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Gabriela Lena Frank

Publisher: G. Schirmer

Danza de los Saqsampillos (marimba version) (2006)
G Schirmer Inc
Works for 2-6 Players
Sub Category
Percussion Ensemble
Year Composed
6 Minutes
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Programme Note
Gabriela Lena Frank Danza de los Saqsampillos (marimba version) (2006)
Adapted from the final movement of a solo work for piano, Sonata Andina, this duo for two marimbas is inspired by the jungle-dwelling warrior devil of Amazonian Perú known as the Saqsampillo. The energy of the music is lively, sometimes even ferocious, and there appear musical motifs, rhythms, techniques, and instrumental allusions from both the central Andean mountains of Perú and the great jungles to the east. The following, for instance, are evoked:

I. Golpe: A technique from the Spanish and South American guitar-playing traditions where the strings are struck with the flat of the hands. There results a very apparent moment of silence afterwards.

II. Zampoña: The zampoña is the bamboo panpipe of the Andes, the quintessential wind instrument of this culture. The melodies are often simple but nevertheless still rhythmically lively and inflected with grace notes.

III. Sesquiáltera: Literally, “changing sixes” or the juxtaposition of compound duple (6/8) and simple triple (3/4) meters. This rhythmic pattern is common to many styles of Latin American music.

IV. Marimba: Although originally imported from Africa, the marimba instrument is popular all through Latin America and figures prominently in many kinds of folkloric and popular music. Frequent, percussively-played repeated notes are hallmarks of this style.

V. Vendaval: A particularly violent and gusty rainstorm of Latin America.

— Gabriela Lena Frank

Sample Pages

  • Ensemble
    Gabriela Lena Frank, piano
Gabriela Lena Frank is the real deal: a modern composer with a personal style, one that manages to integrate a wide range of sounds and performing techniques into a cohesive language that unapologetically includes melody and tonal harmony without ever sounding anachronistic. She clearly manages to remain true to herself, but she doesn't have to write down to her listeners in order to share her thoughts and feelings. This is just good music. Danza de los Saqsampillos is an arrangement for two marimbas of an earlier piano piece, and it sounds like a blast to play; ... The performances, with the composer's participation where the piano joins in, and presumably her supervision where it does not, are uniformly excellent, and so are the sonics. A wonderful disc of inventive, fresh, characterful music, plain and simple.
David Hurwitz,,22/03/2011
Frank's Danza de los Saqsampillos for two marimbas (2006) is surely the most charming work on the CD. The piece is actually an arrangement of music from an earlier work, the Sonata Andina (2000) for solo piano. The title refers to the dance of a rambunctious jungle dweller. Alias percussionists Christopher Norton and Todd Kemp bring this glistening music to life. They are equal to the work's challenges, expertly navigating a minefield of changing meters while maintaining a tight ensemble. And they interpret the score's Andean and tropical motifs exactly right, playing with a sense of pure joy.
John Pitcher, The Nashville Scene,03/03/2011
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