Mikel Urquiza (1988)
*Eskudantza (2014)

Isabel Urrutia (1967)
Gogoan (2001)

Gabriel Erkoreka (1969)
Kaiolan (2010)

Mikel Chamizo (1980)*
OMA (2014)

Félix Ibarrondo (1943)**
Uritz (2008)

Ramon Lazkano (1968)
Sorginkeriak (1995)

Mikel Urquiza (1988)*
Mihidantza (Zanpantzar) (2014)

Duration: 60 minutes


*Premiere. At the request of Ciklus Ensemble for the project Music under construction.
**Premiere in Spain.


Notas al programa...


Baga, biga, higa, laga, boga, sega.
Zai, zoi, bele, harma, tiro, pun!
Xirristi-mirristi, gerrena plat. Olio zopa, Kikili salda.
Urrup edan edo klik...

Mikel Laboa
(Recreation of coven language)


The writer Elias Canetti said: music is the truly living history of humanity, of which otherwise we only have dead parts. Following this reflection, Ciklus Ensemble proposes a new project: Aztarnak...huellas ('tracks' in Spanish and Basque), a journey through the living history of the Basque Country. A voyage through nature, ancestral rites, and, ultimately, culture, all from the perspective of Basque artists.

Each work of the setlist has been selected because of its connection to the land, nature, mythology or the folklore specific to an area of the Basque Country. The music pieces range from the works of Félix Ibarrondo, Ramon Lazkano, Gabriel Erkoreka or Isabel Urrutia to the works that Ciklus Ensemble has requested to young composers, such as Mikel Urquiza or Mikel Chamizo. All of them are pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that attempt to show the cultural richness of the Basque Country through music.

The two works of the young composer Mikel Urquiza (Bilbao, 1988), first and last song of the setlist, are two music pieces very related to dance and, especially, to ancestral figures of the Basque Country. Urquiza states the following about his work Mihidantza (Zanpantzar):

The zampantzar is a group of men, so-called Joaldun, all clothed with sheepskin and pointed hats that at the end of winter walk the streets of certain Basque villages calling for the end of winter with their cowbells. By transforming the melodious name of the collective into a rhythmical tongue-twister, a tongue dance, I would like to evoke their constant pace and the idea of a spell calling for the new season.

OMA by Mikel Chamizo, which is another work included in this project, takes its name from the painted forest of Oma, created by Augstín Ibarrola. Chamizo was inspired by the singularity of this natural environment now transformed into an artistic space. Chamizo states the following about his work:

Thanks to the recordings made in situ, OMA is meant to evoke the inner/external experience of walking through luxuriant pathways of the painted forest. Thus, it seeks to capture the poetic mystery of a place where nature and art live together, entwined and enriched; a place where art goes back to its routes and where flora rejoices its return by colorfully festooning.

Sorginkeriak (witchcraft) by composer Ramon Lazkano (Donostia, 1968) is also part of the setlist. Its title includes one of the major ethnographic matters in the Basque Country: witchcraft. Between 1608 and 1614 the village of Zugarramurdi held one of the cruelest witch trials of all times, in which more than 50 women were accused of attending to covens and witchcraft. in the best-case scenario they were put in jail, but most of them were burnt at the stake. Graciana de Barnetxea (considered to be the queen of witches) or María de Lecumberri, only 14 years old, were some of the executed women in this inquisitorial trial.

In short, our project Aztarnak...huellas is a sonorous journey through a landscape that shows us how Barque art and composition is nowadays. A voyage through Basque culture, full of enigmatic traditions and modern advances.

'My sculpture-stated Eduardo Chillida, sculptor of the work The Comb of the Wind XV- is the solution to the equation that, instead of numbers, uses elements: the sea, wind, cliffs, horizon and light. The equation that Ciklus proposes makes use of the environment, culture, artist and their works.

The duty of the audience is to give a solution to that equation.

Drawing by Eduardo Chillida. Tinta Papel. 1986.
San Sebastián, March 2014. Ciklus Ensemble.



