The word compadrazgo
refers to a quintessentially Latin American idea. It signifies a special kind of camaraderie such as the bond between godparent and godchild or the friendliness between neighbors who might borrow sugar from one another. I find that this spirit is also essential to chamber music in all styles and genres as players depend on one another to bring their performance to life. In honor of compadrazgo,
I've composed three tributes (tres homenajes
) that are all inspired by Latin American idioms, yet explore different ways in which the players relate to one another. They are:
I. Scherzo para Sipan:
This fleet movement is in homage to the windy northern plains of Peru made famous by the discovery of an ancient Moche royal tomb for El Senor de Sipan (Lord of Sipan).
II. Adagio para Amantani:
The extended slow movement is in homage to the island of Amantani that I visited in the summer of 2006. Situated in the middle of Lake Titicaca between Peru 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 aggressive and dissonany finale is inspired by the oddly violent form of compadrazgo
where people from two different communities ritualistically engage in a fight. Stemming from pre-Colombian beliefs where young men fought to the death, sacrificing themselves so that their villages would receive a good harvest or a season free from illness, the combative spirit of the 't'inku' actually results in people coming together for a common good. Throughout all three movements, melodic and rhythmic motifs from Peru and Bolivia abound.
— Gabriela Lena Frank