The work ‘Saving Lives’, from the composer Jorge Salgueiro, was written at the request of PwC Portugal in the context of the Excellens Mare Awards, with the purpose of recognising the merit of all the people and entities that contribute to the saving of lives at sea, as well as to alert to the nurturing of safe practices and behaviours whenever there is interaction with the sea.
It is Jorge Salgueiro’s opus 230 and was composed for symphony band, choir, recorded sounds and theremin over February and March 2016.
The piece was structured in four parts and lasts fifteen-and-a-half minutes. The choir is divided in to two parts: one sings in English, the other in Portuguese. Aside from the structural and physical division, of the choir, there are two more elements which contribute to the depth of sound: a recording of surround sound and an off-stage presence of tubular bells and theremin. The first seeks to give the audience the sensation of finding themselves within a sea of sound; the second opening the space to the presence of instruments, conferring greatness in the sense of the breadth of the piece’s sound.
The first part has a duration of five minutes and is entitled, A VIDA COMEÇOU NO MAR... THE SEA IS LIFE! And is dominated by an image of an ancestral sea, a primeval sea that gave life on earth. Musically, it is a more textural moment of the work, based in a series of harmonies, as an analogy to the beginning of all creation, where the series of harmonies is as if it were the DNA of the beginning of sound matter in the melodious plan. Flutes introduce this material with Whisper Tones that transform themselves into melodies and reappear in their most pure form in the harmonies of the metals, The choirs sing, : “A vida começou no mar. Mar é vida. Life originated in the oceans. The Sea is life”.
The second part is called MAS... YOU HAVE TO RESPECT THE SEA! and has a duration of two-and-a-half minutes. The two choirs provoke a dialogue, drawing attention to the fact that, despite all its beauty and immensity, the sea must be respected. We can directly understand this respect as the care we must take for our safety every time we interact with the sea; but, there is also the understanding that we should act to ensure its preservation as the inheritance of Humanity. Musically, the rhythms and melodies are contaminated by rap, the urban pop music vehicle frequently used to pass social and political messages.
The third part of the work lasts five-and-a-quarter minutes and is called HÁ UMA NOITE EM CADA MAR, YOU MUST BE PREPARED! and is the moment during which we are confronted with the insuperable and unpredictable force of nature and with the necessity to be appropriately prepared for every occasion at sea. The line that is sung “There is night on every sea, take the sun to bring light” says just this, that there is always the possibility of danger and the sun is nothing more than consciousness and the need to be careful “You must be prepared”. Musically, I experimented with a model that seems to be new and gives the Maestro rhythmic diversity instead of being subject to the subdivision and increase of rhythmic figures. The Maestro will need to make seventeen changes of time in this section and it should be mentioned that I was also encouraged by the competence of the Maestro that has made the first performance of this work, Délio Gonçalves.
SAY... SALVAMENTO! Is the name of the section that takes up the final two-and-three-quarter minutes of the work. I used the deconstruction of the word that gives its name to the work as the basis of the lyrics, making the word acquire new significances: Sal... Salva... Salvame... Salvamento! And allowing the English choir to liberate this word/ happening: Say! Say! Say!, finishing with “Saving Lives”. Obviously, “Say” is also the result of the same process of deconstruction from “Saving”. This final section sets out to find the words of Dr. Miguel Marques, “The sensation that should be left with everyone is a sensation of positivity and well-being… of animation and positive energy.” I also hope that it gives all of us the animation to navigate not only at sea, but also permanently in our lives, with happiness and positive energy.