Carlo Gesualdo (1560-1613)
Peccantem me quotidie (1603)

Franco Donatoni (1927-2000)
Arpège (1986)

Carlo Gesualdo (1560-1613)
“Io parto” e non più dissi (1613)

Salvatore Sciarrino (1947)
Lo spazio inverso (1985)

Carlo Gesualdo (1560-1613)
Se la mia morte brami (1613)

Luciano Berio (1925-2003)
O King (1967)

Carlo Gesualdo (1560-1613)
Moro, lasso, al mio duolo (1613)

Duration: 60 minutes


The setlist Ciklus Ensemble presents, entitled Dialogue between epochs, connects two historic moments, two worlds of sounds. It introduces two ways of conceiving music through the works of various relevant Italian composers. This project began as a tribute to the great Renaissance musician Carlo Gesualdo (1560-1613), prince of Verona, for the 400th anniversary of his death.

The music of Gesualdo has been a source of wonder for composers of the 20th century, such as Luciano Berio or Salvatore Sciarrino, who even composed an opera based on his turbulent life.

Many composers and scholars think that the late compositions of Gesualdo, specifically his last two books of madrigals, are the artistic reflection of his soul. A soul tormented for having murdered his wife and her lover. The texts turn out to be a genuine musical biography. Thus, his music is full of resources for highlighting the meaning of words. The so called madrigalisms produce really dramatic and expressive music.

This is what Stravinsky said about the music of Gesualdo:

'The difference between silence and sound, darkness and light, summer and winter was then more present than in our lives. Modern cities barely know about silence or pure darkness, or the effect of a solitary light or a scream in the distance'.

Therefore, guided by experts in ancient music, Ciklus Ensemble has arranged four music pieces making them suitable for his instrumental line up. More specifically, a motet and three pieces of the sixth book of madrigals. Each text bears a poetic allegory and is linked with the life of Gesualdo. The motet Peccantem me quitidie (1603), which means 'I have sinned', shows the fear of death of a sinner and pleads for God to have mercy. The madrigals Se la mia morte brami (1613), 'if you desire my death', and Io parto e non piú dissi (1613) make a clear reference to the controversy about the murders, whereas Moro, lasso, al mio duolo (1613), 'I die, alas, in my suffering', represents the suffering of Gesualdo about what, in his opinion, he was forced to do.

In their setlist, Ciklus Ensemble alternates the motet and madrigals with music of contemporary composers, who developed their work during the 20th century.

Their names are Franco Donatoni (1927-2000), Salvatore Sciarrino (1947) and Luciano Berio (1945-2003). The way Ciklus Ensemble interprets all these works is a perfect example of an individual sonorous corpus. A sonorous corpus that draws on a strong bound to musical tradition. The most important common link is the interest in works of other music periods. .

As with the compositions of Gesualdo, in which his turbulent life was evidenced, the works of Donatoni, Sciarrino and Berio are also a mirror of their souls. Maybe they are not as intimate as Gesualdo, but they are equally descriptive for the audience. Donatoni's Árpege (1986) is a sonorous puzzle, a game with different elements (what he called 'playful game of invention') that produces a strong contrast of sounds and atmospheres.

According to the composer himself:

'In this short piece for six instruments the material transforms to the point of a great density and the progressive disfiguration that culminates in the final silence'.

Silence, or the idea of silence, plays an important role in Lo spazio inverso (1985) by Salvatore Sciarrino. Lo spazio inverso is a great collage in which nothing is what it seems to be. All in all, it is a way to venture through form and sound. "I enter a sound world full of imagination", explains Sciarrino himself.

The setlist ends with O king (1968) by Luciano Berio. It was composed in memory of Martin Luther King after his murder in 1967. With a play of lights and shadows, the music piece discovers through the voice the name of the addressee of the work: Martin Luther King himself.

San Sebastián, March 2013. Ciklus Ensemble.



The leitmotiv of this setlist is Arnold Schoenberg, and in particular his work Pierrot Lunaire. In 2012, this music piece celebrated its 100th anniversary. The rest of the works and composers included in the setlist are very related to Schoenberg or with the sound world of his composition Pierrot Lunaire.

Bach, along with Mahler, Brahms and Wagner, had a profound influence on Schoenberg during his life. The music piece that opens up the setlist is Largo of the 'Sonata sopr'ill Soggetto Reale'. This piece is part of the Musical Offering, a collection of canons and fugues all based on a single musical theme by Frederick II of Prussia. Above one of the canons Bach wrote an enigmatic message in latin: Quaerendo invenietis ('seek and ye shall find'). We use this message to metaphorically represent how Schoenberg would years later use atonalism, and then dodecaphony.

