The distinguished Basque composer Francisco Escudero spent his life creating an exceptional and individual catalogue of works embracing almost all musical genres. His musical style is characterised by a very personal conception of traditional Basque music, which is not afraid to employ bold avant-garde effects. Set to the poem Biotzean min dut (My heart is broken) by Xabier Lizardi (1896–1933) the imposing oratorio Illeta depicts the grief experienced on the death of a loved one during the wake, funeral and burial. Sung in the first person by a baritone and by a chorus representing the townspeople, it begins with a five note motif, reflecting the influence of Gregorian chant on traditional Basque music, and culminates in a deeply moving finale on the words ‘my heart is broken’.
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