Tagged in: Flamenco

Cantala Women’s Choir perform El Paso de La Siguiriya at Lawrence University on May 28

cantata.jpg

The Cantala Women’s Choir of the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music will perform my El Paso de la Siguiriya, a flamenco-inflected setting for women’s voices of the poetry of Federico Garcia Lorca. Conducted by Phillip A. Swan, the choir will perform in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin on May 28 at 8PM.

This is the second performance of one of my works by Cantala. Last May, they performed my The Moon of the Floating World. Click on the link to hear a live recording of that performance.

El Paso de la Siguiriya

mca.jpg
I just received a recording from the Milwaukee Choral ArtistsFebruary 14 performance, directed by Sharon Hansen, of my El Paso de la Siguiriya, a flamenco-inflected setting for women’s voices of the poetry of Federico Garcia Lorca. Here’s an MP3.

El_Paso_De_La_Siguiriya     

I couldn’t have asked for a better soloist, in this case Rebecca Davies, who, to my ears, nailed the emotive power of singing in the flamenco style. Many thanks to Sharon Hansen!

Women’s chorus perfects each note

MUSIC REVIEW
Women’s chorus perfects each note
Choral Artists present powerfully varied concert

By Tom Strini of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Posted: Feb. 15, 2009

Sharon Hansen had an opinion about every last note at Saturday’s Milwaukee Choral Artists concert. The micro-managing conductor conveyed her opinions in clear, amazingly detailed gestures. They got instant, satisfying results from her 17 female singers.

It made no difference that Hansen, recovering from foot surgery, conducted from a wheelchair. The concentration and commitment on both sides was palpable in the cozy nave of St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Wauwatosa. Watching them interact is almost as great a pleasure as hearing the remarkable music they make.

Almost.

Their singing was intelligent and beautiful without fail throughout an engaging and varied program. Arrangements of two Debussy songs gave them a chance to do what they do best of all, which is tune and balance complex chords so finely that the harmonies glow like a sonic aurora borealis. Vaughan Williams’ “In Windsor Forest,” a substantial suite drawn from Shakespeare, showcased Hansen’s firm grasp of larger forms. “Old Devil Moon” and “That Old Black Magic” (smartly arranged by Choral Artist Paula Foley Tillen) showed that swing comes as naturally as anything to the MCA.

Music for a small women’s choir is little-known country for most of us, so MCA concerts also afford the pleasure of discovery. This time, the revelations were Alice Parker’s delicate, filigreed “A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Fairy Songs”; Eric Whitacre’s “She Weeps Over Rahoon,” a sensual setting of James Joyce, in which slithery vocal and English horn (nice work by Karli Larsen) lines overlap like serpents in love; and, most of all, Charles Griffin’s “El Paso de la Siguiriya,” on a dark, dreamy Federico Garcia Lorca poem.

“El Paso” is a flamenco a cappella fantasy with episodes of rhythmic clapping, melisma inflected in the Andalusian way and choruses in Spanish dance rhythms. Mezzo Rebecca Davies was ravishing in the solo that is the soul of this piece. She must have listened to a great deal of flamenco singing to prepare; she was at once elegant and earthy.

Much of the choral work in “El Paso” is in free rhythm. Hansen shaped it with a soloist’s latitude. Seventeen voices responded, and the choir became a single voice.

E-mail Tom Strini at tstrini@journalsentinel.com.

El Paso de la Siguiriya performed by Milwaukee Choral Artists February 14

mca.jpg
The Milwaukee Choral Artists
, directed by Sharon Hansen, will perform my El Paso de la Seguiriya, a flamenco-inflected setting for women’s voices of the poetry of Federico Garcia Lorca, as part of a program called Magic and Enchantment, at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church (1615 Wauwatosa Avenue) in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin on February 14 at 7:30PM. Happy Valentine’s Day!

El Paso de la Siguiriya (Women’s Vocal Ensemble)

Federico Garcia Lorca, text.
SSAA with Mezzo-Soprano soloist (2007), ca. 7′

Commissioned by Putni, Antra Dreģe, director, with funds from the Latvian Culture Capital Fund. Premiere in Riga October 7, 2007 at the Latvian History Museum in Riga.

El_Paso_De_La_Siguiriya     

Live performance by The Milwaukee Choral Artists, Sharon A. Hansen, conductor; Rebecca Davies, soloist

Purchase a PDF of the score for $2 per copy via PayPal (Perusal available below):















Click on the image to open a perusal PDF (pages 1-11) in a new window.
paso1.jpg

Performance notes:

This piece grew out of some workshops I had created for the women’s vocal ensemble, Putni, which included an introduction to flamenco, among other things. The piece includes a substantial amount of clapping in the flamenco style, where two parts interlock, called the palmas and contrapalmas. This clapping can be undertaken either by members of the vocal ensemble or by separately contracted performers. The number of performers clapping is flexible and left to the discretion of the director. There are two ways to clap in flamenco: with palmas secas (loud, with palms open, clapping one hand against the heel of the other palm), or palmas sordas (quietly, clapping two cupped palms together). After the introduction only palmas sordas should be used.

El Paso de la Siguiriya
Entre mariposas negras,
va una muchacha morena
junto a una blanca serpiente de niebla.

Tierra de luz,
cielo de tierra.

Va encadenada al temblor
de un ritmo que nunca llega;
tiene el corazón de plata
y un puñal en la diestra.

¿A dónde vas, siguiriya
con un ritmo sin cabeza?
¿Qué luna recogerá
tu dolor de cal y adelfa?

Tierra de luz,
cielo de tierra.

The Footsteps of the Siguiriya
Through black butterflies
goes a girl with dark hair
joined to a white serpent
of mistiness.

Earth of light,
Sky of Earth.

She goes tied to the trembling
of a rhythm that never arrives:
she has a heart of silver
and a dagger in her hand.

‘Where do you go, Siguiriya
with a mindless rhythm?
What moon will gather up your
grief of lime and oleander?

Earth of light,
Sky of Earth.

Putni performs El Paso de la Seguiriya in Riga and Piņķi, April 27 & May 3

spanu-plakats.jpg
The women’s vocal ensemble Putni will perform my El Paso de la Seguiriya, a flamenco-inflected setting of the poetry of Federico Garcia Lorca, on Sunday, April 27 at 4PM at The Museum of Decorative Arts & Design, located at 10/20 Skārņu iela in Riga, and again at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Piņķi on May 3 at 6PM, as part of their program “Spanish Hour”.

Putni performs El Paso de la Seguiriya in Riga, November 23

The women’s vocal ensemble Putni will give a repeat performance of my El Paso de la Seguiriya, a brand new setting of the poetry of Federico Garcia Lorca, on Friday, November 23 at 7PM at The Dome Cathedral of Riga, located at 1 Dome Square (Doma laukums 1) in Riga as part of their program Music in the Cathedral (Mūzika katedrālē).

Commissioned with funds from the Latvian Culture Capital Fund and having grown out of some workshops I had created for Putni last year that included an introduction to flamenco, the piece includes a substantial amount of clapping in the flamenco style where the two parts interlock, called the palmas and contrapalmas.