Catán's "Caribbean Airs"

Catán's "Caribbean Airs"
© Tumi Music, c/o Music Sales Film and TV
"I was born in Mexico, but my earliest recollections are always accompanied by the sound of Cuban music." With this, Daniel Catán introduces his newest work, Caribbean Airs, which premieres on 26 April by the Pacific Symphony. Carl St. Clair conducts the three-movement work for percussion quartet and orchestra.

Catán continues, "During the late 1940s and early 50s many Cuban musicians moved to New York and Mexico. Caribbean music became immensely popular. New dance halls opened every season and they regularly had a Caribbean band playing to dance-crazed couples….Not everybody could go to the clubs, of course, so radio stations and records solved the problem by taking the music into people's homes and workplaces. It was impossible not to be influenced by this music and its contagious beauty.

Writing this piece has been quite a challenge...
...[but] it has put me back in touch with music I love. And then, as if it wasn't enough, it has taken me to clubs on a regular basis in order to get those rhythms flowing naturally through my body as well as through my ears. What a treat! Who would have guessed that doing research could be so enjoyable!

— Daniel Catán"I have been a devotee of this music the whole of my life. Its rhythms and instrumentation have always fascinated me. But after studying it in detail, I've become a huge admirer of it: the complexity and at the same time the precision with which it is composed are quite extraordinary…" Cast in the form of a traditional three-movement concerto, the soloists are required to improvise in addition to the notes indicated in the score. "This was standard practice in the baroque and classical eras," Catán notes. "The two outer movements are fast and highly rhythmical. The middle movement is more meditative and melodic. My main concern was to write memorable melodies to the subtle rhythmic patterns that breathe life into them. I hope you enjoy listening to this piece as much as I enjoyed writing it. And if you find your hands or feet beginning to twitch rhythmically without your permission, please do not stop them."


Caribbean Airs   20'
3 perc; 3(pic)2.4(bcl)2/4.4.3.1/timp.perc/pf.hp/str