Gabriela Ortiz is a significant composer from Mexico. A couple of years ago, I was fortunate to play on Gabriela Ortiz’s CD called Aroma Foliado. I played percussion on the first track, Elegía (1991). The CD was nominated for a Latin Grammy and featured a lot of great performances. Be sure to check out the final track which features a piece for steel pan and two harps. Below is the personnel listing and the program notes for the piece. Be sure to check out the sample tracks on the Southwest Chamber site.
Elissa Johnston, Sharon Harms,
Laura Mercado Wright & Ayana Haviv, Sopranos
Lisa Edelstein, flute/piccolo/alto
David Johnson, timpani
Ken McGrath & Dave Gerhart, percussion
Alison Bjorkedal, harp
Phillip Bush, piano/celesta
Shalini Vijayan, violin
Kira Blumberg, viola
Peter Jacobson, cello
Tom Peters, double bass
Jeff von der Schmidt, conductor
Southwest Chamber Music continues its vibrant association with the musical life of Mexico with its newest album, Aroma Foliado. A musical portrait of composer Gabriela Ortiz, five important works are represented from her colorful and diverse output ranging from 1991 to 2010. Funded by Mexico’s FONCA, Aroma Foliado is a unique and rare collaboration between a Mexican composer and an American ensemble.
The disc includes vocal soloists baritone Evan Hughes singing Rio Bravo and four sopranos in Ortiz’s deeply moving Elegia: Elissa Johnston, Sharon Harms, Laura Mercado-Wright and Ayana Haviv. Inspired by a string quartet by Mozart, the title track of the album is Aroma Foliado which alternates from dream seqeunces to pounding Mexican rhythms. Two works celebrate the rivers flowing through Mexican culture. Río Bravo for baritone is accompanied by 6 carefully tuned cystal wine goblets and solo violinist Lorenz Gamma. The legendary Mexican river Papaloapan inspires the magical sonorities of two harps and steel drum in Río de las Mariposas. The disc concludes with the aerobic athleticism of Atlas Pumas, a recreation of a major soccer match for violin and marimba, excitingly performed by Shalini Vijayan and Lynn Vartan.
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