A versatile composer, Diogo Carvalho works with art, electroacoustic, popular, Brazilian, and jazz music. His compositions are frequently related to non-musical ideas that generate or inspire creation in several styles.
As the 2018-19 Harn Museum of Art Composer-in-Residence, Carvalho integrates dance, poetry, and music inspired by the museum's collection and architecture (more info here). Using a language that communicates with different audiences, Carvalho’s pieces have been heard internationally, from Brazil to Russia. He serves the international composers community as
Director of the Composers Forum at the Vienna Summer Music Festival and Artistic Director for the São Paulo Contemporary Composers Festival.
Performed by Laurent Estoppey
REVEAL - ALTO SAX AND TAPE » Deconstructing an instrument is a revelation, because it unsettles the myth, causing a change in the listeners’ perception. The alto saxophone is the source for all the sounds presented in this piece, which emphasizes the ones that have been hidden by the instrument’s technique and repertory, or unnoticed due to their low volume. The recorded part of this piece reveals saxophone sounds that normally are not clearly audible in a concert room. The computer enables processing the recordings, to enhance or highlight parts of the sound spectrum, timbres, peculiar sounds, and percussive elements.
The breakage may result in a complete dysfunctional instrument,
when the main resources for producing sounds are prevented by this organized malfunction. Reveal is a noun and a verb, and the piece expresses both meanings, because it reveals the rich universe of resources denied by the traditional technique and provides a new possible listening to a guitar, when the listener might achieve a whole new comprehension of the instrument—the piece brings to light a sub-known universe of sounds that was present, but not understood.
Watch Laurent Estoppey’s performance here.
Performed by Bold City Contemporary Ensemble
JUXTAPOSED COLORS » Juxtaposed Colors reveals specific instrumental techniques and musical gestures through a process of juxtaposition. These techniques and gestures are glissandi, tremolos, trills, harmonics, frullato/throat tones, obbligato figures, as well as tasto and ponticello bowings.
The jarring alternation between and juxtaposition of these techniques prompts the listener to recognize the incommensurability of some of these techniques, which ultimately results in unique color combinations otherwise unavailable when these sounds are individually employed.
In writing the piece, Carvalho created an abstract visual chart to represent various parameters of the music’s unfolding. For example, musical gestures and ideas were assigned specific colors, which were then combinatorially organized from left to right over a time axis. This sketching process focused only on the visual realization of the music’s structure, having no pre-conceived expectations for the resulting sound.
After completing this visual plan, Carvalho followed the generated graphic configurations and translated the abstract color-collage into sound, building a form that exposes the various diverse musical elements.
Watch the performance here.
Performed by the University of Florida Percussion Ensemble
INTERLEAVING » The composer created Interleaving blending two pieces, each being a continuous compositional process. The first consists of a spreading of the sound spectrum, starting on low sounds, reaching high sounds, and finally combining colors given by the percussion ensemble. The second was conceived with a similar procedure, albeit with a different evolution: it starts with a combination of modes that is gradually depurated to one mode, and finally to one note.
The two processes interact and influence each other in two levels: the listener perception and the composer’s choice. The listener constructs her/his perception using memory, and each person can perceive the interleaving differently, focusing more on one of the processes, on the combination, or on how they respond to each other. The composer deliberately modeled the alternation between the original pieces to instill the dialectics: Interleaving encompasses clearly separated sections, rapidly changing excerpts, direct interference when materials are borrowed from (or forced into) one another, and a final resolution (dissolution). Recorded live at the University of Florida. Watch video HERE.
Performed by the Boston String Quartet
COLLAGE » How can we perceive a collage in music? Communicating form means deceiving time, using memory to apprehend music through a timeless experience. Could a musical collage defy time? The listener builds the form connecting unrelated materials that appear in a complex organization. As with a visual collage, perception of the whole is the goal. Recorded live at the University of Florida. Watch video HERE.
Performed by Diogo Carvalho
REVEAL - GUITAR AND TAPE » Deconstructing an instrument is a revelation, because it unsettles the myth, causing a change in the listeners’ perception. The guitar is the source for all the sounds presented in this piece, which emphasizes the ones that have been hidden by the instrument’s technique and repertory,
or unnoticed due to their low volume. The recorded part of this piece reveals guitar sounds that normally are not clearly audible in a concert room. The computer enables processing the recordings,
in order to enhance or highlight parts of the spectrum, timbres, and percussive elements.
Performed by Calavento Duo (transcribed for guitar and violin by Diogo Carvalho)
Performed by Tom Jobim Orchestra - Soloist: Diogo Carvalho
CONCERT FOR GUITAR AND ORCHESTRA, I » Mozart mixed different styles, rhytms and gestures for composing. With these ideas in mind, Carvalho wrote this piece, which brings Baião, Bossa Nova and Maracatu (Brazilian rhytms) in classical form.
Performed by Ian McIntyre
CLARINETISM » The peculiar instrument’s capabilities of articulation and variation in dynamic and timbre inspired this composition. A virtuoso piece for a very versatile instrument, “Clarinetism” has several idiomatic musical elements generated from a main motive, allowing the performer to explore the richness of the clarinet.
Performed by Diogo Carvalho
CAVE OF THE HARMONIC BEATS » The metaphor for this piece is doing music while walking in a cave, playing the guitar to find your way through the darkness, like a bat. The recording process actually happened this way, since the intended harmonic beats were found after hours of search for an ideal location in the studio. The composition deals with the intersections between live and recorded music, as well as the relation between the performer and the instrument. The basic materials, all generated through the guitar and processed by the computer, are: beats obtained by the mixture of three low notes, a free improvisation in counterpoint, and the sound of playing two strings “attached”, which imitates a snare drum.
Performed by the Calavento Duo (Diogo Carvalho and Leonardo Padovani)
BRIDGE OF STRINGS (PONTE DAS CORDAS in Portuguese) » Dedicated to our friends Orozina and Damião.
Special guest: Raïff Dantas Barreto (cello). Our friend Flávio Souza Ramos took us on an unforgettable journey through the countryside near the city of Formosa, Goiás State, Brazil. This composition is inspired by the sights, rhythms and, mostly, by the sounds of that area: the oxcart, the berrante (a local instrument, used to herd cattle), and the peculiar accent of the locals. Thanks Flávio!