You may click on the MP3 audio samples below or right click and save them to your hard drive for your reference. Each selection is a two to three minute sample of Elena Martin's original compositions. (If Quicktime is installed on your computer the tracks will automatically begin to play with a left mouse click. Download Quicktime for free.)
The Duo's Own Compositions
After years of transcribing other composers’ music, and having become extremely intimate with the technical and musical characteristics of two-piano music, I decided to materialize a powerful wish I had had about writing my own music, which had been brewing for years within me. I see this as a natural consequence and artistic step stemming from my previous work on other composers' music. I find myself in an extraordinary creative time of my life.
The work I did with the transcriptions served me very well, to the point that I feel like music is streaming right out of my mind into the score with great ease, as in already in a wholesome state, in a fashion which barely requires any additional rework. I believe this is the result of a great deal of soul searching, as well as a refinement of my ability to process greater amounts of information. I did not make a conscious decision about writing, I just simply started writing one day, and have not stopped since, and I interpret this as a spiritual need which defines my new path as an artist as well as a human being.
Although my own voice comes out in my compositions, it is undeniable that there is a thread between the Spanish composers I have recorded before--Albeniz, Falla, Granados, Padre Soler, Rodrigo--and my own musical style. As a Spaniard myself, my musical heritage informs and inspires my own musical language. I feel like my work is done with transcribing and I am fully embracing a much more fulfilling task, where I get to let my imagination and creativity work in order to express my emotions and communicate with the public in a completely natural way.
Description of Some of My Latest Works
At the beginning of the piece, a young girl enters a world of enchantment in which nature shows its most beautiful attributes. The lush vegetation, soft air, and spring afternoon' s sun attract her into the labyrinth formed by the vegetation. As the piece progresses, she slowly begins feeling the anxiety and suspense which come with the realization that as she walks deeper into the labyrinth she will only become more entrapped in it. Yet she maintains such feelings of wonder and contentment in what surrounds her that she embraces this state of fear and uncertainty with pleasure. This could be a metaphor of how suffering does not need to be eradicated by the person experiencing it, but rather embraced, as one gathers inner resources which eventually bring joy to that experience. It is a prism of different views, just as many as can be observed during the stroll through the labyrinth.
I had been meaning to write a Spanish flavored piece, and the result is very Spanish! In this piece I combine several Andalusian forms, I wrote it so that it could be danced by Flamenco dancers.
As its name indicates, with this piece I am describing the intensity of a tempest, with all its grandious beauty and power. I had the pleasurable experience of finding very accurate technical devices to describe the shapes and movements the waves take under such powerful forces, while conveying the awe that provokes in me to witness such magical earth phenomenon. I enjoyed maintaining a high degree of tension, to convey how the ocean water's power is generated by even stronger forces.Listen now
As in a dream, I was struck by the images of two gypsies sitting by a fire, a candela, in the darkness, one clapping: one..two..three, one..two..three; the other answering: one..two..three, one..two..three in exact tempo, and then the most beautiful melody, reminiscent of Moorish times in Spain, came to me. Using that rhythm pattern, the music began to flourish as if possessed by Duende, the Flamenco force which inspires all involved in the making of Flamenco music and dance. José and I truly felt the visit of Duende while performing this piece; it was a beautiful moment.Listen now
This piece celebrates the willingness we adults can choose to have to preserve a sense of innocence in our daily lives. Our first innocence is our innate one, the innocence we are born with and have as children; the second innocence is the one we choose to be a part of our lives, and the one I refer to in this piece. This piece is dedicated to all those who choose that spiritual path.Listen now
Loneliness can be a very powerful enemy. I personally think of the word solitude to define the moments I spend alone, but for many people, including a dear friend, it can turn into a very painful experience. My friend's account of her sense of loneliness felt so painful that, while thinking about her, the melody of this piece emerged with clarity and power. To this day, I associate this composition to the feelings she described. The title, of course, is Soledades, Loneliness.