The next music piece, Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen by Gutstav Mahler is, together with The Song of the Earth, the only two song cycles that Schoenberg arranged for a chamber group. Thus, these song cycles could be interpreted in Society for Private Music Performances, founded by Schoenberg in 1918. This society was created with the intention of offering new music works that Schoenberg and the people around him found significant, such as Debussy, Ravel, Pfitzner, j. Strauss or Mahler himself. Hence, this song cycle is included in our setlist as an example of the lied composition differences between Schoenberg and Mahler.

In order to approach to those who most influenced Schoenberg we include Wesendonck Lieder, a song cycle composed by Richard Wagner. It is a setting of poems by Mathilde Wesendonck, with whom Mahler was in love. These songs were initially composed for voice and piano alone. Wagner included two of the lieder that we interpret in his opera Tristan and Isolde: he used the V lied (Studie zu Tristan und Isolde; studies for Tristan and Isolde) in the second act of the opera. In this opera the harmony 'merges' towards the suspension of tonality, which Schoenberg would use years later.

And eventually we arrive to the "germ" of the concert, the 'degenerate cabaret' or 'black cabaret', as Pierrot Lunaire op. 21 by Arnold Schoenberg has been defined. In 2012, this work celebrated the centenary of its composition. Pierrot Lunaire is the response to the gigantic orchestras used by Wagner and Mahler. According to Pierre Boulez, Pierrot Lunaire has to be considered as a lied by Schubert, but, instead of being for voice and piano alone, composed for piano, flute, clarinet, violin, cello and voice.

As a curiosity, in this music piece Schoenberg uses the sprechensang, which is the famous spoken singing (Josquin DesPrez had already used this singing technique in his compositions for choir in the 16th centrury). Another important detail is the numerology, since Schoenberg had a keen interest in it. Numerology is present throughout all the composition: the name of the work is Three times seven poems from Albert Giraud's Pierrot Lunaire (which equals 21). These numbers (21, 7 and 3) are present in all the music work.

What is most important is that this music piece was influenced by the cabaret. It is known that Schoenberg directed in his youth a small orchestra that accompanied the famous cabaret Ueberbrettl, founded in Berlin by Ernst von Wolzogen. Schoenberg even composed short musical works to accompany the "reciters" of the cabaret. Nevertheless, what is remarkable is that the vocalist that commissioned and premiered Pierrot Lunaire was Albertine Zehme. Albertine had taken singing lessons, but she was far from being a professional vocalist.

After making through a family crisis and years of solitude, Schoenberg composed Pierrot Lunaire obsessively and in a really short time. The death of Mahler was also a big source of inspiration in the composing process. The personality of the piece is built on these feelings; frustration, rage and helplessness are perfectly reflected in Pierrot.

San Sebastián, Marzo 2012. Ciklus Ensemble.



MUSIC UNDER CONSTRUCTION is the name of the project that commissions compositions from young contemporary composers.

Ciklus Ensemble, established in late 2010, has as one of its objectives to spread new creations. Our commitment to young composers led to the idea of creating a permanent space in the ensemble where, each season, Ciklus would turn into a laboratory for both composers and the musicians of the ensemble. The musicians, through working with the composers, would be able to experiment and get to know their instruments more deeply. It was with this philosophy that "Music Under Construction" was born in early 2013. It is one of the most ambitious projects of Ciklus Ensemble.

The process of this project is simple. Each composer is assigned to one or various musicians; they are given the opportunity to work with the instrumentalists for a few months. During this time and until the end of the composition process, Ciklus Ensemble offers the possibility to experiment, to explore with the musicians as well as to experience their compositional progress with a committed instrumentalist.

Thus, Ciklus Ensemble supports young contemporary composers and offers them a space to continue developing as artists and, in particular, as composers. At the moment, thanks to the project "Music Under Construction", Ciklus Ensemble has released more than ten music works that contribute to enrich our musical literature.

San Sebastián. Marzo. 2013 Ciklus Ensemble