Carlos Chavez Obertura Republicana
Carlos Chavez’s Obertura Republicana is a politically motivated piece for orchestra. The piece is specifically based off of Mexico’s Indian heritage. The piece involves an arrangement of a traditional military march titled Zacatecas, the famous salon waltz, Club Verde and the revolutionary piece, La Adelita. After a few listens, I must say, it’s a loud, bombastic, march-like, Mexican sounding piece. To me there is no question of its national ties. I made a point to listen to a 1935 recording of the Mexico State Symphony.
Carlos Chavez Sinfonia India
In Carlos Chavez’s Sinfonia India, he makes a point to use actual themes he researched from the Huichol Indians of the state of Nayarit, the Yaqui Indians of Sonora, and a Seri melody for the finale. In this piece, Carlos Chavez makes a point to include an obscure native percussion instrument called the “Yaqui”. He makes a point to use various mixed meters (5/8 2/4 and 5/8 3/4). The colors that Carlos manages to get out of the orchestra, particularly through meter and percussion, are different than anything I’ve heard, yet he manages to keep it tied to understandable western music.
Alberto Ginastera Danzas Argentinas
Alberto Ginastera’s Danzas Argentinas is some of the most popular piano literature in Argentina. He uses many folk based rhythms and virtuostic content to portray what he had researched and grew up knowing as the Argentinian musical style. His first dance is based upon an Argentinian rhythm of the malambo, which is a solo male dance to show off virtuosic tap-dancing skills. The third dance is based upon music that is similar to that of malambo, but at a faster tempo and with fragments of Argentine folk music. Although at times the faster malambo dance music can be tough to follow at times (probably due to my own influences), I absolutely love the slower content. It’s lyrical, yet has a hint of chromaticism and syncopation.
Alberto Ginastera Sonata for Guitar op.47
Alberto Ginastera had realized that much guitar repertoire up to that point was very ununiformed and just consisted of small fragments of music. As a result, he decided to compose his Sonata for Guitar, which is made up of four concise movements. He adds percussion effects on top of lyrical melodies and experiments with different types of glissandi, whether it be on chords or individual notes. Although the piece uses many extended techniques, it manages to maintain a cohesive form and is easy to follow to the end. He manages to tell a story through the various sounds of the guitar, and the story is whatever the listener makes of it.
Henry Cowell The Banshee
Henry Cowell enjoyed experimenting with extended techniques on the piano and finding ways of incorporating them into his various works. The Banshee uses elements of Irish mythology to tell the story of a female spirit who alerts a family of an upcoming death by making wailing sounds at the family’s home. To represent these wailing...