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Gabriela Lena Frank

Publisher: G. Schirmer

Sonata Andina (2000)
G Schirmer Inc
Solo Keyboard(s)
Year Composed
18 Minutes
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Programme Note
Gabriela Lena Frank Sonata Andina (2000)
This piece is dedicated to my grandmother Griselda Cam. It draws inspiration from the idea of "mestizaje," as envisioned by the Peruvian writer Jose María Arguedas, whereby cultures can co-exist without the subjugation of one by the other. In such a spirit, Sonata Andina para piano solo mixes elements from the western classical and Andean folk music traditions. "Allegro Aymara" suggests drums from Bolivia (such as the large TAMBOR, the medium WUANKARA, and the smaller TINYA) and flutes (such as the PINKILLO, made of thick jungle reed, and the less typical TARKA, a heavy wooden end-blown duct flute that produces a hoarse overblown tone). "Himno Inca" mimics an ensemble style common to the Andes where a number of players stand around in a semi-circle with panpipes known as ZAMPOÑAS that each have a constricted range of notes which may be preceded, accompanied, and followed by brief percussion. "Adagio Illariy" presents another typical flute, the QUENA. The title refers to the dawn light which outlines the edge of the planet as it curves out of sight just before the sun appears. The Finale Saqsampillo, written in homage to Alberto Ginastera, is a dance that features "warrior devils" or jungle dwellers considered savages. Instruments imitated are two kinds of guitars (the six-stringed Spanish version and the CHARANGO, a higher-pitched ten-stringed instrument made out of an armadillo shell), the ZAMPOÑA flutes, and the MARIMBA.

— Gabriela Lena Frank

Sample Pages

  • Ensemble
    Ensemble Meme
    Albany Records:
Tuesday's concert featured SFCO composer-in-residence, Gabriela Lena Frank, in a place of prominence, performing two movements of a her solo piano sonata "Sonata Andina," followed by the Shostakovich Piano Quintet, played with members of the orchestra. Frank is a remarkable advocate for her music, bringing the audience into her compositional process and creative mind as she talks briefly about her works from the stage. This was particularly true during the question and answer session at the end of the evening, where she demonstrated, step-by-step, how she had composed a song; the audience was transfixed by her discussion. Prior to playing "Sonata Andina," Frank offered a brief presentation of the two movements, giving her audience just enough information to know what to listen for as she played. The two movements, particularly the Adagio slow movement, were striking: tonally-based fusions of Western musical genres with Andean folk idioms. Her music is accessible, especially when accompanied by her verbal introduction, but very sophisticated.
Elizabeth Morgan, San Francisco Examiner,01/10/2009
The afternoon's most impressive offering was the premiere of Gabriela Lena Frank's Sonata Andina for piano, with the composer at the keyboard. Certainly it helped to have this music played with the incisive and resounding assurance that a composer can lend to a piece, but the music itself, based on Peruvian folk idioms with sonorities tuned to the pipes and drums of that culture, was crafted with unselfconscious mastery.
Joan Reinthaler, Washington Post,13/06/2000
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