New album: 'Music for Percussion and Guitar’

MUSIC FOR PERCUSSION & GUITAR, The Austin, TX | Session, now available on All Major Platforms!

credits:

all music composed and orchestrated by Marek Pasieczny
▪️ Marek Pasieczny: Guitar
▪️ Thomas Burritt: Vibraphone, Marimba, Glockenspiel, Thai Gongs, Tibetan Tingsha, Temple Bell & Tam-Tam.

▪️ recording engineers: Jess Griggs & Jordan Walsh
▪️ video editing & post-production: Marek Pasieczny
▪️ recorded at The University of Texas, Austin TX, USA

Recursive Reflections – Composer’s notes

Recursive Reflections: 35 Variations with Fugue (for Guitar Trio) (2024)

The form of a guitar trio has always fascinated me, especially the sonic effects produced by three identical instruments. The balance, symmetry, and perhaps most importantly, the stereophonic and expansive sound that such instrumentation creates. The initial sketches for Recursive Reflections were made several years ago, already with the idea of a guitar trio in mind. This is one of those rare instances of a composer revisiting old sketches from the past.

Despite the undeniable sonic appeal of such an ensemble, original repertoire for guitar trio practically does not exist (compared to hundreds, or perhaps even thousands, of guitar duets and quartets).

The main inspiration for the musical architecture of Recursive Reflections came from four sets of variations, all with the same instrumentation (the piano as the composer’s instrument of interest), but entirely different in style, time of creation, and compositional material: J.S. Bach and his 30 Goldberg Variations, BWV 988; 14 variations on the theme ‘Enigma’ by Edward Elgar (in the solo piano version); 33 variations for piano, Op. 120 (on a theme by Antonio Diabelli), by Ludwig van Beethoven; and finally The 48 Variations for Two Pianos by John McGuire from 1976-1980.

It is worth noting from the outset that in this composition, I didn’t distinguish between guitar: one, two, and three, but rather divided them into central, left, and right guitar. I did this very consciously, guided within this compositional architecture by the most important factor shaping the entire trio – the aforementioned sonic aspect (stereophonic effect).

Recursive Reflections consist of 35 variations and a three-voice fugue. In Beethoven’s aforementioned variations, the 29th variation is written in the form of a fugue. In the case of Recursive Reflections, the fugue itself appears in its pure form as the penultimate part. The fugue form and the polyphony of the psalms are nods to Bach. However, the reminiscence (sketches of the theme) of the fugue appears throughout the variation form in a hidden manner (as in the case of the mysterious theme of the ’Enigma’ in Elgar’s variations). The theme appears in six scattered variations throughout the entire piece, in different modes, intensities, tonalities, and contexts. The fluidity between variations, the sonic element, post-minimalism, and ambient qualities are references to the aforementioned McGuire Variations.

The variations themselves are divided into five interwoven groups.

In terms of quantity, the first group (also the titular group) is ‘Recursive Reflection’, where the three instruments perform the same compositional material. However, this portion of the material is presented with very precisely planned delays. It’s a kind of recursive reflection (not in visual, physical, or mathematical form), but in musical form, in the form of sound.

The second group is ‘Mirror’. The central guitar serves as the compositional center (often in the form of an ostinato or an integral part). In this center, the neighboring guitars (left and right) musically reflect each other alternately, like in a mirror.

The third group is ‘Bells’. Here, all elements of the composition are subordinate to sonority – the classical effect of bells. Resonance, space, time, and the meditative character are significant in shaping the form of each variation.

The fourth group is ‘Psalm’. A short form serving as a purifying and reflective effect. Polyphonic, almost choral in its compositional material.

The fifth group is ‘Shadows’. In contrast to the previous groups, here the harmonic monolith is the entirety of the trio’s sound. None of the three parts is integral or stands out. The material of each part is different, yet each part complements and supplements its neighboring parts simultaneously.

Recursive Reflections are my personal variations on the sonority of three identical instruments, in this case, classical guitars. Despite the reminiscence of the fugue theme as an element integrating the entire form, it is not the theme but rather the stereophonic aspect that was the reason for the creation of the piece and the shaping factor.

I hope that Recursive Reflections will, at least to some extent; help rediscover the unique potential that a chamber ensemble composed of three classical guitars carries.

The piece is dedicated to my friend, the outstanding luthier and artist – Philip Woodfield.

Marek Pasieczny

(Leeds, United Kingdom, April 2024)

(in Polish)

Rekursywne Odbicia: 35 Wariacji i Fuga (na Trio Gitarowe) (2024)

Od zawsze fascynowała mnie forma tria gitarowego, zwłaszcza efekty sonorystyczne trzech takich samych instrumentów. Balans, symetria oraz, być może przede wszystkim, stereofoniczne i szerokie brzmienie, jakie daje takie instrumentarium. Pierwsze szkice do Recursive Reflections powstały kilka lat temu, już wtedy z myślą o trio gitarowym. To jeden z tych rzadkich przypadków kompozytorskiego powrotu do starych szkiców z przeszłości.

