CLAEM [Centro LatinoAmericano de Altos Estudios Musicales]

alcides lanza
15-10-2006 11:16 am

Di Tella: the CLAEM [Centro LatinoAmericano de Altos Estudios Musicales], was created by Ginastera in 1962. It was well funded by the Di Tella Foundation for the year to year operational budget, and by the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations for equipment and occassionally the sponsorship of visiting composers.

Each two years 12 young composers from LatinAmerica were chosen by an international jury.

The fellowships they received amounted to a monthly stipendium of 200,- U$ and the air fare from/to the country of origin.

The ITDT was located in downtown Buenos Aires, in the very famous "Florida" street. It included research areas in Theatre, Music and the Visual Arts. The concert hall, seating ca. 400, was used for concerts and for experimental theatre. The building had on the ground floor the concert hall and one large exhibition area where shows with paintings or sculptures were offered every two months, approximately. Once every second year the well known Di Tella Biennal took place, with an international competition in the visual arts and corresponding exhibition. Important "shows" that have remained with me, the unpredictable "happenings" by Martha Minujin , light sculptures and paintings by Julio Le Parc, Joseph Albers with his "Hommage to the Square" , Erotic Sculpture and tapestries from India.

The CLAEM also organized at least seven Contemporary Music Festivals in cooperation with the SAMC [the Argentinean branch of ISCM].

The ITDT and its CLAEM opened in 1963 and several generations of young composers got their training there until 1971, when a dictatorial president of Argentina - General Onganía - ordered it to be closed, forever. It is a sad view - when i visit Argentina now- to walk in the area of my Alma Mater only to find that in its place they presently

The facilities for the CLAEM were in the second floor: two large class rooms, 6 small practice rooms - sound proofed and with upright piano on each-, one large rehearsal room with a grand piano, the Library devoted to contemporary music, the electronic studio, offices for the director and other employes.

The students had classes 4 days per week, usually 3 to 4 hours per day. Disciplines covered were: composition, analysis, choir practice, electronic techniques, and special topics.

ITDT: Director: Ing. Oteiza

CLAEM: Director: Alberto Ginastera

composition analysis 12 tone techn. choir electr. music special topics

A. Ginastera G. Gandini R. Malipiero P.S.Urtubey Bozzarello O. Messiaen
Assistant: G.Gandini [all year] M. Davidovsky L. Dallapicola
B. Maderna
A. Copland

composition: the composition classes, once a week, were given by Ginastera, assisted by Gerardo Gandini. Ginastera spoke on the composition and techniques under discussion and Gandini was ready at the piano or with the corresponding recording [LP] or tape, to illustrate the point. Ginastera's classes covered freely from gregorian chant, Mozart to early XX c. compositions. he strongly stressed the need to continue "the main line, the heritage process connecting us to the short, tradition".

composition assignments: one small work, one large work per year.

additionally: one short choral work, "Villancicos", kind of Noel or Xmas carols.

Analytical assignments, Machaut, Mozart, Webern, etc. One analysis per year to be considered for publication. My contribution: Webern Op. 10, from a very controversial point of view.

Composition projects were discussed with Ginastera and Gandini, but we consulted as well the other composers on staff.

My contribution: 1963: eidesis sinfónica [1963-I], for orchestra; three songs [1963-IV], soprano and 7 instruments; 1964: cuarteto IV [1964-I, for four french horns; Piano Concerto [1964-II], amplified piano and orchestra.

analysis: this parallel course, also once a week , given by Gandini, covered more contemporary compositional techniques, total serialisation, aleatorism, improvisation [we actually discussed, rehearsed and played improvised sessions]. works analyzed were by Webern, Stockhausen, Penderecki, Aldo Clementi, Bussotti, Boulez, Haubenstock Ramati, Gandini. we also discussed with him our compositions-in-writing for the Ginastera course.

special topics: this was a grab bag. important musicians visiting the country were invited to participate. Ivonne Loriod gave us a 3 months course on contemporary piano techniques and repertory. fantastic! Copland delivered 4 master classes on American and computer music [remember, such thing as computer music was absolutely new in BA]; Messiaen gave us a grueling 3 months of his technique, indian rhythms and ragas...Greek music and prosody...analysis of his own organ, orchestral and piano pieces...analysis and endless discussions on ornithology...all very early in the morning...

for some of the foreign students, Ginastera created special harmony and counterpoint classes, to reinforce their basic preparation.

what has stayed with me from each teacher...what have i learned from them...any influences that can be traced...memories....

Malipiero: a basic course. gave us solid, basic techniques in composition. the essentials of twelve tone; analysis of Berg, Bartok, Dallapicola [Quaderno musicale de Anna Libera], etc.

discussion on " what is music", where is music, etc. Example from Bruno Canino, who could play a 3 minutes long piece in 3 minutes! Took us to consider how the transcription changes [Dallapicola also elaborated on this subject], or the size of orchestra changes [Beethoven First played by a community orchestra or by a symphonic orchestra] and we think it is all the same. if the singer departs 10% from true pitch, we feel she is awful. the time dimension might change by the same amount and it is accepted. he also told us about the Bauhaus. we did orchestration under his direction. Malipiero got us to be aware that music is a very flexible matter...

