• 2 marimbas
  • 6 min

Programme Note

Adapted from the final movement of a solo work for piano, Sonata Andina, this duo for two marimbas is inspired by the jungle-dwelling warrior devil of Amazonian Perú known as the Saqsampillo. The energy of the music is lively, sometimes even ferocious, and there appear musical motifs, rhythms, techniques, and instrumental allusions from both the central Andean mountains of Perú and the great jungles to the east. The following, for instance, are evoked:

I. Golpe: A technique from the Spanish and South American guitar-playing traditions where the strings are struck with the flat of the hands. There results a very apparent moment of silence afterwards.

II. Zampoña: The zampoña is the bamboo panpipe of the Andes, the quintessential wind instrument of this culture. The melodies are often simple but nevertheless still rhythmically lively and inflected with grace notes.

III. Sesquiáltera: Literally, “changing sixes” or the juxtaposition of compound duple (6/8) and simple triple (3/4) meters. This rhythmic pattern is common to many styles of Latin American music.

IV. Marimba: Although originally imported from Africa, the marimba instrument is popular all through Latin America and figures prominently in many kinds of folkloric and popular music. Frequent, percussively-played repeated notes are hallmarks of this style.

V. Vendaval: A particularly violent and gusty rainstorm of Latin America.

— Gabriela Lena Frank