Mimo niezaprzeczalnej atrakcyjności brzmieniowej takiego składu, oryginalny repertuar na trio gitarowe praktycznie nie istnieje (w porównaniu do setek, a może nawet tysięcy duetów i kwartetów gitarowych).

Główną inspiracją muzycznej architektury Recursive Reflections były cztery formy wariacyjne, tej samej instrumentacji (fortepian jako instrument zainteresowania kompozytora), jednak zupełnie różne w stylu, czasie powstania i samym materiale kompozytorskim: J.S. Bach i jego 30 wariacji Goldbergowskich, BWV 988; 14 wariacji z tematem „Enigma” Edwarda Elgara (w wersji na fortepian solo); 33 wariacje na fortepian, Op. 120 (na temat walca Antonio Diabellego), Ludwiga van Beethovena oraz 48 wariacji na dwa fortepiany Johna McGuire’a z lat 1976-1980.

Warto na samym początku zaznaczyć, że w tej kompozycji nie rozróżniłem gitar na pierwszą, drugą i trzecią, a podzieliłem je na gitarę środkową, lewą i prawą. Zrobiłem to bardzo świadomie, kierując się w ramach tej kompozytorskiej architektury, najważniejszym czynnikiem kształtującym całe trio – przywołanym już aspektem sonorystycznym (efektem stereofonii).

Recursive Reflections składają się z 35 wariacji oraz trzygłosowej fugi. W wspomnianych wariacjach Beethovenowskich, wariacja 29-ta napisana jest właśnie w formie fugi. W przypadku Recursive Reflections, sama fuga pojawia się w czystej formie jako część przedostatnia. Forma fugi oraz polifoniczność psalmów to nawiązanie do Bacha. Jednak reminiscencja (szkice tematu) fugi pojawiają się na wskroś formy wariacyjnej w ukryty sposób (tak jak w przypadku tajemniczego tematu ‘Enigmy’ w wariacjach Elgar’a). Temat występuje w sześciu rozproszonych na przestrzeni całego utworu, wariacjach w różych trybach, o różym natężniu, w różych tonacjach oraz w różym kontekscie. Płynność pomiędzy wariacjami, element sonorystyczny, post-minimalizm i ambient to odwołanie do przywołanych Wariacji McGuire’a.

Same wariacje występują w pięciu przemieszanych ze sobą grupach.

Pod względem liczebności, pierwsza grupa (zarazem grupa tytułowa) to Recursive Reflection (rekursywne odbicie). Trzy instrumenty wykonują ten sam materiał kompozytorski. Jednak ten potrójnie zaprezentowany materiał zostaje pokazany z bardzo dokładnie zaplanowanym opóźnieniem. To swego rodzaju rekursywne odbicie (nie w formie wizualnej, fizycznej czy matematycznej ), ale w formie muzycznej, w formie dźwięku.

Druga grupa to Mirror (lustro). Gitara środkowa stanowi kompozytorskie centrum (często w formie ostinato lub integralnej partii). W owym centrum, naprzemiennie jak w lustrze: muzycznie odbijają się gitary sąsiadujące (lewa i prawa).

Grupa trzecia to Bells (dzwony). Tu wszystkie elementy kompozycji podporządkowane są sonorystyce – klasycznemu efektowi dzwonów. Wybrzmienie, przestrzeń, czas, charakter medytacji ma tu znaczenie kształtujące formę danej wariacji.

Czwarta grupa to Psalm. Krótka forma pełniąca efekt oczyszczający i refleksyjny. Polifoniczna, wręcz w swoim charakterze materiału kompozytorskiego – chóralna.

Grupa piąta, to Shadows (cienie). W opozycji do poprzednich grup. Jedyna grupa, w której harmonicznym monolitem jest całokształt brzmienia tria. Tu żadna z trzech partii nie jest integralna, czy wyróżniająca się. Materiał każdej z nich jest inny, równocześnie zarazem każda partia z osobna dopełnia i uzupełnia partie jej sąsiadujące.

Recursive Reflections to moje osobiste wariacje na temat sonorystyki trzech takich samych instrumentów, w tym przypadku gitar klasycznych. Mimo reminiscencji tematu fugi jako elementu integrującego całą formę, to nie temat, a właśnie aspekt stereofoniczny był powodem powstania utworu oraz czynnikiem jego kształtującym.

Mam nadzieję, że Recursive Reflections pomogą choć w małym stopniu odkryć na nowo unikalny potencjał, jaki niesie ze sobą zespół kameralny złożony z trzech gitar klasycznych.

