Marlos Nobre

Marlos Nobre


• Born 1939


My harmonic exploration is based on the belief that it is still possible to discover new harmonic possibilities, independent of twelve tone technique and even of traditional tonality and consonance. I believe that the chromatic scale has not yet been totally explored and exhausted. It is still possible to discover new and different means of linking and binding harmonies together that lie outside traditional dodecaphonic and serial structures. The practical result of my explorations and beliefs can be found above all in my orchestral orks, notably in CONVERGENCIAS,MOSAICO, BIOSFERA,IN MEMORIAM and PASSACAGLIA.

I am constantly exploring the simplest means of expressing my ideas and musical thought, convinced as I am that setting out deliberately and voluntarily to write music where difficulty and complexity are ends in themselves is not a good solution. For the same reasons, a return to tonality seems to me quite meaningless. A simple "return to the past" has never appealed to me, even if it seems to me necessary to analyse and recognize the vital forces existing in the works of the past that are still alive and precious for musical creation of whatever time and of whatever style.

As for rhythm, regular pulse and metrical points of reference, associated with the greatest possible rhythmical freedom, seem to me to be the basic elements of composition. The subconscious formation of my unconscious was highly influenced by the Afro-Brazilian rhythms of Recife, my home town where rhytms such as the Maracatu, the Frevo, the Caboclinhos, the Candomblé and the Cirandas still exist.

As far as form is concerned, I´m looking for a balance between unity and variety, at the same time as I allow, up to a certain point, the musical ideas to create and initiate their own formal organization. Form for me is the necessity of giving the musical thought a clear and intelligible order, organized and coherent. The sonorous material generally develops in my mind as a drama, or an abstract novel.

In my works, what I´m aiming for is a balance between spontaneity and conscious logic, between economy of means and richness of material, without ever allowing rigour, concentration and precision to damage the ease, expansion and continuity of the flow of sound. What I really care about is the work finding it own pace, its own internal logic, which will underwrite the work´s absolute continuity and the intelligibility of the musical language, without sacrificing the raw audacity of the innovative experience as necessary impulse and not as an end in itself.

I´d compare the composer to a sponge absorbing all kinds of influences throughout the different periods of his/her life. No composer will have exactly the same auditory experience as any other musician, precisely because those experiences, in the case of the real crator, are being absorb ed into the formation of an authentically personal style. My music is therefore a product of my subconscious absorbing and archiving, filtering and selecting a whole series of very different influences.

The most important lesson I learnt was finally understanding the great formal laws of the 18th and 19th century classic works, especially Haydn and Beethoven. Serial music, despite the richness of what it can offer, broke with this huge tradition by doing away with the basic principle of repetition, without really bringing to music any real substitute. The most important serial works have always been, for this reason, those which based themselves on texts which provided them with frames for their formal organization. In pure and abstract music, serialism, when it broached the great forms, sinned through lack of organization and coherence.

The 20th century composers who have most influenced me are Debussy, Bartok and Lutoslawski. These composers were capable of innovation in musical language without necessarily breaking with the great tradition.

Many young composers, and not only contemporary composers, worried about producing works of real value, get completely preoccupied by technical problems which hinder their creative imagination. My music finds its inspiration in the source of my unconscious by way of allusions, quotations and impressions from the past of present which, at any given moment, have fascinated me. They touch my consciousness in an almost somnambulistic way and inspire me to create.

I am an inventor of music motivated by the desire to create my own language, synthesis of my auditory and intellectual experiences organized in such a way as to achieve written compositions of the outmost rigour. I prefer an "impure" but living language to a "pure" dead language. I´d like to give permanent life to my visions and dreams, my nightmares even. I want them all to become comprehensible, as soon as I think they are worth being exposed and that they have enough energy and emotion in them to enable them to bring something of value to the lives of those who listen to them.

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