The World Premiere of Ibero — American Landscapes
Youtube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nY9lOuPsCVQ
To my lovely friend,
It is finally here, the world premiere of Ibero - American Landscapes, performed By the Tucson-Ibero String Quartet and composed by Edwin Guevara Gutiérrez! I express my excitement to you as this premiere has finally been able to be heard by my music literature class and I. With that being said, I would love to explain every single detail, and allow you to capture a moment in time that will seize to exist through my words and your imagination. As with that, I would first like to express how passionate my professor has been even during this very difficult and almost bizarre time, — After-all, it has given me a reconstructed and renowned sense of how I view music and also how I write and also construct my blog posts, which were and had many trials and errors as you probably already know. With error and change, there is growth. But besides that, let’s get into the premiere.
Walking in, I did not know what to expect. As a viewer in the audience I was quite nervous but also extremely excited to sit with my classmates and be able to finally witness and experience a live performance, something I have not done for quite some time. I sat down, and with no expectations did I not believe that I was able to see the group of performers converse and do a small rehearsal before beginning the live performance! I am sure you would have been thrilled to be there, it was amazing to see everything that Edwin himself was taking note of and letting the other musicians know and also better and or refine any part of the music that could be better expressed, and or emulated in the way that he envisioned it and saw the piece through his own musical perspective. The instrumentation was very unique, and when I mean that, I more so mean very different instruments that were all in one room collided and prepared for this piece. There was flute (Diana Schaible), cello (Cecilia Palma), and guitar performed by (Gutiérrez & Misael Barraza-Diaz). In every way, you would expect these instruments to be categorized in very different environments of the the music world, but perfectly, these instruments resided in harmony and profound sense.
As the premiere started, my eyes glittered in awe. You know that I play cello, and I was so infatuated with Cecilia’s expressivity; As though she was telling a story and introducing these other sets of instruments as if they were all a different chapter to the story they were trying to explain in their musical dialect to the audience in the beginning of the exposition. As you may already know, in learning more about music literature, I loved learning about Berlioz’ Symphonie Fantistique, (presumably my favorite premiere we had learned about) and also learning about more premieres through Thomas Forrest Kelly’s First Nights. Through learning of these premieres, I was able to really find a broad but also clear connection to how they all relate in some way to the premiere I have witnessed in the year 2021! These connections include and relate to the music itself, in the timestamp of the video of the premiere, (42:52) it felt as though the story was filled of love, and curiousity. The story and also dialect that is being played between the flute and cello was almost directly impossible not to notice. With that being said, it was mentioned in one of my class lectures that Edwin himself had created different scales in which all corresponded for each letter of the musician’s name!
“The presentation of the name of each musician can be heard in multiple places in the work — including in the final section, where each performer plays the specific series in a virtuosic way.”(Gutiérrez). I thought that was not only beautifully unique, but also properly excecuted in the time stamp that I had referenced with the point in time in which both the cello and flute play. It was in some way a correspondence and or an expression of their names, and I was unaware of it until after the premiere. Still a very amazing point in time I wanted to mention to you, my friend.
In every which way, I felt that I was in another world, and this music and the musicians gratified that for me. In my blogpost about the premiere of the Symphonie Fantistique by Berlioz, it was mentioned in an article that I had cited that Berlioz himself was seen as a “master of orchestration” . When comparing that now, Edwin and Berlioz have very similar traits of composing which I admire; Both composers seem to only want to create new pieces of art that are usually not seen and or perceived as “normal” to the musical eye. Through this, they express and create unique and new ways of interpreting music in their own critical and or musical lens. Which is pretty awesome to me if I do say so myself. The cultural significance was resonant throughout the piece, especially throughout the end, in which all musicians are able to display their talents in a “virtuosic way” to properly conclude the premiere, which can be seen in timestamp (51:09) of the video link provided at the top. Another significant connection I had with this premiere was in a blog post I did on Beethoven’s 9th Symphony! It was said, and I had cited that Beethoven himself really enjoyed having a “seal of personal approval” in all the new and general alterations he had as a composer, in bettering his music as a whole and making it single handedly his own, with precision and clarity. I see how Edwin was so willing to let the other musicians know of the imperfections that lied during the rehearsal at the beginning of the piece. With these small “alterations” and general “personal seal of approval”, Edwin properly displayed that before the world premiere, which I noticed vividly! My friend, here is the timestamp, (1:23) for further research on this connection.
It is also said in the Notes from the composer section of the program that 30 forms of rhythm were all trickled down to the most influential and cultural forms of music to be emulated and composed in this piece, including some rhythms from Argentina, Spain, Colombia and Ecuador. “Que vive la cultura!”— “Let the culture live!” I would say, my friend! How amazing was this premiere and music. I wish you were there to experience it, but I have provided a video link of the world premiere just for you to see and listen to.
What a world premiere this was, and I am so eternally grateful and also beyond privilege to have experienced it in person. With that being said, there was so much cultural signficance, which I so utterly admired. There is typically not a lot of music that is represented in this perspective, and in that shows how progressive these musicians are to perform such a unique piece at hand and vice versa the composer as well. Fundamentally, without the identities of the musicians, I do not think this piece would have been formed in the same way that Edwin would have made it. Each letter, chromatically, all synthesize perfectly together in harmony, which for me is something that is unlikely to ever really hear in music. In every sense, this piece was made for these musicians and I hope it makes and greets itself to higher popularity in the near future, because everyone should get to hear this for the first time in the way that I have. My friend, thank you for reading my letter to you and also taking the time express my analysis on this rare, and eccentric piece composed by Edwin Guevara Gutiérrez. And let us thank the musicians, because in a way, they are the foundation and spine that hold together and give the music an identity and purpose. To the music of Ibero, and to them.
All the best,