As its name indicates, in this work I immerse myself in the delight of composing one very romantic theme, in E Flat Major, then using it to make several short variations, there being a thread of emotional intensity and light among all of them. This light which I feel while composing it prevents me from exploring a minor key, I feel like this piece needs to stay in a sunny mood, while it also has a certain melancolic nuance to it.Vals (Waltz)
In this piece I try to convey the fun and the pleasure dancing a Waltz brings, thanks to its delicate rhythmic balance. I use a great deal of chromaticism to give it a sense of elegance and lightness, as in trying to make the two people involved in dancing it feel lighter and lighter.
This piece was inspired by a scene of my imagination; a market in Medieval Spain where spices, bread and wine are brought by carriages pulled by oxen crossing the wooded entrance of a castle. In the main court are various stands of merchants; Muslims, Jews, and Christians alike, living in harmony, at least until the Inquisition!Listen now
In Mi Mar (my sea), I wanted to depict the inner energy I was feeling during the time previous to beginning to compose, when I was still working on other composers’ music, and I was subconsciously gravitating to the day I wrote my first bars. Looking back, I was not aware at all of the meaning of that energy, but now I clearly know that this piece, which was my first one together with La Verbena, represents what I was transitioning to, as it alternates tranquil and bucolic early music style segments with tumultuous ones.Listen now
This was supposed to be a gift to my husband and two other friends also named Jose, dear childhood friends of ours who love Spanish music. I envisioned writing a pasodoble, a quintessential Spanish music form, which is festive and very rhythmic. I had planned that they would listen to it at the end of one of our endless dinners, which we religiously have each time we visit Spain. As I wrote the first rhythmic structures, simultaneously I became bombarded by Argentinean harmonies, which at the beginning became a nuisance, but which, after a few days, made me give up on the purely Spanish pasodoble per se and I decided to let it in and make it part of the rhythmic entrails that had already started without my permission. The result, which ended up captivating me and making me enjoy really happy days and feel great mischievousness and desires to dance anywhere I was, is a fun work, which can be danced as well as a pasodoble. But of course I still owe the three Joses a real one!Listen now
After having looked for me for the last years on the Internet, a childhood friend from Spain contacted me a few months ago. The experiences that we together shared as children, and our constant correspondence sharing the experiences which have taken place during all these years of long hiatus in our friendship, provoked in me a number of emotions I thought buried, as not only I was rememorating my past in childhood, but also my past in Spain, before I moved to the United States many years later. Añoranzas (roughly translated as yearning or longing) is a bittersweet expression of the emotions that this new and old friendship has aroused in me. I have yet to send it to her and see whether she sees her emotions described in the music as well.Listen now
This is a fun moment of summer thoughts of diversion, playing in the water, resting in a hammock, a short piece with a very simple premise! I am paying tribute to Brazil in this Brazilian samba and to Argentina in The Enigma from Buenos Aires and Argentinian Pasodoble, as there is an inexorable music link between Spain and Latin America.Listen now
In this romantic piece, I wanted to describe the luminosity of love as opposed to the passionate moments of love as they alternate in any relationship. I believe this piece has become of quite a classic nature; it would seem to have been composed in the Nineteenth Century, composed in classic simplicity and structural solidness.Listen now
This is a work with Spanish style. I decided to depict a verbena, which is a night gathering where members of a regional community or of a neighborhood celebrate during a few days a year, coinciding with the Catholic Church's calendar, their local religious patron, with all kinds of activities during the day, culminating with a dance, a Verbena, at night, to the sounds, among other things, of pasodobles. These verbenas are now mostly enjoyed by older people who grew up with more regional music than younger people. Still everybody participates, and the soul of the people of each land is found there.Mi Desierto Español (My Spanish Desert)
And in this piece, which definitely can be danced as a "Zapateado", I choose an even more rhythmic pattern, while using the powerful characteristics of the Arab scale. We love playing this piece as an encore!