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Urrutiko urdin – azul de lontananza or “Distant Blue” – is a vibrant sonic landscape and a frame for remembrance composed for and dedicated to the Orquestra Sinfónica de Euskadi. The Spanish name lontananza (borrowed from Italian) uses pictorial language to describe the zone farthest away from the foreground. Blue, the fifth colour of the solar spectrum, is also an adjective for the hue of cloudless sky and the sea; it also stands for space and distance.
Yet within the framework of my personal experience, “Distant Blue” refers to an intimate place in my thinking, one which cradles fragments of moving reminiscences of summers I spent in Euskadi (the Basque country) in my youth: “Distant Blue,” like the blurred horizon between the sea and the sky – cielo immense caído de los cielos (“immense sky which fell from the heavens”), as the poet Rafael Alberti wrote – or as Gerhard Richter painted it in his extraordinary Seascape (Sea-Sea) in 1970.
In our composition, a fine, azure or ocean-blue underground over the sonic spectrum of the note A gradually produces small ripples or waves, stirred by the breeze on the ocean surface, which very suddenly turn into a starry sky (Bar 43, four and three – symbols of the unity of earth and heaven). A spiral motion returns us for a few moments to a space of reminiscence, of things already experienced, now shimmering like a reverberation of memories – but the gateways to those memories are closed and sealed by the fortissimo of the short coda.