Tomás Gueglio Saccone

Our upcoming concert with the Latino Music Festival is designed to showcase the unique compositional voices of Latin composers in Chicago. Do you find that your Latin heritage and culture manifests itself in your music? Or does your music strive to be free of cultural ties and influences?

Tomas Gueglio Saccone: It’s really hard to tell…if the question refers to the presence of Latino topoi or programs, my music does not really feature them. On the other hand, back in Buenos Aires I would listen to quite a fair amount of tango and also took part in a group of Improv-Prog-Argentine-Folklore so maybe some of that exposure and experiences remain a part of my musicking at a deeper level, but (again) it’s hard to tell.

Was there a seminal piece of music in your past that lit the compositional spark in you? What was it about this piece that captivated you?

TGS: I can’t pinpoint one specific piece. It’s more like a whirlwind of pieces. I began in music as a rock (and then) blues (and then) jazz guitar player, so once I got to school and began my training in composition I was a little bit overwhelmed by the constant exposure to music that I had no idea existed. I can list some of the pieces that I remember had an impact on me and therefore tried to imitate when I was taking my first steps in composition. In no particular order: Mendelsohn’s Variations Serieuses, Messiaen‘s Louange à l’inmortalité de Jésus, Ligeti’s Lux Aeterna and the Nonsense MadrigalsPetrouska, Bartok’s Music for Strings, percussion and celestaVortex Temporum, Ockeghem’s Missa ProlationumO’King, Feldman’s Neither…Of course my relationship with those pieces changed over the years, but I remember they had –even if temporarily - a strong impact on me in my early days as a composer.

Fonema Consort is fascinated with the role of the voice in new music. How do you approach writing for the voice? Does its inherent qualities and associations change or influence your musical language?

TGS: I have three pieces with voice, and the way it is used is quite different for all three cases. In …Pellicanz (the piece you will be performing as part of the LMF) the voice works as another instrument partaking with the violin and piano in a rather uniform texture with sudden and sporadic bursts of spoken text. In Enfants de mon Silence the voice is used more traditionally, in a somehow “ravelian” fashion and in …I begli occhi the technique employed is a “sprachgesangish” recitative of sorts. These different approaches are more a response to the text employed in each case than to a pre-existing musical need or idiosyncratic treatment of the voice: the first, a sentence of surreal scent, the second a Paul Valéry poem and the third texts from Gesualdo madrigals. So I guess for me it is “prima le parole” and figure out what to do with the voice later...