Golden mean, Fibonacci: he open for us the Pandoras box of analyzing Bartok from the Golden Mean point [Lendvai efforts - at least in BA- were unknown then]

our group - Agrupación Música Viva - dared to "commission" a piece from Malipiero. He complied, and wrote for us Preludio, Adagio e Finale [1963], for voice and percussion, poems by Gallardo-Drago, Noventa and Ungaretti. It was premiered by AMV at the Teatro San Martin, August 1, 1963, with soprano Miriam Rosenblum and conducted by Armando Krieger.

Maderna: electronic music. of interest to him was the spatial distribution of sound. Musica su due dimensioni [1952- also 1958] was a favorite example. Quadrivium shares this 'cross-roads" allegory, also around number 4; or the "echo orchestra" of his violin Concerto [1969]. When in BA Maderna was already writing Quadrivium and discussed its spatialization aspects with us, some in class, much of it over coffee or a glass of wine at the corner bar. [He took special interest in my work Cuarteto IV, for four French Horns...the idea of multiples, of several of the 'same']

It seems to me that in Quadrivium. what is now #3, he had already written or sketched; also the sequence 5/6/7. in #3, the constant, relentless incrementation of forces and crescendo, the agressive brass writing, with the extended notes reaching into the climax.

in 5/6/7/ the keyboard percussion at #5, gentle at first, more massive after 2' and dissipating in a miriad of tinny cells, mp, remaining under the orchestra that have started at #6, strings, then tutti, but always, the extended shadow of the percussion behind the orchestra. #7, at a faster pacer, has a page or two with percussion and wind instruments, developing the same recurrent idea from before, with the brass ff with longer envelopes working toward the climax at this point, bring it all to #8.

He was very unconventional, actually he disliked conventionality. he had already dropped the use of headings like Allegro, Andante, etc. as we can see in Q. a metronome marking is all he wrote at the start of each section. i can recognize his influence on me on this matter.

He was very interested in the polychoral style of the Gabrielis, a typical Venice style of antiphonal elements.

Discussed in class [the ITDT did not have as yet an electronic studio]: Berio: Omaggio a Joyce; Visage; Differences [58]; Circles [even if it was not electronic];

Stockhausen: Gesang;
Schaffer-Henry: Symphony; Etudes;
Dobrowolski: musica per oboe? e nastro magnetico;
Franco Evangelisti: incontri di fasce sonore

He was interested in the "musical phrases" even in the context of electronic music; the shaping of phrases and materials, the expresivenness of it; we discussed potentials for "new" musical forms to be applied to tape music; the use of space, modulation, works for tape and instruments; what we call today mixed media.

We met again in Germany in 1972: he was conducting Moses und Aaron, invited us [Meg Sheppard and me] to a performance; invited us to really drink good czech beer [Pilsner Urqvell] Germany [Berlin]; invited us for spaghetti dinner, marvellous! I remember him as a most humane, tender human being, the nicest person, all soft edges, gentlenness personified. a great conductor and tremendous musician.

Simultaneously he presented one month -four concerts - of contemporary music with the "Orquesta Filarmónica de Buenos Aires" [a real tradition, it happens every season, from the 1950's on...] . I was lucky, since i was engaged to write the program notes, translate during rehearsals for him [at the Teatro Colón], solve some of the minor problems he might encounter... it was the first performance in BA of Stockhausen's Gruppen [Maderna, Kagel and Calderón ? , conductors]

Dallapicola: his memory feats. "lanza...Buenos Aires...En blanc et Noir...!' (which he "had" to remember when we met in Berlin, in 1972]

he gave the course entitled something like "The voice in XX C. music and opera" touching now and then on Pelleas, Fidelio, Wozzeck, Pierrot Lunaire, Gluck, Mozart, Busoni [Arlechinno, Dr. Faustus, Turandot]. and he took us deeply into his own work: Ulisse [he was still writing it, using his own libretto], Volo di Notte [gave him pleasure to dwell into the setting showing the city of Buenos Aires, names like Patagonia, Trelew, Chile...], Canti di Prigionia and Il Prigionero, Canti di Liberazioni, all his political pieces; but also discussed in class his marvellous settings for voice and clarinets or smaller ensembles, Cinque Canti, baritone, 8 instruments - use of "visuals", like the 3rd canti, arranged like a cross with double arms; Goethe-Lieder for mezzo and 3 clarinets, which clearly show his typical linear writing, or his satisfaction with melodic phrases lasting only 3 or 4 notes. Even if he adopted Schoenberg's attitude of using only one row per piece, D. exploited the musical and sensuous qualities of sound, mostly through instrumentation, registration and rhythm. His floating rhythms, where a regular pulsation will be obscured by sequences of dotted notes and triplets, with at times few of the parts coinciding vertically. His methodology included canons, imitations, many contrapuntal devices [see Goethe L. #2: voice: row, elaboration; at B. 9, retrogradation; accompanied by clr. picc., entering at b. 8, with row, elaboration, ending together]

Ulisse, connected somewhat with his orchestral piece Three question with two answers [1960]. The structural principles that govern the musical score, also control the organization of the text, which he did. Ulisse is built on a 12 tone row, divided in four units of 3 notes each, related internally as 2 hexachords.

