Posted on June 7, 2015

Toro (2015) for Euphonium & Electronics.

Dedicated to and performed by Vianney Desplantes.
Unusual expression of euphonium fulfils the need of an animalistic sounding. Electronics part is created from the pre-recorded euphonium and vocal sounds treated with audio effects. In order to create a sacrificial dance atmosphere euphonium and electronics interfere with each other as two fighting creatures changing the balance of dominance.

Watch a video of combined score and audio on Score Follower.

Toro is the winner of the Duo Signal‘s Call for Scores 21.

Toro was performed by 3 musicians:

Mikas Kurtinaitis, streamed concert & meeting with the composer from Lithuanian Composer’s Union, Vilnius, Lithuania.
Adrian Albaladejo (Duo Signal) at Kleine Bühne, Bern, Switzerland.
Mikas Kurtinaitis (new version for tuba!), festival Muzikos Ruduo, Vilnius, Lithuania.
Vianney Desplantes at the CRR of Boulogne-Billancourt, France.
The piece in question I wanted to show this week is Justina’s work Toro (2015) for euphonium and electronics. The work was written for and dedicated to Vianney Desplantes a wonderful French euphonium player, who really brings so much out of such a beautiful instrument. Toro almost quite simply gets the most animalistic sounds out of the instrument, through percussive colours, multiphonics, and other extended techniques; and then further warps them with the electronics. The result is an extremely primal ritual.
Despite the raw sounds and disjunctive shifts from gesture to gesture, the result is oddly hypnotic. The gradual build of energy in the centre of the piece is just fantastic; its almost like a whole new creature has been born out of this piece. Hopefully other euphonium players will see this piece and just realise how much more there is to their instrument, so they can finally put things like the Carnival of Venice to sleep. Anyway back to my point, the structure of the piece is handled so beautifully and the energy and musicality always well restrained; its almost like Justina knows the story of the ten bulls, this bull despite still being a wild animal, is well controlled and brings a new musicality to an instrument that has needed this input for a severely long time.
Baltic Musical Gems, composer conductor musicologist Ben Lunn