Introduction to the Composers Catalogue,
SGAE-Fundación Autor, Madrid, 1998.
Eduardo Polonio stands as both a stimulus and an example for those
working with electronic technology in music in Spain: someone who has
been able to devote his entire career as a composer to creating with
electro-acoustic means with honesty and profundity, giving up composition
for traditional instruments by his own free will. That in itself is
a stimulus for younger generations, in that interest in Polonio’s
output alone serves to justify him as a “symphonic” composer
–employing the somewhat debateable terminology currently in use–
who has never been drawn to the “obligatory” instruments
of Western tradition, such as the string quartet or the orchestra.
In this case, the above was not a result of a deficiency in his academic
training; on the contrary, Polonio’s education was very solid.
Nor was his decision a consequence of having been brought up in an excessively
technologically environment, since in 1970 only the Laboratorio Alea
in Madrid offered Spanish composers of the period possibilities which
in other European countries –France, Germany, Italy– were
already a reality nearly two decades earlier. Eduardo Polonio was, above
all, a pioneer in this field in this country: as a member of the Grupo
Alea Música Electrónica Libre, the first Spanish live
electronic-music group, together with De Pablo and Vaggione; as one
of the fundamental references of the Laboratorio Phonos in Barcelona
since 1976, in addition to being a founding member and President of
the Asociación de Música Electroacústica de España
from 1988 to 1994.
But this publication is devoted to his output, and it is his output
which justifies the general admiration which led to him receiving the
“Magisterium” in the Bourges International Electro-Acoustic
Music Prize in 1994. A completely unique output, without any stylistic
debts of any kind, which on numerous occasions has gone beyond recording
tape in order to dialogue with space and concerns from the visual arts:
his collaborations with video artists, painters, experimental film makers,
sculptors and set designers, as well as incursions into the installation
genre, are testimony to this.
If the dichotomy between synthetic and concrete sounds serves for something
more than the already-stated importance within a taxonomy of sound objects
of electro-acoustic works, it must be noted that Polonio has been more
inclined to use these on a secondary basis. But that is not to say that
he has sought pure neo-instrumental beauty with these synthetic sounds,
nor that he has put concrete sound aside, incorporating then with the
same coherence and solvency in his works on many occasions. Rather,
Polonio’s music could be defined as the search for a result in
which no sound source is excluded a priori, but in each case he assembles
them giving prime importance to a global pulse, or form, if you will,
which is delicately orchestrated. His creased sonorities, such a defining
characteristic of his style, sonorities at times bordering on a certain
kind of “pop” (his LP Bload Stations/Syntax Error is a good
example of this), give way on other occasions to very lyrical moments,
in which the constructive rigour is no less accentuated (his opera Uno
es el Cubo is representative in this sense).
Polonio has used absolute music and more-or-less programmatic works
alternatively, for the theatre and radio. Reference to his opera is,
once again, obligatory here, given the no-small feat of combining more
than an hour of instrumental music, which sounds are recorded on a CD,
and texts sung live in which theories about the cosmos by Kepler, Tycho
Brahe and other great scholars and astronomers are expounded. This leads
us to another of the composer’s obsessions: his passion for mathematics.
In the sphere of the radio, for now, his reference work is Hoy comemos
con Leonardo, in which concrete sounds of an industrial origin are stylised
serving as material which introduces a selection of apocryphal texts
by Da Vinci about cookery. The musical and narrative capacity of these
sounds act as a changing reality in the piece, which also reflects another
of Polonio’s great qualities as a musician and a human being:
his singular and delicious sense of humour.
José Iges, 1998