Interview

Interview by Artur Cimirro. Composer, Pianist and Opus Dissonus’s Executive Editor. December, 2010. Here in Spanish. Here in Portuguese.

Opus Dissonus – What was your first contact with the art of composing? What motivated you to start?
Víctor Carbajo – When I was a child, composing was a game: I was fascinated by how some signs became sounds and trying their combinations. Later that fascination became necessary.

O. D. – How does your compositional process works?
V. C. – I compose on musical whims. Everything starts with a fleeting idea. I write it down and keep it somewhere on my desk and on my memory. I return to it in short or long periods of time, until it becomes stronger than me and I have to develop it to create a finished musical composition.

O. D. – Which ones of your works may, in your own view, be regarded as “introductory” or “obligatory” for those who want to know more about your compositions?
V. C. – My solo piano music is where I have left a comprehensive summary of all my compositional interests.

O. D. – How would you describe your own style of composing?
V. C. – My sister Lola says I only write 3 music styles: pretty, funny or weird.

O. D. – Who are the composers who have had the greatest influence on your work, from the earliest compositions to the present?
V. C. – There are so many… Those who influenced me when I started writing music still do so today: Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Grieg, Puccini, Debussy, Ravel, Falla, Bartók, Ligeti…, although in recent years there is a very powerful influence on my music: myself.

O. D. – In your Biography you mention the Scientific Serialism. How does it works and where the people/composers can find more information about it?
V. C. – Scientific Serialism is basically an extension of dodecaphony; I translate numbers to base 12 and treat them like long series, so that all the sounds of the work are product of the internal structure of these numbers. My essay on the Scientific Serialism is pending publication.

O. D. – Are the works “Mersenne X” and “Mersenne XIII”, which I believe their names are a reference to Marin Mersenne’s name, results of this Scientific Serialism technique? And by the way, are there more 11 Mersennes planned for the future?
V. C. – “Mersenne X” and “Mersenne XIII” are today the only works published on my personal website created from Scientific Serialism. They are the 10th and 13th Mersenne primes, and I don’t rule out the possibility of writing more Mersennes.

O. D. – The work “El Españolito. 60 Variations on the Marcha Real Española” show us your control of different compositional techniques, but on the other hand, a great part of your works are tonal. Is this just a preference?
V. C. – It is very difficult for me to escape from tonality, although sometimes my musical whims are atonal. I can’t help it: sometimes I imagine tonality, and others, atonality.

O. D. – How started your interest in writing scenic music like your “Antigona”?
V. C. – I like working with other artists so I do not rule out writing more scenic music in the future.

O. D. – You have a very beautiful CD recording with some of your works played by Moldavia National Chamber Orchestra. Do you have plans for new orchestral pieces and CDs?
V. C. – Regarding recordings there are several projects on the horizon: a CD dedicated to my music for flute and I also plan to record all my solo piano works. On the short term I have not devised any orchestral work.

O. D. – How difficult or how easy is for you to find space for playing your own works in the concert hall?
V. C. – In more or less half of the concerts I offer as a solo pianist or accompanist pianist I have the possibility of including some of my works.

O. D. – In your opinion, what can we expect for the future of classical music?
V. C. – Classical music will occupy less space in our world, but that little space will become deeper.

O. D. – What are your impressions of the youngest generation of composers? Do you know them?
V. C. – I am meeting a lot of potential: I am always surprised by unknown young talents who will become the future.

O. D. – What words would you say to an aspiring composer?
V. C. – To compose a lot, to analyze a lot and let their intuition guide them to unknown places.

O. D. – Final words.
V. C. – I love putting limits to myself, as I do with pandiatonalism. If I am totally free, I can repeat me, but by confining myself, I am, paradoxically, freer because I find roads in me I didn’t know of.