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Gabriela Lena Frank

Publisher: G. Schirmer

Cuatro Canciones Andinas (1999)
Text Writer
coll. and trans. by José María Arguedas
G Schirmer Inc
Solo Voice(s) and up to 6 players
Year Composed
14 Minutes
Solo Instrument(s)
mezzo soprano
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Programme Note
Gabriela Lena Frank Cuatro Canciones Andinas (1999)
These songs reflect the inspiration of José María Arguedas, a Peruvian folklorist, poet, and Quechua advocate who reminds one in many ways of Bartók. In an attempt to validate the native culture of the Andes, Arguedas collected the tunes, poetry, and folklore of the Quechua Indians, the descendants of the ancient Incas. Of the pro-indigenista writers, he was one of the first to write poetry in Quechua as well as Spanish, and was also a proponent of "mestizaje," a vision of a world that can encompass many cultures without oppression. Like Bartók, he spoke of a brotherhood of people, and he proclaimed himself a modern Quechua man in spite of his fair skin and Western education. The text for Cuatro canciones andinas draws on Indian poetry collected and translated by Arguedas from Quechua into Spanish shortly before his suicide in the sixties. The English translation was done by Ruth Walgreen Stephan.

— Gabriela Lena Frank

Sample Pages

  • MSR Classics:
  • Soloist(s)
    Bonnie Pomfret, soprano; Laura Gordy, piano
    Aca Digital:
American composer Gabriela Lena Frank (b. 1972) presents a metaphorical parallel to Shostakovich’s life experience. Both of her works present her lamentation over the subsumation and destruction of the indigenous Peruvian culture by the Spanish conquistadors. The first of them, Sueños de Chambi: Snapshots for an Andean Album , was inspired by photographs by Martin Chambi (1891–1973), who documented Peru’s vanishing pre-Spanish ways of life. The second, Cuatros Canciones Andinas (texts by José Maria Arguedas), presents three heartbreaking poems about love and loss. In all cases her music is tonal and disarmingly simple, but, in its Amerindian subtlety, goes right to the heart of that culture. Her mission in both works is to achieve a telling balance between those two cultural currents. Her results are ear-opening.
William Zagorski , Fanfare,21/03/2011
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