Bb - C - E - -F- B - C# - - - -G - F# - D - - Eb - A - Ab.

Hex. 1: opens and ends with the same interval, M2nd, ascending; in turn, Hex. 2 opens and ends with a descending m2nd. scanning the intervalic content of the rest, there are strong similarities and symmetris between the two hexachords: M or m 2nd, then 3rd, m2nd, A4th

Volo di Notte: one act only; six scenes; orchestra, orchestrina interna. written 1937-39, signed, like B.H., Deo Gratias.

He used VdN to stress: the need for different types of vocal expressions, "declamato, declamato ritmico, senza timbro, or ritmico ma con un poco di suono [radiotelegraphiste, p. 92]; other places "ben cantato ma senza emphasi, p. 145, Riviere; or the wonderful glisando down, "con tono piu umile e con espressione contenuta," preceded by the descending figuration in the orch, woodwinds, strings, p. 148 in the Scene IV., Signora Fabien, her preocupation for the fate of her husband, the pilot lost at sea];

to stress the need to control drama through crescendi: "the concept of 'drama' requires mostly the artistic solution to a problem of crescendo: a crescendo of emotion which eventually will reach relaxation through catarsis'. in the musical drama such crescendo should not 'wait' for the music, it must be there, latent or not. " [ with examples from Pelleas, Wozzeck or Milhaud's Christophoro Colombo].

as another example of this unfolding dramas, D. cited a sequence of telegrams he has seen concerning the eruption of Mont Pelé, in Martinique, 1902 [see Parole e musica, p. 387], which he thought was the embryo of his VdN.

Dallapiccola explained to us the fantastic transformation of the Radiotelegrafista, who is comanded by Riviere to contact the lost pilot by radio - pressed by the emotional requests of Signora Fabien, very much in love with her husband- . The radiotelegrafista, eventually, starts to talk in first person, and with the incrementation of emotional drama, he "becomes" the pilot, believing himself to be that person.

See: Scen. 3: Pezzo Ritmico, pg./ 84, starts at b. 382, returns at b. 500; then pausa. Scen. 5: Corale con Variazione e Finale, p. 158;

Scen. 6, Inno, Hymn, p. 231, b. 933

D. and numerology?? total number of bars: 1000; returns of Pezzo Ritmico, b. 500; dividing points and recitativos, b. 700; climax ends at b. 800; dramatic climax, Riviére cries "Perduto!", b. 798. and also see b. 382 [GM 381.9]

His classes will have him jumping all over, writing on the board, playing the piano, simultaneously chanting from Ulisse, giving both the german and the 'spanishtalian' translation...with his tongue sticking in and out like a snake's...and as usual, the occassional involuntary salivations...

He stressed again and again that we are not using all our memory potentials. he declared that he had decided to teach himself to using more and more his memory...

D. taught us to love languages and demonstrated to us - frequently - by freely speaking his kind of spanish, or italian, german or french...with little or no translation...he really kept us on our toes! during after class sessions he discussed Il Quaderno... - which we were analyzing and partially orchestrating in the other classes - told us personal things about it, enlightened us in the changes when the piece was transformed into Variazione per orchestra [53-54].

Extra references:
  • Dictionary of Contemporary Music [Vinton]: Dallapiccola-Maderna-Malipiero-Gandini-Ginastera- see also entry on Argentina pps 16-19.
  • Tempo: #123: D. last orchestral piece [related to Ulisse]
  • Dallapiccola: Parole e Musica
  • dérives 47/48: Musiques nouvelles d'Amérique latine. See my article "Quelques musiques d'Amérique latine" pps. 139-162
  • compact disc:
  • New music from the Americas Vol. 1: includes works by Mariano Etkin, Edgar Valcarcel, alcides lanza, all graduates from the ITDT [shelan eSp 9301-CD]
  • LPs [produced by alcides lanza]
  • New music from South America: includes works by Gandini-Bolaños-Nobre-Bazán-lanza, all graduates from ITDT [Mainstream S-5017]
  • Música argentina contemporánea, Vol. 1: works by Tauriello-Gandini-Krieger-lanza [all members of the Agrupación Música Viva] [Ten records}
  • How to look for info on alcides lanza in the WWW, Internet:
  • (Electronic Music Foundation)