Three BurialsPablo Santiago Chin & Dalia Chin

, composer


Costa Rican born composer Pablo Santiago Chin revels in bracing timbral experimentation and an expressivity ranging from ethereal to strident. As the artistic director of Chicago based Fonema Consort, he oversaw production on the powerful New Focus release that also included some of his compositions, Pasos en Otra Calle, and here presents his works for flute written in close collaboration with his sister, flutist and primary performer on the recording, Dalia Chin.


On “Three Burials,” Pablo Santiago Chin merges several aspects of his creative process to create an immersive, sensual recording chronicling his music for the flute, and featuring his sister and fellow member of Chicago based ensemble Fonema Consort, flutist Dalia Chin. The centerpiece of the program is the title work itself, a three movement piece that includes movements that can be heard either in solo versions, as they open and close the recording, or in ensemble settings, as they are heard in tracks 4-6. The material in Three Burials is generated from a transcription of Peruvian indigenous flute music to the modern flute. Pablo asked Dalia to transcribe this material in a natural and non-literal way to the modern flute, and then subjected it to further manipulation and distortion, resulting in the multiphonics laden material that can be heard in the opening solo flute track. In the ensemble setting of Three Burials, the insistent, almost desperate quality of the quasi vertical flute sonorities manifests itself in prismatic textures spread through the ensemble, as guitar and piano punctuate the texture with percussive snaps, plucks, and creaks, and cello and double bass offer sighing glissandi and grinding dissonances. The second movement of the ensemble work is without flute, and yet echoes the searching quality of the solo version, as it circles around poignant central pitches. In the final movement of the quintet version, near the two minute mark, we hear the guitar suddenly intoning a familiar melancholy chord progression, a quote in fact from Ravel’s famous Pavane pour une infante defunte, while the flute continues to play anguished overblown passages. It is a remarkable moment for how naturally the tonal chords fit into the gestural, non-harmonic context, but not surprising as Chin’s expressive vocabulary is in fact often romantic and elegiac, despite the contemporary materials and sound vocabulary. In the Form of a Shell for orchestra and flute soloist gives us an opportunity to hear Chin’s deft orchestrational hand, as a trajectory from dense and active to sparse and static in the flute part is reversed in the orchestra, suggesting a slow burial of the soloist by the encroaching mass of the ensemble. Inside the Shell also engages with spacialization concerns in live performance, as the orchestra is arranged in spirals around the soloist, reflecting the organization of the orchestration through the piece. Libros de Marc and Inside the Shell I and II are solo pieces both born out of the material for the larger flute and orchestra work, Inside the Shell, reasserting the internal links between the generative process that connects many of the pieces on this recording. Como la leyenda de Ixquiq was originally written for the flute duo of Claire Chase and Eric Lamb from the International Contemporary Ensemble, and echoes Chin’s interest in spacialized performance. As the register of the individual parts expands over the course of the work, the performers spread away from each other to the edges of the stage, mirroring the expansion of the pitch range in their physical proximity to each other. On “Three Burials”, we hear Pablo Santiago Chin’s rich sense of color, the depth of his interest in unique and probing collaborative processes, and a powerfully emotional musical voice that speaks through disembodied extended techniques as clearly as through quotes from the traditional repertoire. Dalia Chin’s performance is virtuosic and deeply felt throughout, making this album a special one both for its familial collaboration and for the artistic commitment it displays.

- D. Lippel

Recorded at Experimental Sound Studio (ESS) (tracks 1, 3, 7-9), Eugene O'Neill Theater (track 2), Constellation Chicago (tracks 4-6)

Producer: Pablo Santiago Chin

Engineer: Alex Iglizian (tracks 1, 3, 7-9), Carlos "Pipo" Chavez (track 2), David Zuchowski (tracks 4-6)

Mastering: Chris Mercer

Dalia Chin

Dalia Chin, Costa Rican flutist based in Chicago dedicates a large part of her artistic work to expand the possibilities and contemporary repertoire for the flute. She has worked closely with renown composers like Julio Estrada, James Dillon and Mesias Maiguashca, and has premiered works by emerging composers like Joan Arnau Pàmies, Francisco Castillo Trigueros, Amadeus Regucera and Dai Fujikura. Besides being a member of the Chicago Composers Orchestra (CCO) and the What is Noise Ensemble, Chin is a founding member of Fonema Consort. Chin has participated in important festivals in the USA and Mexico, including the Ear Taxi Festival, Frequency Festival, Latino Music Festival of Chicago, Omaha Under the Radar, Permutations Series, Visiones Sonoras and Festival Internacional Chihuahua.

Pablo Santiago Chin

The music of Pablo Chin, a Costa Rican composer based in Chicago, engages with self-designed methods that aid in generating sophisticated polyphony, and that reveal unforeseen musical trajectories. These methods derive from the composer’s concerns with the role of calculation and intuition in his work. Recent works draw inspiration from the narratives of film and literature, phonetic structures in text, and the exploration of iconic Latin rhythms and metrical spaces.

Chin’s music has been performed in 11 countries and across the U.S. states. He has been commissioned by Ensemble Recherche, International Contemporary Ensemble, members of the Anubis Quartet, the MAVerick Ensemble, Chicago Humanities Festival, Latino Music Festival of Chicago, Claremont Concert Orchestra and ensemble dal niente among others. His music has also been performed by artists including Ostravská Banda, Donatienne Michel-Dansac, Pierre-Stéphane Meugé, Marino Formenti, Claire Chase, Eric Lamb, Gan Lev and Marcus Weiss.

Chin earned his doctoral degree in composition from Northwestern University, where he has been awarded the Cacavas Award, William T. Faricy Award, and William Karlins Award. There he studied with Hans Thomalla, Jay Alan Yim, and Aaron Cassidy. In master classes he has worked with Richard Barrett, Oliver Knussen, Chaya Czernowin, and Kaija Saariaho among others. His music has been commissioned for and performed in prestigious international festivals of new music, including the 45th and 46th Summer Courses for New Music in Darmstadt, Ostrava Days 2009, and Centre Acanthes 2011. Currently Chin teaches theory, aural skills and composition at Saint Xavier University, and is co-founder and artistic director of Fonema Consort. Chin was recently awarded the Dotacion Musical from Costa Rica’s ACAM, to fund the production of his first album, to be released in the Spring of 2014.

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