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Rodrigo Mata

Rodrigo Mata: Raindrops for solo double bass

Rodrigo Mata: Raindrops for solo double bass

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About the Composition

One of my most valuable sources of inspiration for composing a musical work is "nature" and for this work, I have taken "rain" as the main idea, a natural phenomenon that, in different ways, has disturbed and pacified some moments of my life. In the search for textures and sound colors that represent the “rain” in its different facets and in the exploration of various double bass techniques, I have put together melodies, chords, rhythms, and effects in a single musical discourse, preserving a sense of perenniality.

In the beginning, as an obbligato, two tinkling natural harmonics appear, executed with the flageolet pizzicato technique (harp pizzicato), which are harmonically interchanged throughout the entire introduction, but are present in many sections of the piece, after being immersed in the insistent sound of the harmonics, the main theme emerges, presented with the traditional pizzicato technique in combination with some hammer pizz., double stops and harmonic glissandi.

A series of arpeggios performed with a fusion of pizzicato techniques is presented immediately as a transition that groups together the traditional pizz, the flageolet pizz with the left hand (harmonic and normal note), and the peculiar Bi-tone technique (a technique used by the Norwegian composer Håkon Thelin in his work “Amarcord” for double bass solo). Subsequently, a funky line full of energy that contrasts with the previous serenity is presented. And reaches its climax when introducing the bow that, as with pizzicato techniques, seeks to produce different sound textures.

This new bow section begins with a low suspended tone on an open string that produces different timbres by changing the position of the bow between the bridge and the fingerboard. As a second transition, a new series of arpeggios emerges from the resonance of the open string that is complemented by the combination of normal notes and natural harmonics on the same nodes and that leads to a very expressive and melancholic theme to end on a new suspended tone, this time highly and very delicately, that simultaneously dissolves itself as the tinkling of the beginning reappears and finally the initial theme returns as a small coda, releasing the last drops of rain.


This work has been commissioned by David Heyes and co-commissioned by Sarah Poole, Lynn Hannings, Susan Hagen, Sergio Barbosa, Simon Garcia, Dominic Dudley, Elizabeth Harre, Lucy Scanlon, Chris Clark, May Halyburton, Marcos Machado, Dave Whitla, Phil Parker, Chris Kosky, Jacob Gifford Head, Malcolm Healey, Eric Hansen, Martin Penning, David Murray, Luciano Golia, David Desimpelaere, Rob Nairn, Davide Botto and Joel Quarrington. And it is dedicated to the memory of the great master František Pošta.

About the Composer

Bassist and composer born in 1985 in Guanajuato, Mexico, he graduated in double bass at the University of Guanajuato. Concurrently, he studied with Valeria Thierry (Mexico) in Mexico City and, in 2010, completed an academic stay at Mount Royal University in the city of Calgary, Canada, with Sheila Garrett (Canada), John Hyde (Canada) and Rubim de Toledo (Brazil). From 2019 to 2021, he studied for a Master's Degree in Music Performance at the Norwegian Academy of Music with Dan Styffe (Sweden) and Håkon Thelin (Norway). He has received master classes from renowned musicians such as Stefano Scodanibbio (Italy), Bertram Turetzky (United States), Frank Proto (United States), Markus Stockhausen (Germany), Dominic Seldis (United Kingdom), Thierry Barbe (France), Jeff Bradetich (United States), among others.

As a soloist, he has premiered works by contemporary composers in Mexico, the United States, and Norway. He has performed with Calgary Youth Orchestra in Canada, Orquesta de Cámara de Leon, the Norwegian Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra and Sinfonietta, Ensemble 3030, and the Bergen Youth Philharmonic Orchestra. He is currently a bassist in Orquesta Sinfónica de la Universidad de Guanajuato, as well as several chamber music and jazz projects. He is conductor and founder of the double bass ensemble "Mushamukas," with which he has premiered works by avant-garde composers and with which, in 2022, he was a beneficiary of FONCA's Programa de Fomento a Proyectos y Coinversiones Culturales. In 2021 he was a beneficiary of Programa de Estímulos a la Creación y Desarrollo Artístico (PECDA) as a creator with trajectory.

As a composer, he has won first prize in the 2020 and 2022 ISB (International Society of Bassist) Composition Contest, first prize in the 2021 FICI (Festival Internacional de Contrabajo Infantil) Composition Contest, and has been the resident composer of the Latin Orchestra of Europe in 2021, his works have been performed in Norway, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, the Czech Republic, Chile, Argentina, Portugal, Germany, Venezuela, Peru, and the United States.

Both as a performer, as a composer, and as a director, he has participated in numerous international events such as the International Cervantino Festival, the Fjord Classics Festival, the International Festival of Contemporary Art, the Callejón del Ruido International Festival, the International Jazz Festival in Irapuato, the Convention of the International Society of Bassists and the Baja California Latin American Double Bajos Festival, to name a few, and has made album recordings with the Tagma Records, Quindecim Recordings and Evidence Classics record labels.

Additionally, he has served as a teacher in the Community Orchestras of the Sistema Nacional de Fomento Musical, Trinitate Philharmonia, and continues as a double bass professor at the University of Guanajuato.

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