In her 1937 essay, A Platform for the American Dance, choreographer Martha Graham stated that, “A dance reveals the spirit of the country in which it takes root. No sooner does it fail to do this than it loses its integrity and significance.” I believe that this statement also holds true for music, as well as other art forms. However, I also think that a dance (or a musical composition, and maybe even a painting or other work of visual art) reveals the spirit of the creator. As much as Graham’s dancing and choreography was considered distinctly American in style, it was also completely unique to her. Only Martha Graham, with her personal approach to movement and choreographic technique, could have made those dances. Given Graham’s extremely personal artistic interpretation of a culture, it makes perfect sense that composer Ramon Humet was drawn to her as a source of inspiration.
As with Graham’s choreography, Humet’s music displays a sense of gesture focused on contraction and release, thoughtfully balanced from start to finish. Every moment of music is highly focused, and each gesture rendered with sensitivity. The dramatic quality of Humet’s musical language is intense without being heavy or overbearing; in fact much of his music has a playful spirit. In addition, Humet’s music is also highly personal and expresses aspects of his own Catalan culture combined with his long-term passion for Japanese tradition. His sound world reveals the landscape of the region where he lives, as well as the intense yet often soft-spoken nature of the Catalan people, while his musical structures possesses a spare, delicate architecture that evoke images of Japanese gardens. As a large-scale work built from interleaved movements of two separate compositions—the Homenaje a Martha Graham song cycle and Interludis meditatius for shakuhachi and percussion quartet— the piece is a kind of dance in itself. The two compositions flow naturally together, creating a moving meditation full of rich and surprising sonic beauty.