A Book-Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra
by Marián Budoš
Written for classical guitarist
Inspired by the million-copy best-selling novel
Jo Confesso (Confessions) by Jaume Cabré
About Adrià's Confessions
Adrià's Confessions (2020) is a book-concerto for guitar and orchestra written by the award-winning composer Marián Budoš (Australia/Slovakia).
This concerto is the result of art inspiring art across cultures, languages and mediums. After reading the celebrated multi-award winning, literary masterpiece Confessions by the Catalonian novelist Jaume Cabré, Marián Budoš was so deeply impacted by the story, that it sparked within him the need to create a sound world for this book. This became the foundation for a unique piece of music, a book-concerto for guitar and orchestra.
The book, Confessions, is described by the literary agent in symphonic terms, saying “...an instant bestseller in more than 30 languages, Confessions
is an astonishing story of one man's life, interwoven with a narrative that stretches across centuries to create an addictive and unforgettable literary symphony.” (Agencia Balcells)
A book transformed into music
Adrià's Confessions is a unique and expansive piece of music which doesn't follow the typical form, or structure of an instrumental concerto. Described by the composer as a book-concerto, the piece is more like a musical retelling of a literary classic, with the main characters from the book assigned an instrument to allow them to communicate with each other, as they do in the novel: Adrià's best friend - the violin, the love interest - the harp, the mother - the oboe, the father - the bassoon, etc. The characters of the book often play solo, or with other instruments, usually in a duet, trio, or quartet, sometimes supported by the orchestra (especially the string section) and sometimes on their own. The guitar (Adrià) is the protagonist and interacts with other characters most frequently.
In the retelling of such a vast novel that spans Europe across several centuries, the composer has cleverly imagined a soundtrack to the book that, page by page, follows the characters, the plot and the emotions of the story. As with all great works of art, even if you've not read the book, the music is approachable, with a rich orchestration - big brass, lush strings, colorful winds and such memorable melodies that the audience can't help but be swept up on an epic journey of their own imagining. The composition is so communicative as to not require the audience´s familiarity with the text. However, those that have read the book will be amazed at how clearly they can follow the dialogue and delight in reliving storylines of love and betrayal, and good and evil, told through harmonies and melodies.
The piece starts with a prologue and acknowledgment of the composer in the form of the Cabré Fugue. Spelling out the author's surname and inspired by J.S. Bach's Little Fugue in G minor, this fugue also introduces the book's principal characters.
After introducing the instruments and acknowledging the author, the concerto then follows the book's story page by page, with the 7 subsequent movements, named after the chapters in the novel, telling a story which glides effortlessly between centuries, and at the same time providing a powerful narrative that is at once shocking, compelling, mysterious, tragic, and humorous. The length of each individual movement is carefully calculated to reflect the number of pages of each chapter, the piece of music mirroring the book's structure, length and complexity.
The novel is a complex masterpiece and uses unique literary devices such as: jumping centuries or changing from 1st to 3rd person mid-sentence, changing from direct to reported speech, or two stories unfolding at the same time, thus creating a unique reading experience, as pointed out and praised by literary critics. There are a number of such literary devices that the composer carefully translates into a musical language, such as sudden changes of instruments mid-phrase, key-changes or two melodies ‘melting' into one, without making the work too disjointed – because even if the listener has not read the book, it is still an interesting work to be enjoyed just on its musical merits alone.
The whole piece lasts around 57 minutes, encapsulating the magnitude of this intriguing novel written over 700-odd pages. Filled with surprises and emotional rollercoasters, it tells a story that embraces 500 years of European history - from the Inquisition to Auschwitz - and touches the darkest and the most loving parts of the human psyche, with characters that are complex, and incredibly appealing. The audience finds themselves drawn into and captivated by Jaume Cabré's world, not being able to turn away until the final page has been turned and the final note has fallen silent.
If you would like more information about the future of this piece, please contact Laura Karney for a full Prospectus.
Australian guitarist Jacob Cordover gave the premiere performance in 2021 at the iconic Palau de la Música concert hall in Barcelona with the Orquestra del Reial Cercle Artistic under the baton of Helena Bayo.