About this Recording
8.573759 - GARRIDO-LECCA, C.: Orchestral Works (Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Fort Worth Symphony, Harth-Bedoya)
English  Spanish 

Celso Garrido-Lecca (b. 1926)
Andean Folk Dances • Symphonic Tableaux • Peruvian Suite • Laudes II


Celso Garrido-Lecca was born in Piura, Peru, in 1926. He studied composition at the National Conservatory of Lima and at the University of Chile in Santiago. He later took private lessons in Santiago with the Dutch teacher Fré Focke, who introduced him to serial technique. In 1954 he became musical adviser and composer for the Theatre Institute at the University of Chile. He won scholarships enabling him to study in New York, and in 1964 studied with Aaron Copland at Tanglewood.

Returning to both his alma maters, Garrido-Lecca taught composition first at the University of Chile beginning in 1965, then from 1973 at the National Conservatory of Lima, where he served as director from 1976 to 1979. In his later years he retired from teaching to devote himself to composing. Garrido-Lecca has received many governmental honours, both for his compositions and for his work in conserving native musical traditions.

Following an early period steeped in European avantgarde techniques, Garrido-Lecca began incorporating indigenous Latin-American styles into his music. As he explored an increasingly wider range of folk-songs, particularly those of Chile, he found his own individual voice, which he describes as avoiding both “a rootless, academic cosmopolitanism and a naive, provincial Indianism”. Best known for his chamber and symphonic works, Garrido-Lecca has also composed ballets, incidental music, film scores, choral and solo vocal music, and music for solo instruments.

Symphonic Tableaux (1980)

Garrido-Lecca’s Retablos sinfónicos (Symphonic Tableaux), composed in 1980 and dedicated to his children Gonzalo and Ximena, received its first performance in 1982 in Lima by Peru’s Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional, conducted by David del Pino. This colourful piece won first prize in a competition of symphonic works organized by Lima’s Patronato Pro-Música Clásica “Popular y Porvenir”. The composer explains:

“The idea that unites the Retablos sinfónicos is their popular root, shown in the use of musical material that I have taken from dances of Peru, such as the dansak and the tondero, and from vocal music, such as the traditional Peruvian yaraví, an elegiac Andean melody.

“The work begins with a brief orchestral Introduction, which leads to the Dansak, the name of which is derived from the ‘scissor dance’ of Ayacucho. The nature of this dance is drawn from ideas of competition and magic. Its main characteristic is that the dancers hold in their right hand the two blades of metal scissors that clash like a percussion instrument, accompanying the steps in a manner requiring complex physical skills, while the instrumental part is performed by a violin and a folk harp. In the orchestra the sound of the triangle suggests the clashing of the scissor blades.

“In the two following sections, Triste [Sad] and Tondero [a Peruvian dance from Piura, Sechura, and Lambayeque], which are performed without interruption, a similar structural principle is maintained, the derived melodic element of the intervals of a third characteristic of the yaraví and of the rhythmic elements of the tondero. These two national musical elements of the Southern and Northern regions of Peru are expressed with some freedom in Retablos sinfónicos, the primary aim of which is to provide a formal structure while exploring possibilities of orchestral colour. The tondero, an innovative use in a symphonic work, introduces the cajón, a wooden boxdrum played with the hands, that always accompanies this dance, thus underlining its popular nature.”

Retablos sinfónicos is scored for three flutes, one doubling piccolo, two oboes, cor anglais, two clarinets, bass clarinet, two bassoons, contrabassoon, four horns, three trumpets, three trombones, tuba, timpani, suspended cymbals, triangle, tom-tom drums, tenor drum, pandereta, snare drum, tam-tam, bass drum, bongo drums, crash cymbals, xylophone, harp, piano, celesta and strings.

Jane Vial Jaffe, edited Naxos

Andean Folk Dances (1983)

This is a set of folk-inspired pieces, freely and creatively developed by Garrido-Lecca. The pairing of the guitar and charango with the chamber orchestra adds to the mestizo (hybrid) and traditional character of the work as a whole. The Spanish brought the guitar to the Americas during the colonial period, a time during which complex processes of assimilation inspired the creation of new instruments such as the charango, a small lute, usually with five double courses of strings. There is both a mestizo and an indigenous charango tradition, with styles changing from place to place, from the Altiplano to the valleys of the Central Andes.

It is possible to trace the origins of the pieces Garrido- Lecca develops in the Andean Folk Dances back to the traditional folk repertoire, but he puts his own personal and meaningful stamp on this music with his skilful and rigorous use of popular motifs to form a canvas in which he captures a flavour of the dramatic and celebratory aspects of life in Andean villages.

Peruvian Suite (1986)

The Peruvian Suite was inspired by a wide range of different aspects of Peruvian folk music, brought together by Garrido-Lecca to form a kind of collage reflecting the diversity of his country’s musical traditions. Juego de terceras (Game of Thirds) refers to the interval of a third, commonly found in both instrumental and vocal folk music in Peru. Negrito de Malambo (Negro of Malambo) alludes to Lima’s oldest neighbourhood, Rímac, which was dubbed “Malambo” during colonial times. It was largely inhabited by slaves of African origin who kept the music and dances of their homelands alive even when this was forbidden by the Spanish authorities. The sicu is a kind of panpipe from the Altiplano, or Andean plateau (which takes in parts of Peru, Bolivia and Chile), and sicuri are the players who gather in groups of several hundred to perform on the instrument. They create musical dialogues, each group playing certain notes in a scale that runs across the instrument’s two rows of pipes, and also take part in large-scale dances that are, generally speaking, linked to the cycles of the farming year or to Carnival celebrations. The quena (or kena, a notched flute) and antara (a panpipe) are two of the emblematic instruments of Andean culture. Both, but especially the kena, appear in the song repertoire of the Andes, the Amazon and several coastal regions as well. Torito de Pucará (Little Bull of Pukara) takes its name from the figurines so typical of the ceramics produced today in the Puno region in the Peruvian Altiplano. Finally, the tondero is a traditional dance from Piura, the northern region in which Garrido-Lecca was born. It is danced in both coastal and desert areas of Piura, to the accompaniment of singing and clapping, the guitar and the cajón (box drum).

Laudes II (1994)

The following is the composer’s own introduction to this work: “Laudes comes from the Latin word laudare, meaning “to praise”. I wrote Laudes I in 1962, and Laudes II in 1994, for a slightly larger orchestra. It is a work written to express praise, inspired by words from the Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu which I quote in the score so as to tie their meaning to the music: “The Tao that can be spoken is not is the eternal Tao, the name that can be named is not the eternal name.” Laudes II comprises three movements that create contrast through their use of colour. The third movement in particular is, in a way, more outward-looking, playing with the horn and trumpet parts within the confines of the compositional context. I was keen to reflect the atmosphere of the Lao-Tzu quotation, which I had in mind at all times. The music emerged as the natural expression in sound of those words, and I made the most of the orchestral interactions that occurred in the process. In my opinion, Lao-Tzu’s philosophy is expressed with great concision, a quality I wanted to echo in my writing – the result is Laudes II.”

Marino Martínez E.
Director of Research, Caminos del Inka, Inc.

English translation by Susannah Howe

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