Carmen Criaturalis - Alicia Terzian, from OFF THE EDGE




Rating is available when the video has been rented.
This feature is not available right now. Please try again later.
Published on Mar 2, 2017



Argentinian composer, conductor, and scholar Alicia Terzian’s new Navona release OFF THE EDGE is an incredible journey into the heart of the string orchestra. The four works on the album introduce listeners to Terzian’s captivating compositional perspective and enchanting treatment of this ensemble’s sonic potential. Her writing focuses heavily on the drama, nuance, and contrasts accessible through instrumental color, and OFF THE EDGE showcases numerous audacious textures involving the string orchestra, with different percussion instruments,chorus,soloists and voice.

To this end, Terzian’s work Tres Piezas para Orquesta de Cuerdas is the album’s simplest presentation of strings, as it is the only piece on the album to feature string orchestra by itself. Even so, this highly sectional piece demonstrates the ensemble’s considerable textural flexibility. As one might expect, the composer uses the orchestra as a conventional and singular melodic force with the accompaniment of solo violin and cello in the corresponding variations of the 2nd movement. More importantly, Tres Piezas is a work that exploits string instruments’ capacities to produce both compellingly powerful and delicate sounds.

The other works on OFF THE EDGE more commonly play to the extremes of the string orchestra’s sonic palette. This tendency is encapsulated in the first minutes of Carmen Criaturalis (1970), a concerto for horn, string orchestra, and percussion considered the beginning of "spectralism". Here, Terzian fuses the sounds of a rolling cymbal with trembling, sliding strings and the vibraphone, which give way to the solo horn’s anguished solo melody, a melody calling to mind a scream and then joining the orchestra in an emotional conclusion.

Canto a Mi Misma (1985) features an enthralling form, as well as rich, vivified string textures and is scored for string orchestra, a chorus reading the texts of 20 poems, and the tam-tam. Both thematically, and in actual performance, sound transformation is a key element of this composition. Spoken material is electronically manipulated and delayed around a performance space, an effect admirably captured in this recording. Through speaker placement and live sound manipulation, the listener perceives musical content and its ongoing transformation with a fluidity mirroring that of the material itself. While perhaps hard to visualize, the live performance of this piece utilizes a specially designed system of scattered speakers and stage microphones structured specifically by the composer for the transmission of this single composition.

Written in 1992, the album’s titular work combines strings, Chinese cymbals, choir, and bass soloist in a dramatic and expansive musical design.


A renowned Argentinian composer, conductor, and musicologist, Alicia Terzian was appointed as the most important musician in the country in 2013 by an official session of the Chamber of Deputies of Argentina, as well as an Honorary Member of the General Assembly of the International Music Council of UNESCO, in 2003, by vote of all member countries.

The works on OFF THE EDGE come from three of the four periods Terzian identifies in her compositional career, including her “Opening to Microtonalism” (1954 - 1968), “Cosmic Time” (1969 -1984), and “Spatial Era” (1985 - 2003). This allows the album to capture the transformation of her style from her earliest works (Tres Piezas para Orquestra de Cuerdas, 1954) to her more recent musical focuses (Off the Edge, 1992)

Terzian’s compositional style contains a concerted treatment of the musical texture and color of string instruments, particularly with Tres Piezas (the album’s only string-only work) as well as with the remaining pieces, which combine strings, percussion, horn, and vocalists.

Argentinian newspaper La Nacion celebrated Terzian as “one of our heroes of culture from the art of music” and a talented composer “of music of our time, gaining prestige in its international trajectory”


  • Category

  • Song

  • Artist

    • Vladimir Lande
  • Album

    • Alicia Terzian: Off the Edge
  • Licensed to YouTube by

    • NaxosofAmerica (on behalf of Navona)


When autoplay is enabled, a suggested video will automatically play next.

Up next

to add this to Watch Later

Add to

Loading playlists...