Short description of the visuals made for sollozo por pedro jara (1978)

The idea of creating videos for the compositions was a suggestion of my advisor, Prof. Casey Driessen. The purpose of the videos is to add another dimension of possible engagement for the public. They may help to deliver the structure of the poetic piece, reinforce imagery or do the opposite and leave space add stress to silence, and provide a sense of unity when, for example, in the compositions harmony is not functional. Adding visuals to the project could, hopefully, have expanded the possible interpretations and enriched the frame for the poetic work.

            The climaxes of the audiovisuals are provided by the poem itself and footage and editing merely try to be in sync with the emotional content of the poem. I tried to keep a certain consistency with the approach of the musical composition for each Series. For example, Series IV and I are fairly diatonic and easy to digest, and so is the imagery and editing, whereas Series III and V have been conceived musically as more experimental and I thought that this could be also reflected in the audiovisuals. More in detail, the first video takes place in a location that could be similar to the physical atmosphere in which the poet found himself while in Floreana Island. It is supposed to set a certain mood, to go back in time, while the poem is being recited.  I intentionally left space for the music and the voice, as in this part the language is simple and concise. As the music remains neutral in this part, so does the visual element.

           The second video emphasizes on showing footage of stones, as this is the part in which the poet reflects about his name, its etymology and the meaning of stone for humanity. In the third video, footage is edited to display in black and white and only when the text makes references to Pedro or when there are descriptions about his character, a video layer in color appears. This is totally similar to the approach I took in the musical part, in which, as said before, the approach is monophonic and a second voice appears when, for example, the poetic voice talks to the son. The fourth video is mainly narrative in its approach, even cliché in certain approaches but tries to adapt to the dramatic and visual content of this part of the poem. The death of the son is embraced in the last part of the poem, Series V, but hope remains and soothes the pain of his father. The footage for this part evokes death, but beauty within it, movement after death, echoes.

         During the editing of the videos, additional sound layers were added to the music (acoustically and digitally produced "noises", recordings of specific physical places to transport the listener to a certain space, etc.). These added layers are not always notated in the score as most of the these added sounds were not premeditated. The idea to expand the sonic element of the frame to reach higher levels of expressivity and communication was a suggestion of my advisor Prof. Enric Alberich.


         The visuals that are part of this frame provide a different way of experiencing poetry, which is not “better” or “richer” than the introspective moment of reading a poem in silence to ourselves; this is merely a personal approach I made to honour and "promote" this poetic work by Jara Idrovo, which is amazing but almost unknown in global context.

© 2020 tomás proaño