Any established contemporary music festival can only dream of the large public that Sigma Project gathered in the premiere of the opera for soprano saxophones by José Vicente Fuentes Castilla (1986), Songs of innocence and experience. The stalls of the Auditori Germanies in Manises, Valencia, were almost full the first day of the first festival of contemporary music organized by the Ateneu Cultural.

Songs of innocence and experience […] moves between the innocence of an infant and the gaze of someone with silvering hair who calls upon the “children of the future age”. It is a large conglomerate of texts and ideas that talk, whisper, blurt out, sing or whistle to each other. This textual structure results in a series of poetic sequences where the four saxophonists play, in addition to their sopranos, tam-tams, bells that remind us of the Big Ben, electric guitars with a bow, plastics with their feet, chains and basins full of water. They also set several metronomes in motion from different heights, both physical and harmonic.

This “sigma” of elements and ideas leads to an ending in which the voice plays the leading role – it is an opera.

[…] The result is extremely attractive and, as it has already been mentioned, very poetic. The creativity and virtuosity of Sigma Project are self-evident. In addition, the appropriate use of the lightning and the staggered stage contribute to immerse the public in the listening of this multi-colored world of sounds.

Songs of innocence and experience ends with a voice-over playing in the distance when the musicians leave the scene. Do not forget this name – José Vicente Fuentes Castilla. We will have to be on the lookout for him, not only regarding his music but also everything else.

Daniel Martínez Babiloni

AudiClásica, junio 2016