Looking for the clave


Premiered at Sheldon Concert Hall, St. Louis, Missouri

To be honest the coolest Haydn’s symphonies for me are the ones who have some kind of humor. He just got rid of that obligation of writing “serious” music and then tried to have fun. His outlet was humor. I also love when Shostakovich stops being so serious and then introduces a sick Russian dance in the middle of something and then you see crazy clowns jumping around—perhaps with an axe!—or cossacks dancing in a row. His outlet was somehow a pun on his own culture. Well, mine I guess is dance and all these Latin rhythms that I learned how to dance and to play and that I listened in every single bus (public transportation) in my hometown—and more cities in the country—and that I basically learned by obligation. To be more honest, I hated them when I was a teenager I was all against them! Years passed and I exorcized myself and now I love them because well, they are interesting and represent a lot of things from the culture and they have a lot of musical value.

This piece was written for a particular concert on the Sheldon Concert Hall in St. Louis and it was premiered by members of the St. Louis Orchestra. The topic was Latin American music and I was in the middle of Piazzolla and Villalobos in the program—how about that?—and happily, Leo Brouwer was not in the program because his string music is my inspiration, so what would have I done? The piece was demanding for the performers because Latin music syncopation takes some time to marinate in the brain, in spite of that, they did a great job. This music is meant just to have fun. I don’t want to save the world from starvation, to set any political position, nor to evaluate human behavior or any of that shit we all composers like to do (we also need this kind of approach sometimes). This piece is all about “Alors on dance” (please check Stromae’s song!) because there is nothing else left to do. Shall we dance señorita?


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