by Miguel Angel Coria

The Composer

It is clear above all that Sydney d'Agvilo needs no defending: he defends himself alone, carrying out his own theories with admirable consequence and force.

To understand the most modern musicians it is convenient to remember (with Walter Benjamin) that "all revolutions in art reclaim the origins of what they are subverting". I have also always said that the young people get on better with their grandfathers than their fathers -and I am indeed afraid that our unusual friendship confirms this statement. In any case it is clear that this young musician and composer has rejected the grammar used by his immediate predecessors and has organized a musical language according to his own. This perception neither denies history and yet nor does it reproduce it -or produce it again- in the way that the post-modernists who now offer their bargains at the cultural markets do.

An excellent theorist as I have already said, he has minutely examined the past, correctly adopting as his own the most valuable part of this inheritance: the characteristic severity of the great masters. In his case add to this originality -a result of his critical observance of the rules- and good taste, which is not an easy notion to understand when missing and yet like all luxuries is essential.

Sydney d'Agvilo relies on these qualities to perform his task, the results of which permit us to assume that it will be producing very agreeable surprises over a long period of time.


The Works

The works recorded on this compact disc are pure and authentic concert improvisations. I think it is important to point out that these themes, a good example of Sydney d'Agvilo's innate talent at improvisation -which in his case could also be termed simultaneous composition and performance-, should be regarded as works directed towards the general public, without distinction between the enthusiasts of different musical genres (classical, contemporary, rock, jazz, new age, etc.), a distinction that Sydney d'Agvilo rejects outright, and whose music is generally a genuine example of the impossibility of labeling it within one or other genre. The real fusion of musical genres is perhaps one of the characteristics of music from the approaching age of Aquarius and in any case, seems to be a consequence or, at the very last, a desideratum of the intervalic postulates.

As a consequence I would say that these works should not be considered, strictly speaking, as "intervalic" in the technical sense of the term but rather, from an aesthetic point of view as I will try to demonstrate now if my faded strength will allow me.

Harmonically we can find in these works tonal influences, from new age, touches of soul and jazz, and even aspects belonging to ballads, together with simple intervalic procedures mixed up with everything mentioned, forming an indistinguishable magma for the majority of human beings.

Rhythmically, however, we find several characteristics from the intervalic rhythm: absence of striking elements and firm rhythmic patterns, a fluid and oscillating tempo -always coming and going from a large and almost imperceptible accelerando or rallentando-, a personality that floats and is without weight and that paradoxically is at the same time espressivo and curved by the rubatos like Salvador Dalí's white clock faces, and the creation of movement through vibration that substitutes pulsation as the motor of traditional rhythm.

Finally, the formal concept is entirely intervalic: the construction brick by brick of a structure which acquires its significance while it grows, a structure generated from the microform, even when as in this case the microform is not made up of strict intervalic elements but of a collection of elements amalgamated by common intervalic aesthetics. An open work, without and end, that finishes simply when its own self generating structure stops, far removed from the formal and traditional molds and the language of "development" understood as musical discourse.

The Intervalic System

It is no easy task to comment upon a work of such vastness as the Intervalic System by Sydney d'Agvilo, included as it is within a literary and musical work of such a, let us say, deliciously dominating magnitude, making it almost unbelievable taking into account the author's youth. It was entirely unpublished until 1995 (we should not forget that the Intervalic System was written in 1986). I would even dare to admit, to do justice to its author, that the task is almost impossible. However, I hope the following lines will shed some light for the novice to these lares.

The Intervalic System by Sydney d'Agvilo is surprisingly original, profound and brilliant. Departing from the substitution of the note, as the element that keeps music in order, by the interval, he constructs Music again in such a way that the Tonal System is enclosed within a wider theory: the Intervalic System. It is without doubt the only coherent musical theory presented up to now, given that the countless composition methods that have appeared over this last century are only procedures to compose (or de-compose in some cases), but that can never be termed theories. As Arnold Schoenberg rightly pointed out, apart from being incomplete and incoherent in most cases, they don't meet the essential requirement already formulated by Niels Bohr: "all theories should enclose previous ones, the previous ones only forming part of the new one". This requirement is obvious, since what we need to do is extend our knowledge and not reduce it, and this is difficult to achieve with a weaker theory that does not include the successes of the theories that came before it. What we mean is that any new theory will inevitably be more general, stronger and with a larger degree of abstraction (or logical simplicity in its premises) than the previous ones. This is the case of Albert Einstein's Theory of Relativity in relation to the Newtonian Classical Mechanics, the same case as the Intervalic System in relation to the Tonal System.

We cannot predict the future, and therefore it is risky to pass judgement on the repercussions that the Intervalic System will have (above all if we take into account the tortuous path that the greatest discoveries have had to follow to obtain general acceptance). We don't know whether it will be capable of liberating Music from its current fundamental crisis that has already lasted half a century, but one thing is true: the Intervalic System is the only theory that has managed to survive up in the present day, and for this reason we have no choice but to grasp it like a burning sword.

Sydney d'Agvilo has explained the fundamental basics of his theory in his book on the Intervalic System entitled the same way. A theory that has opened a multitude of doors through which no-one has yet passed and that are waiting to be opened. In my opinion, I think the following recently discovered fields should be researched: Epistemology of Music, The Aesthetics of the Intervalic System, Computerization of Intervalic Harmony, Application of intervalic concepts to the teaching of bowed instruments from primary level, Philosophy and philosophical implications of the Intervalic System, Historical study of the criteria of the evolution of Music, Research and development of possible new technical aspects of the theory, etc.



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