Cantos de la Nada
The Graduate School, Stony Brook University: Stony Brook, NY.
In conceiving Cantos de la Nada for mezzo-soprano and mixed chamber ensemble I went through a process of finding a direction to create original music inspired by folk songs from Colombia without using any specific material. Rather I adopted certain ways to conceive music that can be found in these traditional expressions. Two abstract musical elements that I draw from folk music and that I focused on for this piece are texture and form. Since melody, rhythm and even harmony reflect more directly specific kinds of folk music, I focused on elements that are not the primary materials of folk music but that are the result of how it is conceived. Each movement deals differently with these elements, the results being related to the form of each text. I used original texts written by Colombian singer Juanita Delgado. Her lyrics have characteristics of folk songs: They are simple in form and language but with several layers of meaning. Some are more strophic, others have recurrent verses, and some have longer and more irregular ones, yielding diverse musical forms. The ambiguity of the text's tone, for instance sometimes appearing as simple love songs but also bringing out the anguish of people living in a conflicted place, is reflected in the music through the juxtaposition of simple and complex elements both in pitch and rhythm, trying to convey the character of the text. The use of pitch and rhythm is, in some movements more than others, less directly related to Colombian folk music. However, the use of different rhythmic treatments was one of the original interests I had in composing this piece. The piece is scored for winds, percussion, violin and bass with some folkloric instruments like tiple, marimba, and other traditional Colombian percussion. The scoring varies on each movement of the piece.