3 Peças de Memória e Silêncio

Marcílio Onofre – [email protected]
  Universidade Federal da Paraíba

Written for flute, clarinet, percussion, violin, cello and guitar, the work 3 Peças de Memória e Silêncio was composed in 2015, as part of the short artistic residency of the “Prêmio Latino-Americano de Composição Piero Bastianelli”. With an approximate duration of 7’30” (available at https://soundcloud.com/monofre), the work is dedicated to the Camará Ensemble, a group based in Salvador and with which I’ve worked during the process of composition of the piece. In a sense, I consider this piece a tribute to the anonymous and forgotten slaves killed during the historical period of slavery in Brazil. This past of extreme violence, inconvenient for many, reverberates until today in a unique way in the violent Brazilian society. While on the one hand musical manifestations blast throughout most of Brazil, it is interesting to observe how Brazilian society is noisy. I wonder what would be the reasons for this certain impatience to hear the “silence,” which seems to grow even more in the “liquid modernity” — as the sociologist Zygmunt Bauman (1925-2017) called the period we have been through —; would it be the fear of listening to the deafening voice of thoughts, of consciousness, of guilt? Perhaps that’s why we live almost always immersed in some kind of background music that is often imposed by high volumes. In my opinion, silence, in addition to helping to “disconnect” musical events that could be perceived with a single Gestalt, acts as a kind of “magnifying glass” that enables the listener, as long as he is engaged and active, to project his thought and imagination towards the memory tracks left by the piece, densifying the “present” moment — neglecting chronological time — creating expectations regarding the future of the piece. In 3 Peças de Memória e Silêncio, silence acts as one of the ways I’ve found to contextualize the scene of violence perpetrated during the historical period of slavery, mentioned earlier, since it — silence — can also act as a kind of violence against the continuity of the piece and its very existence. And, added to silence: the discontinuity of musical events, thus taking on the “raw” nature of musical events, often causing the listener to be “seeing” the composer working in his office, creating, elaborating, ordering, overlapping, and opposing musical events. In this way, the fluency and directionality of the work — often created by localized sequences of microtonal and chromatic inflections and rhythmic recurrences — give way to the “crudity of sound”, creating a kind of violence to the syntax of the piece; the percussion timbre universe, which explores different sounds of metals on the percussion set, as a result of a virtual memory of violence materialized by the retaining metal of the chains, shackles and neck-chains; and sounds produced by the mane attached to the strings of the violin, cello and guitar and pulled with two fingers (which I call “as cuíca”), thus generating a violence act towards the historical instrumental technique.