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Gabriela Lena Frank

Publisher: G. Schirmer

Compadrazgo (2007)
G Schirmer Inc
Soloist(s) and Orchestra
Sub Category
Chamber Orchestra
Year Composed
25 Minutes
Solo Instrument(s)
piano, cello
Programme Note
Gabriela Lena Frank Compadrazgo (2007)
Compadrazgo is the word for a particularly Latin American concept: a special kind of "camaraderie," such as the bond between godparent and godchild or the friendliness between neighbors who borrow sugar from one another. In composing this double concerto for David Finckel and Wu Han, I found this spirit particularly well-suited for exploring the camaraderie between the soloists as well as between soloists and the orchestra.

The first movement, "Compadrazgo," is a spirited romp in sonata-allegro form. The second movement, "Scherzo para Sipan," is in homage to the windy northern plains of Perú made famous by the discovery of an ancient Moche royal tomb for El Señor de Sipan (Lord of Sipan). The third movement, "Adagio para Amantaní," is in homage to the island of Amantaní that I visited in the summer of 2006. Situated in the middle of Lake Titicaca between Perú and Bolivia, the island is both beautiful and barren, and its inhabitants absolutely depend on their relationships of compadrazgo in order to survive the cold and arid climate. This movement also serves as an extended cadenza for the soloists as it is written only for the duo. The final movement, "T'inku," is inspired by an oddly violent form of compadrazgo in which people from two different communities ritualistically engage in a fight. Stemming from pre-Colombian beliefs that young men should fight to the death — sacrificing themselves so that their villages would receive a good harvest or a season free from illness, then the combative spirit of the "t'inku" actually results in people coming together for a common good.

Throughout all four movements of this work, motifs, harmonies, and rhythms are inspired by the folk music of the Peruvian and Bolivian Andean mountains.

— Gabriela Lena Frank

  • Soloist(s)
    ProMusica Chamber Orchestra
[Compadrazgo] ... begins in high spirits with motivic elements drawn from the folk music of the Andean mountains of Peru and Bolivia adding delightful piquancy to a darting, dancing musical conversation in which cello and piano jostle playfully for position. Paying homage to the wind-blown plains of northern Peru, the ‘Scherzo para Sipán’ is shot through with darker, more mysterious hues inked in by some strikingly evocative writing for both solo instruments and orchestra, with an altogether otherworldly effect from what sounds like softly struck and muted cymbals that mimics a breath being exhaled.
Michael Quinn, The Classical Review,07/10/2011
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