Brown bears can be found in many parts of the world, from the fringes of deserts to high mountain forests and ice fields. In Europe, the brown bear is mostly found in mountain woodlands, in Siberia it occurs primarily in forests while in North America they prefer tundra, alpine meadows and coastlines. Particularly the brown bear that lived in the Northern Territories of Mexico, the “Ursus Arctos” is now extinct.
This terrible fact, that a species of animals can be extinct by human hand has always struck me. I wonder why humans act against creation and if we can educate ourselves to understand that we have the chance to do the right thing. This is the starting point of the concept of the piece.
In Over Hunted I want to make a metaphor of some traits of the bear with those of the bass saxophone. For the Native Americans, the bear is as free in spirit as the great wind; and grander than its mass. To match that magnitude is the quality of unpredictability in the bear. It’s a massive animal that can be eating peacefully some berries in the woods, but when provoked in certain ways, the Native People witnessed ferocity in the bear that could create terror.
For the construction of the piece, the bass saxophone will show a wide range of sounds and emotions; performing unpredictably like the bear, going from soft expressiveness to violence, ferocity and power. I will work with the growl of the bear making a straight relation to different stages of the composition and to generate musical material. One stage is to use more or less processed samples of growl sounds for the electronic part. A second stage is to use the data of spectral analysis of the growl to generate material for the pitch, harmonic and rhythmic content of both the acoustic and electronic parts of the piece. And a last stage where the structure of the piece takes its form from the habitual growl pattern.
The piece will have one movement with three main sections as the growl pattern is divided in three phases. 1) A prelude, made with a series of low intensity calls that sounds like cries of sorrow; 2) A middle section that builds up to the climax with calls of increasing duration (shortening again towards the climax), made of loud low frequencies; 3) A last part with loud pulsing, deep-throated grunt like sounds.
Over Hunted, making a clear reference and getting the inspiration from what happened to the Mexican bear, has the intention to contribute to the bass saxophone repertoire displaying the full capacity of this exceptional and extreme instrument.