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Gabriela Lena Frank

Publisher: G. Schirmer

The Singing Mountaineers (2011)
G Schirmer Inc
Chorus and Orchestra/Ensemble
Year Composed
15 Minutes
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Programme Note
Gabriela Lena Frank The Singing Mountaineers (2011)

Sample Pages

Gabriela Lena Frank's The Singing Mountaineers is fond, alluring music that sounds like a vivid memory of a place that doesn't exist. It was written for the Los Angeles Master Chorale and the Los Angeles-based Latin American folk/jazz ensemble Huayucaltia and given its world premiere at Walt Disney Concert Hall Sunday night as part of a program that focused on the choral music of Peru and Venezuela. ...These two works introduced Frank's "Mountaineers." She is an American, born in Berkeley of a Peruvian-Chinese mother, Lithuanian Jewish father. A member ofYo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble, she explores music widely, but her own gravitates increasingly toward her inner Latina. "Mountaineers" is a setting of poems by the 20th century Peruvian novelist José María Arguedas. "Where are you going?" the first one asks. There are images of a flute made of a fly's bone, of a hummingbird carrying a lover's longing letters. Leaving and returning, loss and distance are themes. The folklore of Quechua Indians of Peru is evoked in language and music. Frank is most successful here when she is least grounded. Solo singers sometimes separated from the full choir and gave the impression of singing from other realms. Frank also proved at her most appealing when she asked the five members of Huayucaltia (guitars, panpipes and percussion are featured among dozens of other traditional instruments) to be less direct than they usually are, to employ their instruments experimentally. A better sense of her treatment of language will have to wait for further performances –—unfortunately no texts were provided (although there were projected translations). But there was drama with the use of a narrator, bass Abdiel Gonzalez, who was stunning. Something for music theater would seem a very good next step for Frank."
Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times,01/05/2012
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