“Bladed Stance” by Marcos Balter

I found a new composer today named Marcos Balter. Born in 1974 in Brazil, he’s been a musician his whole life. Read more about him here.

Balter’s compositional style is characteristic of 21st century composers in that it’s exploratory and unique. He makes new and colorful sounds through various extended techniques, unlikely instrumentation, and complex rhythm. Bladed Stance (2013), for example, is scored for flute, clarinet, trumpet, violin, viola, and cello, yet Balter makes each instrument sound new and fresh. The pulse changes with each entrance, but there is a continuity through color and rhythm that I think is incredible. Each second features a new musical idea that somehow ties into the previous sounds. And the string players whistle sometimes! (He also uses electronics to create some aural illusions. You can read more here.)

*Side note: the term “bladed stance” refers to a combat posture that allows one to block, move, and defend oneself easily. Why did Balter choose to name this seemingly tranquil work after a fight pose?

Here’s a video of Bladed Stance performed live (you can totally see the whistling if you watch the string players):


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