Aris Antoniades (b. 1991)
The Ritual is a fantasia based on Greek folk rhythms and idioms. The piece tries to musically depict the experience of a traveler who witnesses a pagan ritual. The strange ceremony takes place around a bonfire at a cold and distant mountain settlement. Masked people burst into a frenzy of dance and ecstatic priests pray to their gods. As the ritual progresses, the traveler’s mind becomes misty. Soon he transcends reality and enters a strange world—a world of dreams, a world of fantasy. There he discovers hidden spiritual treasures that will change his life forever. Finally, his spirit gets pulled back into his body while the natives continue their dance and end the ritual. The piece combines heterophonic dance elements (representing the secular part of the ritual) with strict contrapuntal writing, including a double canon (representing transcendence and the spiritual world).
Alberto Ginastera / Fernán Silva Valdés
Carlos Guastavino / León Benarós
These songs were created by three important composers from Argentina: Ginastera, who also wrote operas and ballets; Guastavino, known as the “Argentinean Schumann”; and Gustavo Leguizamón, one of the most important composers of popular music.
The Shannon Suite is one of the first pieces written by Irish composer Ciarán Farrell and was originally recorded by John Feeley. The Shannon is Ireland’s longest river and has three lakes: Lough Allen, Lough Ree, and Lough Derg. The Lough Allen movement has distinct Irish features such as the rhythmic strumming and modal melodies. The flowing harmonics that feature prominently throughout the work represent the moving water.
Rebecca E. Smith
(Text adapted from Dante's Inferno)
Feast is a suite for Pierrot ensemble inspired by the sculpture Ugolino and His sons by French artist Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, currently at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Pisan count Ugolino della Gherardesca, condemned to die of starvation, yields to the temptation to devour his children and grandchildren who cry out to him. This suite adapts the text from Dante Alighieri’s Inferno, Canto 33, of The Divine Comedy, setting it in a way that plays with the idea of empathy in the face of horror.
- Adapted by R. E. Smith and Gianmarco E. Saretto from Dante's
Inferno, Canto 33
Huiran Wang (b. 1936)(arr. Yuda Deng)
Dance of the Yi People is one of the most popular solo compositions for the pipa, a four-stringed pear-shaped fretted lute that is one of the primary traditional musical instruments of China. Dance of the Yi People was composed in the 1960s by Chinese composer Huiran Wang. Tonight's performance of the piece is of an arrangement by Yuda Deng. The composition is presumably based on the traditional music of the Yi people in southern China.
Manuel De Falla (1876-1946)
(arr. Ana García, 2014)
El paño moruno
Manuel de Falla, born in 1876 in Cádiz, was one of Spain’s leading musicians of the early twentieth century, along with Joaquín Turina, Joaquin Rodrigo, and Enrique Granados. Falla studied piano with José Trago at the Madrid Conservatory, winning first prize in piano in 1899, and composition with Felipe Pedrell, briefly trying his hand at zarzuela, guided by composer Amadeo Vives. From 1907 to 1914 he studied and worked in Paris, where he met and was influenced by the Impressionist French composers Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel.
Among his compositions are Noches en los jardines de España (Nights in the Gardens of Spain) for piano and orchestra; his opera La vida breve; the ballets El amor brujo and The Three-Cornered Hat; Concerto for harpsichord and 7 instruments; and music for guitar. He left unfinished his oratorio Atlantis, which was completed by his disciple Ernesto Halffter.
In 1939, after Franco’s victory in the Spanish Civil War, Falla left Spain for Argentina in protest against the dictatorial regime. He refused to return and died on November 14, 1946 in Alta Gracia, Argentina.
Siete Canciones Populares Españolas (Seven Spanish Folksongs)
Falla originally wrote these songs for voice and piano in 1914, during the last months of his stay in Paris. In 1915, the soprano Luisa Vela gave the first performance of them in Madrid, with Falla as pianist. Though the premiere was a failure, the songs soon acquired enormous popularity.
Falla commented in an article on his use of elements of popular song:
I have tried to extract from them the rhythm, modality, their characteristic lines and decorative motifs, their modulating cadences....I modestly think that in popular song, the spirit matters more than the letter.... I will even say more: the rhythmic and harmonic accompaniment of a popular song is as important as the song itself. Therefore, the inspiration must be taken directly from the people.
The seven songs are genuine art songs, exquisitely modulated, with deep roots in popular culture. With melodic lines drawn
from folklore, and modified to a greater or lesser extent, the songs’ apparent simplicity hides thorough and skillful harmonic
and rhythmic textures. Inspired by the different regions of Spain, the songs are a balanced set, each one a piece in the
mosaic. Dedicated to Ida Godovska, they were not published until 1922 but spread rapidly due to their enormous success.
Siete canciones populares Españolas
is widely performed not only in its original version for voice and piano but also in other arrangements. It is available
in versions for orchestra, violin and piano, violin and orchestra, cello and piano, and solo piano. The formats of solo voice
or instrument with guitar accompaniment are widely performed as well. With its beautiful Spanish melodies, dynamic rhythms,
and rich harmonies, this music is beloved not only by singers but by instrumentalists as well.
The version to be performed at this concert is a brand new transcription for voice, saxophone, piano, and flamenco dancer
arranged by Ana García Caraballos in late 2014. This work will be published later this year.