• Gabriela Lena Frank
  • Kanto Kechua No. 2 (2018)

  • G Schirmer Inc (World)
  • 2vn, va, vc
  • 4 min 35 s

Programme Note

Composer note
In my early thirties, after receiving a devastating diagnosis of a life-threatening autoimmune disease, I paradoxically entered the most uniquely creative period of my life. Looking back, I believe I might have been grasping at what was most life-affirming to me, terrified of impending surgeries, radiation, drugs, and pain. Over several months, I composed hours of chamber music, wrote bilingual poetry and a fantasy novel of time-travel back to my ancestral homeland of pre-Conquest Perú, knitted and sewed, mastered the tarot and intricate origami, dove into the alchemy of homemade soaps and face creams, interned in bee-keeping, cultivated sourdoughs and learned to make cheese.

This was quite the prelude, bright and desperate both, to several years of treatment when most of my creative endeavors were muted. Now, a number of years later, scarred but healthy and working actively as a composer, I still carry around melodies born from that time; and in 2017, fashioned a quartet from this oddly luminescent wellspring into the first movement of Walkabout: Concerto for Orchestra, somewhat simplified for its symphonic weight. When I was approached by the brilliant string quartet Brooklyn Rider for a work on the theme of healing, I found my chance to hear these ideas for the nimbler string quartet, my original conception. The result is Kanto Kechua No. 2 ("Quechua Song" with Quechua being the dominant language of post-Inca Perú) now with all of its ornamental intricacies and string-crossing whirls under an achingly high if brief violin line. Throughout, motifs from native Andean folk music proliferate.

I’m exceedingly grateful to be able to, at long last, bring this music to life as I step now in wellness and creative abundance.

— Gabriela Lena Frank

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