In his Book of Disquiet the great Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa (Bernardo Soares) writes this short phrase: Litania: We are two abysses – a well staring at the sky.
The initial inspiration for this miniature for violin and piano was derived from a photo I took in the mid 1990s. I had been visiting my father’s family on the island of Madeira (Portuguese territory located off the coast of Morocco), and the photo was taken from the bottom of a subterranean passage at the Fortress of São Tiago in the capital city of Funchal. From that perspective the stairs seem to rise up directly toward the bright sky, moving from darkness into light.
The duality of this photo evoked for me Pessoa’s short phrase. Litania (“litany” in English) refers to a form of oration—a series of prayers organized in short invocations that alternate between soloist and assembly, producing a hypnotic effect. The “soloist” in the prayer is represented by the violin, which plays dramatic, ascending lines, while the “assembly” is represented by the piano, whose music is more introspective, solemn, and contemplative, played at slower tempi.
“Litania” was commissioned for Yevgeny Kutik by Washington Performing Arts. The first Washington D.C. performance was given April 23, 2019.
-Andreia Pinto Correia
MORE ABOUT THIS WORK
The prestigious literary magazine Jornal de Letras describes Andreia Pinto Correia’s compositions as “a major contribution to the dissemination of Portugal’s culture and language, perhaps a contribution larger than could ever be imagined.” Her music — described by the Boston Globe as “compellingly meditative” and by the New York Times as an “aural fabric” — is characterized by close attention to harmonic detail and timbral color. Following a family tradition of scholars and writers, her work often reflects the influence of literary sources from the Iberian Peninsula and beyond.
Honors include a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, and commissions from the European Union Presidency, Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University, Tanglewood Music Center, Chamber Music America, League of American Orchestras, Boston Symphony Orchestra Brass Quintet, American Composers Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, Toulmin Foundation, Gulbenkian Foundation, Mellon Foundation, National Symphony and National Opera of Portugal, and the National Bank of Portugal. Pinto Correia’s compositions have been performed by the Minnesota Symphony Orchestra, Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, Albany Symphony Orchestra, Columbus Symphony, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Orchestra, and Orquestra Metropolitana de Lisboa among others. Her work Timaeus, a concerto for orchestra commissioned by the Boston Symphony’s Tanglewood Music Center in memory of Elliott Carter, was premiered at the opening concert of the Festival’s 75th anniversary.
Recent highlights include the world premieres of Night Migrations, a piano trio commissioned by Chamber Music America for the Horszowski Trio, and a string quartet for the JACK Quartet (String Quartet No. 1, Unvanquished Space), commissioned by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. Spring 2018 also saw a world premiere of Ciprés given by the Columbus Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Rossen Milanov, a work commissioned by the League of American Orchestras and the Toulmin Foundation.
Born in Portugal, Ms. Pinto Correia began her musical studies in her native Lisbon and received her Masters and Doctoral of Music degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music.