Program Notes

in cuarteto V alcides lanza continues with the idea of “multiples”, already present in cuarteto IV, for four french horns, sensors I, for percussion quartet and sensors IV, for choir and tape. written in 1967 at the request of the mexican composer Manuel Enríquez for the V Festival de Música Contemporánea in Mexico city, cuarteto V was premiered by the Cuarteto Nacional de Mexico, in June 1967. cuarteto was written in memoriam Jackson Pollock, the american painter whose influence, alcides lanza says, “was substantial for this work of mine, … the Pollock retrospective that I saw in New York during that year left a profound impression on me because of the rhythm, colour and texture possibilities that i thought i could echo in my music…” the score calls for differentiated tuning for each one of the instrumentalists, with the aim of obtaining some microtonal sonorities without resorting to very precise intonation. it was during 1967 that lanza made a profound change in his compositional techniques, mostly by adapting some aleatoric and graphic notation that would allow him to remove his music from the realm of tonal harmony and conventional rhythm notation. the mexican critic and composer José Antonio Alcaraz has written “…lanza brought to his cuarteto V the expressive and technical qualities pertaining to the world of electronics… with his latin temperament the composer touches on unexplored musical areas where his textures, modes of attacks and formal aspects of the music bring to mind similar situations of the non-figurative contemporary paintings…” this, the first of alcides lanza’s works written completely in “graphic notation”, is visually appealing in its apparent simplicity, and remarkable in having almost no trace of conventional music notation. cuarteto V has been more visible than audible. the piece has appeared in many more art exhibitions than concert halls.