Utwór dedykuję mojemu przyjacielowi, wybitnemu lutnikowi i artyście – Philipowi Woodfieldowi.

Marek Pasieczny

(Leeds,Wielka Brytania, kwiecień, 2024)

Cover of Sześć Strun Świata

Marek Pasieczny has been featured on the latest cover of the April-June edition of ’SZESC STRUN SWIATA’ the Polish Classical Guitar Magazine.

The in-depth interview was conducted by the great researcher Wojciech Gurgul. We discussed topics such as:

➡ The compositional process, writing for baritone guitar, over 20 percussion instruments, 80 guitars and piano solo album

➡ My artist residency with ACG (Austin, TX)

➡ Latest collaborations with amazing musicians and luthiers including: Bion Tsang, Thomas Burritt, Joe Williams, Carl Petersson, Mateusz Kowalski, Bartlomiej Wezner, Philip Woodfield, Oliver Moore, and many more.

➡ New upcoming albums and videos for solo piano, guitar and percussion, guitar and piano, and also the latest guitar trio project.

➡ The magazine includes the Full Score of my piece UNTITLED (Black & Blood Orange) thanks to the generosity of Tomasz Polak.

The magazine will be available starting tomorrow (2nd of April) at chain store EMPIK.

Photo by Grzegorz Pulit

New Guitar Trio

Just completed one of the biggest and most complex chamber music pieces I’ve ever done. It spans over 50 pages of hand-written sketches. The piece is in the form of variations and has been written for a Guitar Trio. It contains 35 (!) variations followed by a three-voice, full-size Fugue.

Serenitatis

Serenitatis (for Piano solo)

From my earliest recollections, the cosmos has held an enduring fascination for me, particularly the American spaceflights of the Apollo program, culminating in the historic moon landing. In January ’23 I fulfilled my lifelong dream: visiting NASA’s Space Center in Houston.

One of the attractions at Space Center Houston is the Lunar Sample Laboratory Facility and Lunar Samples Vault. This facility hosts the largest display of Moon rocks on public view in the world. One of the incredible experiences is undoubtedly touching a fragment of the moon. Only eight lunar rocks are available for the general public to touch worldwide. The particular one I touched in Houston was brought back to Earth by the Apollo 17 crew in December 1972 and is 3.8 billion years old. Astronauts Schmitt and Cernan collected the sample in the Valley of Taurus-Littrow, located on the edge of the Sea of Serenity (Mare Serenitatis) in the upper right quadrant of the Moon as viewed from Earth.

A few months after returning to the UK, my friend Carl Petersson—an outstanding Swedish pianist currently living in Canada—reached out to me with a request to compose a solo piano piece for a rather unconventional album. The recording project would feature piano pieces inspired by the moon. My visit to Space Center Houston and the inspiration drawn from the place will be translated onto the musical score.

The primary inspiration shaping Serenitatis for me was the idea of depicting the moon’s gravity (1.62 m/s²) in a musical manner. I decided to create something resembling fluid or moving harmony (the vertical texture of the piece) and embellish it with a continuous rising and falling motion (the horizontal texture of the piece), often-in opposing directions.

The harmony of Serenitatis constantly migrates. Sometimes very imperceptibly (already in the theme presentation with half-tones), and sometimes very radically (the cascading opening arpeggios, arpeggio ranges closing the composition, and the transformation of the composition itself). To capture the atmosphere of the night, but above all the vast shades of grey, silver, and finally black (which the moon reminds me of), I decided to construct nearly 80% of Serenitatis’ harmony from pure minor chords that constantly clash and complement each other.

Serenitatis is also a distant reminiscence of the form of nocturne – music of the night. An echo of the typical theme texture (melody) that appears especially in the nocturnes of Frédéric Chopin. Hence, the main theme of Serenitatis has a very chromatic, fleeting, and lyrical character. The theme itself gravitationally changes—each successive presentation (increasingly fuller) drifts in half-tones.

Gravity is also reflected in the rhythm. Based on initial static triplets (the left-hand texture recurring as a 'nocturnal’ accompaniment in the left hand), the main theme and its development seem to continually appear in an open (rhythmically and harmonically), almost ethereal character.

Despite the nocturnal character of the theme itself, Serenitatis is a virtuosic, lively, and energetic piece. It starts from the highest register of the piano but also concludes with a tremendous ascent from the lowest to the highest possible piano notes.

I hope that Serenitatis will take you and future performers on a short journey to the moon. The piece was commissioned and is dedicated to Carl Petersson.


Marek Pasieczny
Leeds, UK, November, 2023

The Elements: Triple Concerto in 8K on YouTube!

