Maria de Alvear


De puro Amor & en amor duro
Maria de Alvear world edition, 2018
12,5 x 14 cm
ISBN: 4260025640339



What is one to make of Maria de Alvear’s two long solos for piano, De puro amor (‘Of pure love’) and En amor duro (‘In hard love’), both composed in 1991? The scores themselves, if one decides to start from here, are completely perplexing. Pages and pages are marked with hastily scratched notes, sometimes repeating themselves dozens of times. Little priority seems to have been given to rhythm, dynamics or articulation; even less to the notational conventions such as barlines, spacing or vertical alignment that help a reader or performer orientate themselves and navigate through a piece. They look less like completed works than preliminary sketches. Yet in the hands of the pianist Eve Egoyan, these rough sheets transform into music rich in expressive nuance.

The scores look like they do because de Alvear practised a form of automatic writing when composing them. She wrote as the music came to her, neither planning ahead nor looking back to revise; everything was preserved as soon as it was imagined. The first of the two pieces to be written, De puro amor, was ‘simply scribbled down’ in an afternoon. This is how a child might work, but for de Alvear, the music flowed from deep within her, authentic and unencumbered by childish compulsions. […]