Composer’s Name: Alejandro Viñao

Title of Piece: Arabesco Infinito

Number of Percussion Players: 2

Total Number of Players: 2

Instrumentation: vibraphone and marimba

Approximate length: 9 min.

Program Note:

“I first thought of writing an ‘arabesque’ for marimba and vibraphone as I was hearing my son Matteo practice Debussy’s second arabesque at the piano. Shortly afterwards I considered Debussy’s piece in the context of ideas about repetition derived from classical Islamic art, Chaos Theory and fractal geometry.

In traditional Islamic art, ornamental textures are often constructed from a single geometrical figure multiplied in all direction in one plane creating an infinite pattern.  In Arabesco Infinito I attempted to emulate this kind of construction.

Similar ideas of ‘creative unpredictable repetition’ are found in fractal geometry and chaos theory. However, chaos theory also introduces the idea of attractors, defined as states towards which a system or process may evolve. What I found fascinating in this concept was that although a system may be moving towards an attractor, it may appear to be doing so in a chaotic way. This suggests that order may be created out of chaos and that perhaps an act of creation may need chaos as a necessary condition. I wanted to have a similar kind of motion in my piece, a directionality that at times might seem chaotic but was always driven by the repetition of an initial cell or pattern. I wanted to create music where a very simple rhythmic and melodic figure – and arabesque- would evolve in unpredictable ways but always in the direction of a node or point of attraction. These points of attraction appear in the piece as ‘grooves’, repetitive periodic or quasi-periodic rhythms that our body may comfortably settle into. The movement or gravitation from one groove to the next is the central process of the piece, its complex story, in short, what the piece is about.

In Arabesco Infinito I was interested in the notion that repetition (that dreaded monster of contemporary culture) can be mindless and even dehumanising or truly creative in a profound and mysterious way.”

– Alejandro Viñao

Categories: Mixed Ensemble

Annotated by Matt Sharrock