Francisco Guerrero – Complete Orchestral Works (Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia/José Ramón Encinar)

The majority of western people in general have this erroneous conjecture towards classical music that it is orthodox and conservative in terms of time signatures, instrumentation and production – that it is old-fashioned, obsolete and even conventionally boring. Obviously, what they consider classical is the traditional classical music of Beethoven, Liszt, Chopin and the listless others whos music is essentially experimental, it is just we’ve all become very familiar with such compositions through the media that we do not associate such music with terms like experimental because experimentation in music comes with a sense of inaccessibility and obscurity. But really, modern classical is a great deal more experimental, inaccessible and obscure than most music and if you don’t follow coherently, listen to this.

Francisco Guerrero is what I’d consider an experimental composer and The Complete Orchestral Works reflect it. Following the influential footsteps of Iannis Xenakis, he applies his studies of the principles of fractal geometry and mathematics to create the element of indeterminacy and aleatorics into his compositions which is what makes them all the more interesting. An example of this would be the opening piece, Coma Berenices, an ambitious 14 minute opus that gradually builds up as layers of atonal strings overlap and eventually construct into a combatively stochastic confliction between frantic strikes of voilin and bass chords that invite the listener to experience the surreal life that Guerrero does.

Then thunderous percussion envelops the listener in an onslaught of blows that unexpectedly crash, hammer and consumes the piece chaotically. Barrages of percussive arrangements continue until Guerrero’s stylistic string glissandi conclude what is a grand composition. Another instance of Guerrero’s characteristic element of the unknown is Ariadana, the shortest piece and the least for the faint-hearted. Spectral and intense strings play off the elongated whine of the voilin bow which creates an abstract suspense that coldly investigates the depths of the unexplored yet innate noises which connect the music to the natural phenomena that is sound. Even if the creative process of this music sounds questionable, this should attract attention from listeners of any genre as a fascinating and educational experience in the dynamics of some of the most experimental classical music.

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