A word from the composer
Music must achieve its status of work as music. Heidegger takes up many pages, with his circular persistence, in trying to demonstrate that before being a work, the work of art is a thing. We are so used to the expression ‘work of art’, whatever its specific means of expression, that we may very well forget this primordial and ancient characteristic: ‘things’ resulting from human work in their eagerness to deal with, to work, to face in the ‘work’ their fears, anxieties, desires, in short, their ultimate desire for expression, to give a secret reason for being (raison d’être) to their life. It is in this ever-present ambivalence that both the most wonderful and the hardest aspects reside. In the extended periods over which the works are created, ‘the creators’ – a term that, in itself, expresses the unattainable divine perfection that hovers above – always do the best they can and when an aesthetic emotion occurs, we are forced to celebrate: the work has managed to exist, to question, and to touch listeners.

It is not easy for me, at this point, to talk about these three works. Each of these compositions has a very particular, very intimate motivation, more concerned with the secrets of life than any (non-existent) secrets of composition. So – after the tragic and almost forgotten interruption of the pandemic – the fact that I was able to hear the work over three days of recording at the CCB, so admirably and beautifully played, never ceased to appear to me as an almost miraculous and very moving apparition.

Programme notes

in memorian Gareguine Aroutionian was composed in 2014-15, commissioned by the Centro Cultural de Belém (CCB). The work was premiered at the CCB by Tamila Kharambura – who accompanied the composition of the work and reviewed the solo part – and the Orquestra Metropolitana, conducted by Garry Walker, in February 2016. It was later performed at the Gulbenkian Foundation by André Gaio Pereira and Pedro Amaral with the Orquestra Metropolitana (2018), by Tamila Kharambura with the Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música, dir. Pedro Neves (2019), and Ana Pereira with the Orquestra Metropolitana under Pedro Neves, at the CCB in 2023.
Commissioned by Diemut Poppen, this work was composed in 2016 and premiered at the Festival Cantabile that same year by Diemut Poppen and the Orquestra Gulbenkian, dir. Jan Wierzba, held in the ruins of the Carmo church in Lisbon. As a founding metaphor I used as titles of the four movements: Faith; Doubts; Lament, Doubts and Furies, and Coda: faith (The Book of Job: readings, is the subtitle). The connection is merely personal and speculative, and I can describe it this way: a stable situation, an unexpected turbulence, a perplexed meditation (III-Lament) and an outcome close to the great intensity of both the pains and the glimpse of a final pacification. It was performed in the Great Auditorium of the Gulbenkian Foundation by its dedicatee and the Orquestra Gulbenkian dir. by José Eduardo Gomes in 2021 and by Joana Cipriano Pedro Neves and the Metropolitana at the CCB.
Commissioned by the CCB, this work was premiered in April 2019 by the Orquestra Metropolitana de Lisboa conducted by Pedro Amaral. The first part of the concert consists of the work Six Portraits of Pain (with Pavel Gomziakov) and the silent film with the same title by Teresa Villaverde made specifically for this concert.In Sinfonia (subjetiva) a dialogue is established with traction, a tradition which is, and ultimately must be, that of his author.

Notes by António Pinho Vargas