Hilda Paredes House composer
All four works are finely written and full of life. The title of her string quartet, Uy U T'an - in ancient Mayan - means Listen How They Talk, and Paredes takes the idea of "discourse" literally. The idea dates back to Haydn's quartets, but she gives it an Arditti-ish twist, and the work has a superb dramatic sweep. The Ardittis are joined by the pianist Ian Pace for Cotidales and by Neue Vokalsolisten Stuttgart for the magic-spell evocation of Can Silim Tun. Ah Paaxo'ob (Those Who Play the Music) is a colourfully detailed ensemble piece.
The pieces on this disc were written over a three-year period, from the 1998 string quartet Uy U Tan through the settings of Mayan spells and incantations in Can Silim Tun (1999), to the piano quintet Cotidales and the ambitious ensemble piece Ah Paaxo'ob from 2001. All show that Paredes is a composer with a fresh aural imagination, while her Carter-like use of instrumentalists as dramatic protagonists gives her music an extra dimension. Superbly played, it's music worth investigating.
Finally, Violeta, another prostitute, tells of her friend Iris, slender and not yet 20, sent by her father to "a land of milk and honey ... where dollars grow on trees." Iris' first rape was in the car even before she reached the border. The opera's last line: "I wither from sadness / a flower without dew." Hilda Paredes provides sorrowful music here that is almost too much. She, like the other composers, is a substantial Modernist; her style is complex and difficult. But she knows how to drain substance away too, leaving meaningful emptiness.
Hilda Paredes's second quartet, Cuerdas del destino, proved to be the most immediately appealing work of the evening. Formally, it is structured with intricacy, using a small number of striking motifs, but it also works as pure sound - like an Amazon rainforest, with buzzing insects, fluttering wings, and multitudinous drops of rain in a tropical storm (not at all, it has to be said, Paredes's own description).
Ms. Paredes, born in Tehuacán in 1957 and based in London since 1979, is admired for compositions that mix modernist rigor and extended techniques with a primal energy rooted in Maya lore. Here the new-music ensemble Signal, conducted by Brad Lubman, brought its customary authority to three works. The first, Corazón de Onix ("Heart of Onyx", 2005), for a sextet of winds, strings and piano, evoked a gemstone's luster and mutability with sharp, glistening sounds, reshaped and refracted with microtonal smears and noisy outbursts. Señales ("Signals", 2012), newly commissioned by the Miller Theater, featured Irvine Arditti, the formidable English violinist who is also Ms. Paredes's husband. From a lapping, splashing introduction, the music - played by a 10-member ensemble that included an ear-tickling mix of cimbalom, harp and marimba - rippled, surged and jolted ceaselessly around Mr. Arditti's flashing exertions. Time stood still repeatedly during haunting interludes that paid homage to another composer, Jonathan Harvey.
From the composer Hilda Paredes, ONIX performed Corazón de Ónix, conducted by José Luis Castillo. This is a complex and ambitious piece, well written and with atmospheric and colouristic qualities. It also has solid treatment of different sound production of the instruments. These timbric qualities are enhanced by Paredes with the use of the bass and alto flute as well as bass clarinet. Corazón de Ónix is marked by an interesting expressivity and by very attractive harmonic instability, which is enhanced by the use of micro-intervals and glissandi. All these elements merge in numerous moments of an evocative poetic sonority that is at the same time intense and concentrated.
Amongst the jewels of the programme was the emotive and well crafted Homenaje a Remedios Varo, written in 1995 by the ascending Mexican composer Hilda Paredes.
I cannot resist praising the Homenaje a Remedios Varo by Hilda Paredes as outstanding, not to mention its acute and clear formal construction, with nothing less than a sweeping and impressive finale.
Ghosts visited the stage of Yale University Theatre this month, native ghosts from the distant past of an unnamed Latin American country ruled by a brutal dictator... In setting the story, Paredes evidently sought to draw on the musical qualities of the languages used to tell it, sometimes employing electronic means to manipulate her sound material (the spirit voices are made to come from different parts of the theatre), and sometimes using leitmotif textures (rather than themes) to evoke dramatic situations... As her tale is one of pain, she has produce music of pain, full of angularity, pointillism and dissonances, often pervaded by an aura of tension and mystery.
Watching the world premier of Hilda Paredes' chamber opera Phantom Palace, I had the sort of out-of body experience where you say to yourself "This can't be happening in New Haven". I simply couldn't come to terms with the realization that I was seeing topflight European modern opera, performed by a major international company premiering a ceaselessly provocative, unexpectedly comic and altogether amazing work... just a few blocks from my home. This is the kind of thing you feel you can only travel huge distances to see. But there it is: New Haven should be talking about Phantom Palace - in a number of languages - for years to come
...nothing to match the refinement of seamless, Mayan influenced concerto for ensemble Ah Paaxo'ob by the Mexican Hilda Paredes
Its rhythmic vitality seduced an audience that was previously sceptical to any proposal by this Latin woman... the reaction was shocking, but with a telluric presence, like our volcanoes.
What the music of the Maya's sounded like, nobody knows anymore. But the Mexican composer Hilda Paredes searches for answers in each recorded thought, in each numerological symbolism, and thus in the roots of her own culture
We are confronted with an exhaustive stylistic diversity, a score full of interesting technical resources and a truly contemporary artistic proposal.
Five pieces of a diverse chronology, structure and nature which offer a good portrait of her wide palette of resources. The five selected pieces encompass a wide period from 1996 to 2013 and are unified by their variety. A characteristic glisandi, an idiomatic percussive note or the effects in the wind instruments travel through them. A very versatile music in continuous tension and distention.