Gabriela Frank Premieres :::: Schirmer News Winter 2009
1st December 2009
Having had four world premieres in 2009, a Latin Grammy for Best Classical Contemporary Composition, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a residency with the Indianapolis Symphony, the Berkeley Symphony and the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, Gabriela Frank has been constantly on the move... and she begins 2010 with another world premiere. On February 17, at Herbst Theatre in San Francisco, the all-male chorus, The King's Singers premiere Frank's new work: Tres Mitos de mi Tierra (Three Myths from my Land).
Gabriela Lena Frank © Sabina FrankFor this work, Frank was charged with creating a bilingual Spanish-English composition, with a narrative that could easily be choreographed. Frank, who claims personally to be a "frustrated writer" at heart, decided to embark on writing the text herself — a first for the 37 year old composer. For this new endeavor, Frank created imagined-myths that are inspired by Peruvian culture — Frank's maternal heritage.
Listen to Gabriela Lena Frank
Tres Mitos de mi Tierra
In Tres Mitos, Frank expands on folkloric forms to compose three songs. The first, Travel Song, is the story of an indigenous man relating his life as he traverses the varied regions of Tawantinsuyu, the name of the former Inca empire comprising the modern countries of Perú, Bolivia, Ecuador, and parts of Colombia, Argentina, and Chile. The regions journeyed through by our narrator are la costa to the seaside west, los serranos in the mountainous center, and la selva to the Amazonian east.
The second song, El Himno del pintor anónimo, describes events surrounding La Escuela Cuzqueña, the Cusco school of painting (Cusco was the original capital of the Inca empire). This colonial practice involved Roman Catholic missionaries training indigenous men and boys in the Flemish style of oil painting. The works that were created were used to help convert the indigenous population to Christianity and usually depicted scenes of indios engaged as biblical figures in a painting style unique to the region — a mix of Flemish painting techniques and a more free style of form and coloring.
The third song, Hechicera (sorceress), is the story of a romancero as he serenades his love.
In addition to the February premiere, the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, with violinist Robin Sharp, will premiere her first Violin Concerto in the Spring of 2010. The work is a rather unique set of forces, with a string orchestra, violin soloist, and flute quartet flanking the soloist to echo both zampoña and toyos styles of panpipe traditions.
Additionally, Frank has just completed her second commission for the Silk Road Project. The work is scored for percussion, pipa, violin, and cello. In her new work, Frank has imagined a pre-Incan civilization and what music might have resulted from this "fantasy culture." The work will be premiered in the Spring.
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