Repertoire Search

Gabriela Lena Frank

Publisher: G. Schirmer

Three Latin-American Dances for Orchestra (2003),
G Schirmer Inc
Sub Category
Large Orchestra
Year Composed
17 Minutes
Programme Note
Gabriela Lena Frank Three Latin-American Dances for Orchestra (2003),
I. Introduction: Jungle Jaunt
This introductory scherzo opens in an unabashed tribute to the Symphonic Dances from West Side Story by Leonard Berstein before turning to harmonies and rhythms derived from various pan-Amazonian dance forms. These jungle references are sped through (so as to be largely hidden) while echoing the energy of the Argentinian composer Alberto Ginastera who was long fascinated with indigenous latin american cultures.

II. Highland Harawi
This movement is the heart of Three Latin American Dances, and evokes the Andean harawi, a melancholy adagio traditionally sung by a single bamboo quena flute so as to accompany a single dancer. As mountain music, the ambiance of mystery, vastness, and echo is evoked. The fast middle section simulates what I imagine to be the "zumballyu" of Illapa ˜ a great spinning top belonging to Illapa, the Peruvian-Inca weather deity of thunder, lightning, and rain. Illapa spins his great top in the highland valleys of the Andes before allowing a return to the more staid harawi. The music of the Hungarian composer, Bela Bartok, is eluded to.

III. The Mestizo Waltz
As if in relief to the gravity of the previous movement, this final movement is a lighthearted tribute to the "mestizo" or mixed-race music of the South American Pacific coast. In particular, it evokes the "romancero" tradition of popular songs and dances that mix influences from indigenous Indian cultures, African slave cultures, and western brass bands.

— Gabriela Lena Frank

  • Ensemble
    Utah Symphony
    Keith Lockhart
    Reference Recordings:
  • G. Schirmer / AMP:
Gabriela Lena Frank’s Three Latin American Dances...enjoy an invigoratingly compelling reading. The work [draws] on inspiration from the Bernstein of “West Side Story” and from Bartok in its rhythmic drive and Ginastera in its thematic ideas and harmonic language – all of which Lockhart captures in his stylish interpretation.
Edward Reichel, Deseret News,09/04/2006
Gabriela Lena Frank, an up-and-coming composer, is an exciting addition to the oeuvre of classical music. Her Latin American Dances paint vivid, evocative images to bold, bright colors. The first movement began with a tribute to Bernstein's Symphonic Dances, but quickly established a personality and flavor of its own. Although her style diverged from Bernstein, she maintained a spiritual kinship throughout the entire piece with her angular rhythms, harmonies and sustained energy that paralleled "Rumble" throughout. Frank's own sound particularly manifested itself, however, in the exotic second movement. This highly dramatic piece evoked the images and feel of the Andes with its richly textured, mysterious and almost primal sound. The third movement returned to the colorful energy of the first, even alluding to the first movement with its opening two-note tease.
Rebecca Cline Howard, Deseret Morning News (Salt Lake City),01/01/0001
Close X

Newsletter Signup

Enter your email address to keep up to date with the latest news and special offers from Wise Music Classical.
Your data is secure and you can unsubscribe at any time. Read our Privacy Policy

Click here to receive regular news
© Copyright 2020 Wise Music Classical. Part of Wise Music Group.