MARIO LAVISTA (b.1943): Stabat Mater for Chorus and Cello Ensemble (Contemporary Vocal Ensemble and Cello Octet of Indiana University), Salmo for Soprano and Double Bass (Lourdes Ambriz [soprano], Luis Antonio Rojas [double bass]), Lamento a la memoria de Raúl Lavista for Bass Flute (Marielena Arizpe), Responsorio “In Memoriam Rodolfo Halffter” for Bassoon, 2 Bass Drums and 4 Tubular Bells (Wendy Holdaway [bassoon], Ricardo Gallardo, Alonso Mendoza [percussion]).
Catalogue Number: 01R059
Label: Tempus Classico
Description: The setting of the Stabat Mater is powerful and emotionally intense. Lavista makes use of Renaissance contrapuntal techniques and intervals and harmonies that sound strange, though not abrasively dissonant, to modern ears, to lend the work an oddly alien, unfamiliar quality. The intricate counterpoint between the choir and the ensemble of cellos, often playing extended passages in a strained, ethereal texture of harmonics only, adds to the astringent quality of the language and highlights its lamenting quality and freedom from comfort inherent in the text. Salmo sets a psalm of praise exhorting the use of a myriad musical instruments of antiquity, but as an in memoriam piece for a deceased friend and colleague it shares a quality of lament, or at least of mystery and ritual with the Stabat Mater. The combination of scordatura tuned contrabass playing uninterrupted drones throughout and four crotales, alongside extended-technique inflections of the soaring vocal line lends an atmosphere of archaic, arcane ritual to the piece. Lamento was written in 1981 in memory of Lavista's uncle, also a composer and an early influence. The music draws ethereal, intimate sounds from the bass flute with extensive use of multiphonics in the second part; the long, flowing melodic lines emphasise several intervals with symbolic intent, the first part suggesting a lament for the dead, the second a meditation on the intangible spiritual realm. Responsorio is an imaginary funeral procession, in memory of Lavista's teacher Rodolfo Halffter. The bassoon's lyrical line, augmented by extended techniques, is desolate; the drums mark the funereal rhythm, in combination with the tolling bells of some lonely Mexican village church in the work's second part.