Miguel Azguime: De part et d’autre
(submitted by ISCM – PORTUGUESE SECTION)
The creative universe of Miguel Azguime (b. 1960) reflects an approach based on his multifaceted capacities as composer, performer and poet. This three-dimensionality concomitantly challenges a certain, almost mystical vision of the art. The beginnings of his music path are marked by the participation in various formations dedicated to jazz and improvisation, by the percussion studies with Catarina Latino, Júlio Campos and Gaston Sylvestre, as well as by the participation in various composition courses and seminars, for example in Darmstadt and with Emmanuel Nunes or Tristan Murail. A decisive moment in his path took place in 1982 through the contact with the flutist Pierre-Yves Artaud that contributed to the creation of the Miso Ensemble. This flute and percussion duo was founded in 1985 by Paula Azguime and Miguel Azguime, and since then it has distinguished itself with the search towards a different way of making music, including the use of amplification and electronic means. The Miso Ensemble’s philosophy is reflected in its name – MISO is a traditional ingredient in Japanese cuisine made by means of a long maturing process, responding to an ideal of personal and collective life. Since the 1990s the artistic partnership between Paula and Miguel Azguime led to the development of their activity also outside Portugal, in collaboration with other performers and composers. This was also the time when Miguel Azguime took up a transition in compositional writing – from a freer towards a more rigorous form, with the almost systematic use of live electronics. This transformation facilitated his affirmation as composer, whose music and personal language is nowadays broadly recognized.
In parallel to his creative activity Miguel Azguime has always remained dedicated to the promotion and diffusion of research and invention music, particularly by Portuguese composers, either as founder of the Miso Music Portugal, artistic director of the Miso Records label and the Música Viva Festival, or as the founder of the Miso Studio and the Sond’Ar-te Electric Ensemble. In 1995 he also developed the Loudspeaker Orchestra, a project exclusively dedicated to the performance of electronic music; and still, in 2003, together with Paula Azguime he founded the Portuguese Music Research & Information Centre, a digital platform for research, preservation and communication with an on-line data base, available at www.mic.pt, focused on Portuguese music patrimony from the present to the past, including a large number of documents in different formats, as well as the publication and distribution of scores.
De part et d’autre (2011) for flute, clarinet, violin, violoncello, piano, and electronics was commissioned by the French Ministry of Culture at the request of the Ensemble Court-Circuit. The piece employs as its unique material a harmonic and subharmonic spectrum, somehow “resynthesized” throughout the piece by the five instruments. Azguime writes, “Unlike many other of my works where I transform various models or sound objects into another ones, in this case one and the same object is subject to various metamorphoses. It is transformed from different points of view and perspectives, being submitted to a journey without return and passing through various states; a succession of progressing episodes. The electronics constitutes yet another component of the timbre rather than an autonomous element. It acts both at the micro and macroscopic level, either in terms of detail or as a model of representation.”