◾ GENESIS This composition was commissioned by and dedicated to ACG (Austin Classical Guitar, for which I was appointed Artist in Residence for the year 2022-23. I was asked to create a piece that largely reflects the theme of ACG’s 2022-23 artistic year, which was 'HOME.’ I also knew that this composition had to be written for five separate groups of guitarists. Each group could independently prepare their assigned portion of the larger whole, but, more importantly, they were to perform that section and treat it as a finished and stand-alone piece.

These two factors (’HOME’ and the five independent guitar groups) directed my inspiration towards the philosophy of go-dai, which I had used previously when composing the 'Go-Dai Concerto’ for guitar and orchestra in 2012.

◾ 'GO-DAI’

The philosophy of Go-Dai is a Japanese concept of five elements known as godai, or the „five great”: air/wind (Japanese: 風, fū or kaze), fire (Japanese: 火, ka or hi), water (Japanese: 水, sui or mizu), earth (Japanese: 地, chi or tsuchi), and void/sky (Japanese: 空, kū or sora).

◾ 'HOME’

For me, „HOME” broadly refers to our planet as our shared home, regardless of where we live. Therefore, my initial intention was to reference weather conditions through the elements of the Go-Dai philosophy.

◾ ELEMENTS

The first step in the composition process was to develop the main themes for each of the five Go-Dai elements. Each of these themes, along with their harmonization, development, and adaptation to specific guitar groups, was shaped by the character of each element. This way, the music not only conveyed the essence of each element but also visually and suggestively impacted the listener. The choice of expressive techniques, compositional solutions, and structural elements such as meter, harmony, rhythm, tempo, and structure were closely tied to each of the five elements during the composition process.

◾ FORM / ORCHESTRATION

Despite there being five independent compositions (elements), I strongly wanted to avoid a suite-like form with clear and distinct parts. My goal was to integrate all five elements while maintaining their individualism, much like in nature. During the creation of THE ELEMENTS, I was given the choice to write a solo part for the guitar. This inspired me to consider additional solo parts on various instruments. First, I chose the cello as an instrument that blended well with the guitar’s sound. The second addition was a solo part for a percussionist who was to handle over twenty percussion instruments, which I felt naturally relates to the fundamental elements of nature.

The piece begins with abstract, low, and primal sounds symbolizing darkness. Within the structure of the triple concerto, THE ELEMENTS features three main solo cadenzas: solo (timpani), duet (guitar and cello), and trio – fugue (guitar, cello, and marimba). The entire composition is interspersed with abstract moments that serve as links between the various elements. These abstract segments contrast with meticulously developed motifs for each of the elements.

The composition concludes with a bright, cheerful finale, symbolizing transformation: from emptiness and darkness to brightness, fullness, and hope.

Marek Pasieczny (Leeds, UK 13 Oct. 2023)

Suite for Clarinet in B flat & Guitar

Brand new version of my SIX FOLK MELODIES : suite for Clarinet in B flat & Guitar, based on Polish folk melodies, has just been premiered by phenomenal duo: Vojin Kocic (guitar) & Matthias Müller (clarinet).

Premiere took place last Sunday during the 87th Musikwoche Braunwald in Braunwald, Switzerland.

1st Warsaw Guitar Conference | UMFC

I’m looking forward to the 1st Warsaw Guitar Conference at the Uniwersytet Muzyczny Fryderyka Chopina, Warsaw.

Together with outstanding Mateusz Kowalski, we will premiere: (SZOPEN) RE:MEMBERING II and DODECAPHONIC PRELUDE AND FUGUE III, both brand new versions for two guitars.
We will also give Polish premiere of my EX NIHILO (NIHIL FIT) II for Two Guitars and Large Guitar Ensemble w/ the students of the Chopin University, conducted by Ryszard Bałauszko.

teaching | all additional info

Domeniconi / Pasieczny: Composer’s Project

I’ve been lucky over many years now, to make music with extraordinary people, however this is one of a kind, once in a lifetime project. This summer I’m going to compose and record music with living legend, composer I admire very much: Carlo DOMENICONI. I will compose together with Carlo large multi-movement piece for two guitars.

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

The very first rehearsal and masterclass at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Premiering THE ELEMENTS: Triple Concerto – version for Two Guitars, Cello and Guitar Octet with fantastic Gen Li (cello), Mark Ashford (guitar) and eight students under conductor Mark Eden.

Premiering on the 23rd of March at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

’SOLO’: VIDEOs & SCOREs

Thank you for purchasing my limited edition album ’SOLO’ (Contemporary Music for Solo Guitar)

YOU are one of only 200 people in the world who has it! Congratulations!

Following links below, you can now watch videos and purchase music scores from this very album 'SOLO’

WATCH VIDEOS FROM ALBUM 'SOLO’

ALL SCORES FROM ALBUM 'SOLO’ YOU CAN ORDER DIRECTLY VIA ✉️ slepayment@gmail.com

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