SIGMA Project performed its first concert in the Kursaal Auditorium the 28th of August 2008, as part of the 69th Donostia-San Sebastian Quincena Musical.
Its following debut in Madrid came soon after, two months later, the 27th of October, in the futuristic venue of the Auditorio 400, in the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia.
For this first appearance in Madrid, SIGMA Project rescued the ensemble of saxophones format, “a format that represents a huge progress in the instrument’s evolution and of its possibilities for composition, that has had its specific weight in contemporary music” (Juan Carlos Torres, composer).
Loyal to its identifying traits and to its strong commitment to the current musical creation, SIGMA Project performed the world premiere of the piece Il suono dil sonno, by the composer from Madrid Sergio Blardony.
The program notes (in Spanish) were written by the composer Juan Carlos Torres and can be read in the following link.
The text that can be found below, SIGMA PROJECT – WHEN CONDUCTIVITY SUPPORTS ACT, was written by the aforementioned composer after he attended the premiere of his work.
“Among other meanings and specifically in the field of electricity, “Sigma” represents a material’s ability to conduct an electric current. This definition, which at first seems to be unrelated to the artistic context, can be used to suggest a semantic relationship that has a particular affinity with my experience with this musical project. And I say project(aside from the obvious presence of the term in the name of the quartet) and not group or ensemble because I think that it is precisely how it is projected, how this “conductivity” becomes a reality, what constitutes its essence. In fact, I would say in a better way –and thus giving it a specific value– that this “high conductivity” is reflected in Sigma’s approach of commitment with contemporary creation; in the precise flow of its sound, which, I believe, succeeds in being unique and that emerges from the research on its character; and in the interdisciplinary nature that it pursues as a project as well. It also manifests in the effort made by its members (through the way they approach the performance) to make it clear that things are drawn from movement, from the deep insight of the sound event and from a passion for music that must arise bluntly. All of this originates from the strong conviction that the starting point is aesthetical and not just the simple act of accurately “playing” what is written on a musical score.
I could describe my experience with Sigma Project, which was defined through the work Il suono del sonno for saxophone ensemble and percussion premiered in the MNCARS on the 27th of November 2008 and brilliantly directed by Nacho de Paz, as an event where the composer confirms that what he has written on paper has become a being in a true way. And this far from always being the case. I do not mean that the sound the author has imagined manifests in a reality that was preconceived during or after the composition process. That does not exist, and I consider that it is foolish to say things like the work “has sounded exactly as I had imagined it”. I am not saying, neither, that an important dose of calculated speculation in the creative act, where the performer will always provide specific or global solutions, does no longer exist. What I think that distinguishes Sigma’s approach from other performing concepts is that the musical work is treated like an open world. The results of exploring this land lead to Sigma’s own and specific artistic concept which, from that moment and in its own right, already belongs to the quartet. This way of addressing the score –although maybe someone could think the opposite– shows the highest degree of respect for the work. And it is in this context where the author can satisfy his claim for orality. In art, an unequivocal or convergent view does not make sense (in fact, it does not even exist). The composer needs to listen to himself through the work, as if it already was a foreign object detached from any pre-compositional approach, process or completion. In the case of Il suono del sonno, I can say that I had the overwhelming feeling of hearing the echo of my dreams transformed into music”.
Sergio Blardony (Madrid, November 2008)
PRESS OF THE CONCERT
“… In a word: everything was fantastic. Some days ago we commented the lack of enthusiasm of the National Orchestra playing Francisco Guerrero. This night, here, at the Reina Sofia, was the exact opposite. Enthusiasm, passion, absolute dedication to the interpreted music… Unfortunately forgotten by the great chamber and symphonic music repertoire, saxophone is one of the most ductile instruments there is. This night, we have appreciated that at the solid, obsessive textures of “Akaitz”, by Felix Ibarrondo: a work of impressive strength and formal clarity, which initiated the concert; and even more (maybe) at Cristobal Halffter’s “Fractal”, a most beautiful work, performed by the original quartet, in which many rough passages interact with delicate textures without vibrato: the cruel and Medusa-like beauty of dissonances with episodes of serene beauty, we don’t know if convoluted. Sigma Project is capable of the most magic sonorities. Their textures are always clear, even at tense and aggressive moments.”
Andrés Ibáñez, “El Saxo de los Ángeles”, Diario ABC, 29 October 2008
“HI have attended the two concerts performed by SIGMA Project so far and it is clear for me that they are a group and an iniciative with much to say and offer. The team they form is technically sensacional. They have been open to sum (sigma!), no filling, but high-category colleagues. They program their concerts not as a mix of works, but as if every concert ‘is a work’. They have understood that conventional concerts languish and seem eager to remove the uses, either in clothing, in the attitude on the stage or by taking advantage of the places they occupy in their respective roles to incorporate acting effects or sound spatiality. They do not reject working with other artistic disciplines for mutual enrichment. It is necessary to take them into consideration.”
José Luis García del Busto (Member of the San Fernando Royal Academy of the Arts). Madrid, October 2008