The point of departure of Alias is the duality of outer and inner existence, here interpreted though the life,music and destiny of the Renaissance composer Carlo Gesualdo da Venosa (1560-1613). Alias is not, however, an attempt to illustrate the shifting identities of Gesualdo, but is rather, in a wider sense, inspired by thoughts on the relationship between the artist and the work of art.
Alias comprises two movements, the first of which is based upon the love song A Shepherd in a Shade by John Dowland (1562-1626), a contemporary of Gesualdo. The phrase “Restore, restore my heart again / Which love by thy sweet looks hath slain” has been destructured, processed and reprocessed into a series of linearly produced variations. The traditional lute part has been strongly stylized into a chord formed by the note
The second movement is an attempt to sketch a slightly surrealistic picture of what possibly could have been happening in the mind of the aging composer and uxoricide. This is accomplished thought the use of quotations from some of Gesualdo’s late motets, as well as by blending in the Dowland love song, now in its original form.
“… the music of Parmerud is as clear as glass, no matter if one speaks about pure electronic music or a combination of ‘normal’ instruments and electronics… His work Alias is probably the most beautiful piece of electroacoustic music ever composed…” — Tidskriften Musik (Stockholm, Sweden, 1994)
Alias was realized in 1990 at the composer’s studio in Gothenburg (Sweden) and premiered on May 13, 1990 at the Musikaliska Akademien in Stockholm (Sweden). The piece was commissioned by Kungliga Musikaliska Akademien (Royal Academy of Music). Thanks to Astrid Pernille Hartmann (recorded voice). Alias was awarded First Prize at the 19th Bourges International Electroacoustic Music Competition (France, 1991).