• gtr, 2vn, va, vc
  • 18 min

Programme Note

Inca Dances (2008) is dedicated, with the greatest affection and admiration, to guitarist Manuel Barrueco and the members of the Cuarteto Latinoamericano (Saul Bitran, Aron Bitran, Javier Montiel, and Alvaro Bitran). The two movements of this work each draw inspiration from a practice of remembering past kings (reyes) through song and dance during the time of the ancient Inca empire.

The first movement, Lamento del Panaca, is scored for solo guitar. Loosely drawing on Andean folkloric motifs, it is a melancholy yet emotional appeal from the deceased Inca king's panaca, a sort of death cult brought into existence upon his demise. Headed by the deceased king's second son, the panaca was a complicated clan group that acted as the king's voice of continued political and cultural authority.

The second movement, Danza del Mallqui-Rey, draws inspiration from the purucaya, a spirited event where the splendor of the dead Inca king and the long tale of his deeds were brilliantly recounted. During this ceremony, the actual mummy of the king (mallqui) was brought out for proud viewing, and it was imagined that he participated in his own ritualized remembrance. As a result, this movement for the entire ensemble also loosely draws on Andean folkloric musical motifs and is a rhythmic, even aggressive, dance.

— Gabriela Lena Frank