GABRIELA ORTÍZ (b.1964): Elegía for Voices and Ensemble, Aroma foliado for String Quartet, Rio Bravo for Baritone, Violin and Crystal Cups, Rio de las mariposas for 2 Harps and Steel Drum, Atlas Pumas for Violin and Marimba.

Catalogue Number: 07P080

Label: Cambria

Reference: CD 1211

Format: CD

Price: $16.98

Description: Elegía is basically a miniature requiem, setting a half-dozen lines from different sections of the liturgy and very effectively encapsulating the mystery and ritual of the Mass as though in fragments of memory. Opening and closing over the solemn drumbeats of a stately cortège, the music progresses through shimmering textures suggesting perpetual light, and a powerfully dramatic Dies irae replete with thunderclaps. The music is fundamentally based in tonality, with refined and inventive polyphony in the vocal parts. Elusive memories also seem to be at play in the quartet, written for the Mozart 250th anniversary in somewhat Bartókian style and incorporating fragments of Mozart's K.575 quartet. Rio Bravo sets a poem by Mónica Sánchez Escuer concerning life in the desolate desert borderlands between Mexico and the USA. The voice intones an endless thread of melismatic melody, to which the violin provides a melancholy and expressive counterpoint, while the eerie, aquatic sound of rubbed crystal glasses suggests the glistening ribbon of the river that divides the desert. The attractive harp duet, with the unusual sonorities of the subtly employed steel drum, plays with memories of folk idioms in a colorful evocation of place and time. Atlas and Pumas turn out to be two soccer teams in lively opposition in two halves and half-time of an energetic match in which the instruments vie for supremacy in lively, equally matched athletic virtuosity. Southwest Chamber Music.

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