Borges y el Espejo
for soprano & computer

Honorary Mention Prix Ars Electronica 1994




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Duration: 12 mins.

Borges y el Espejo (Borges and the Mirror) is loosely based on a Turkish semi-classical song. I was primarily interested in the rhythmic complexity of the melismatic singing in the Ottoman and pre-Ottoman music traditions of Turkey. In this type of singing, the melisma seems to be the centre point from which repetitive rhythms are triggered and multiplied, creating complex and diverse phrases and yet, retaining a great sense of unity.
In Borges y el Espejo I used the simple repetition of melismatic singing to generate complex rhythms and to create an ever changing perception of pulse.
The Turkish melismatic phrases are copied, repeated and transformed by mirrors which multiply them into the perfection of symmetry or the abysm of obsessive repetition. Mirrors and the Islam, two of Borges' favourite subjects and in a metaphorical sense, the subject matter of this work too.

The text in Borges y el espejo has little or no semantic meaning. Most of the words are in Turkish and have been re-arranged according to the musical needs of the composition and do not necessarily follow the syntactical rules of the Turkish language. The text is a fiction which I have invented.

Borges y el Espejo was commissioned by Group de Musique Experimentale de Bourges, and was be premiered by Frances Lynch during the 1992 International Musique Festival at Bourges, France. The computer part was generated at G.M.E.B. and post-produced at the composer's private studio.