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Iris

  • Alexandre Lunsqui (b.1969)
  • Solo
  • 2001

The Portuguese term for “musical bow” is “arco musical,” and “Arco iris” means “rainbow.” In “Iris” Brazilian composer Alexandre Lunsqui plumbs the depths of the berimbau, exploring the incredible variety of timbres and colors it can produce. Lunsqui became obsessed with developing an extremely colorful palate that would reflect the spirit of the instrument. In this way, “Iris” is much more than a piece of music. Concepts ranging from the history of the berimbau and its connection to Capoeira Angola, to its power as a symbol of African culture in Brazil and its related dramatic and musical potential, inform the narrative of the work. For the performer, “Iris” demands intense and intimate physical contact with the instrument. It navigates a series of musical roads, generating along its path a powerful experience for both performer and audience.

Generally, the player should strive to generate an incredibly strong and surging energy through the exploration of these sounds. Lunsqui re-considered the work in 2012 to make some of the gestures more easily playable. The original 2001 manuscript is included here in facsimile for reference. – Gregory Beyer

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The video above is the original 2001 version. Here is a video of the 2012 version performed by Fernando Miranda, who studied the work with the composer at the State University of São Paulo (UNESP).

 

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