descriptive, fantastical soundscape of the movements of astronomical bodies.
As part of the Luis Advis competition, Tololo was premiered by the Chile Chamber Orchestra and its principal violist: Georgina's mother and first teacher, Penelope Knuth.
Rafael Díaz b. 1965
An ethnomusicologist and composer, Díaz's music is obsessed with nature and brims with memorable melodies, always aspiring to a higher realm. Díaz turns to the spiritual practices of indigenous peoples to re-discover melody and beauty, and to explore the sincerity of our connections to our environment. Born in Santiago, he studied at the Universidad de Chile before receiving his Master's in Washington D.C. and his Doctorate in Madrid. A pupil of Cirilo Vila and George Crumb, Díaz taught composition in his home country for decades. Today he calls Italy his home.
Federico Heinlein 1912-1999
Born in Berlin, Heinlein was recognized in Chile both as composer and music critic. He taught composition at the Universidad de Chile for over thirty years, and was a music and dance critic for El Mercurio, Santiago's main journal, from 1954. Heinlein's parents were German immigrants first in Venezuela, then Argentina, and Chile. He was distinguished by the government with the 1986 Premio Nacional de las Artes Musicales en Chile (National Prize for Musical Arts in Chile).
His Duo for viola and piano can be described as neoromantic, and shows a handwritten inscription that reads "Do not go gentle" on the score.
Carlos Botto 1923 - 2004
Botto was a celebrated pianist, professor, and composer who completed his studies in composition and piano in 1955, at the Universidad de Chile. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1956 to study in New York with composer Luigi Dallapiccola. Among the numerous awards he received throughout his career is included the National Prize for the Arts from the Chilean government, in 1996. A true modernist composer, Botto's style reveals a very attractive meeting point between intellect and intuition.
Juan Orrego-Salas 1919 - 2019
The illustrious composer and Latin American music scholar passed away in his home in Bloomington, IN, at 100 years old just days before Silvie and I recorded his work for viola. Mobili the CD/LP is named after his piece, was conceived to honor his centennial, and will be released in his memory. The musical world lost a giant on November 24th., 2019.
Juan Orrego-Salas taught composition at Indiana University for over 25 years, serving as chair of the composition department, and retiring as Professor Emeritus. The Santiago-born composer's work has been performed by the Juilliard Quartet, Louisville Symphony and the National Symphony in D.C. He was a Rockefeller Foundation grantee as well as a Guggenheim Foundation Fellow, studying composition with Aaron Copland at Tanglewood, at the universities of Virginia and Princeton with Randall Thompson, and studying musicology with Paul Henry Lang and Georg Herzog at Columbia University.
He leaves behind over 100 works.
What's the track list?
Juan ORREGO-SALAS Mobili, op. 67, for viola & piano
David CORTÉS Tololo, for viola & orchestra (arr. viola & piano Miguel Farías)
Federico HEINLEIN Duo, for viola & piano ‘Do Not Go Gentle’
Carlos BOTTO Fantasia for viola & piano
Rafael DÍAZ Al fondo de mi distancia se asoma tu casa, for viola & piano ('In the Depths of my Distance, Your House Emerges')
Rafael DÍAZ ¿Habrá alguien que en sus manos sostenga este caer? for amplified solo viola (´Will There Be Someone Whose Hands Can Sustain This Falling?´) *Dedicated to Georgina Rossi and Penelope Knuth
What is meant by art-object?
I will be utilizing my own original artwork for all the visual elements associated with Mobili's release. There will be a limited edition vinyl that will incorporate handmade artwork--relating to the themes explored by the composers as I interpret them-- in place of a digitally-printed booklet and cover.
Mobili is made possible by individual donations. The following names honor extremely generous donations. Thank you to every backer around the globe!
For more information, please visit the project landing page here.