Partita No. 1 ‘Zircon’


Partita No. 1 ‘Zircon’ (2013)
dedicated to Alberto Haggar

Instrumentation: Piano
Duration: 34 minutes

The first Partita is an exploratory essay in extemporaneous composition reflecting a fascination with Baroque dance-forms. The implications of these forms become stretched, mutated, abstracted from, denied, and revisited in each respective movement. The dances take as their point of departure an assumption regarding the form & meter, one which is never definitively proved, merely alluded to and asserted, manipulated, and generated through a series of altered repetitions, angles, and periodic returns to preestablished motifs. As these patterns of identity and expression are built through the medium of shifting perceptions, a re-contextualized pattern of intelligibility emerges which simultaneously negates and affirms the dances upon which they are based.

Zircon is a mineral belonging to the group of nesosilicates. Its chemical name is zirconium silicate and its corresponding chemical formula is ZrSiO4. It is ubiquitous in the crust of Earth. It occurs in igneous rocks (as primary crystallization products), in metamorphic rocks and in sedimentary rocks (as detrital grains). Due to its hardness, durability and chemical inertness, zircon persists in sedimentary deposits and is a common constituent of most sands.

In addition, the dances take visual inspiration from the friezes and sculpture of Classic period cities in northern Guatemala and southeast México. The dynamism of these images infused a sense of mysterium into the idealized rhythmic motors and their subsequent transformations. The idea of zircon and sand, as exemplified in cliches such as “The sands of time …” also proved to be evocative of metropolitan ruins, poltergeists, and the distance these artifacts convey. The identification with Mayan aesthetics, mythology, cosmology, and sociology is secondary, as the Partita was not intended to isomorphically refer to nor embody specific relationships or features derived from modern anthropological research. The connection is derived from apprehensions of a purely visual nature, which through some oblique and obfuscated process, filtered into the music by way of intuited visual≈sonic execution.


Stela 10. Seibal, Peten, Guatemala, Southern Plaza north of Structure A-3, April 26, 849 A.D.
Stela 10. Seibal, Peten, Guatemala, Southern Plaza north of Structure A-3, April 26, 849 A.D.