Gabriela Ortiz

Altar de Muertos

for string quartet

About the work

The tradition of the Day of the Dead festivities in Mexico is the source of inspiration for the creation of Altar de Muertos, for string quartet, whose ideas could reflect the internal search between the real and the magic, a duality always present in Mexican culture, from the past to the present.

Altar de Muertos is divided into four parts, each of these describes diverse moods, traditions, and the spiritual worlds which shape the concept of death in Mexico, plus my own personal concept of death.

SPECS

Duration:

37'

Movements:

I. Ofrenda
II. Mictlan (place of dead)
III. Danza Macabra
IV. La Calaca

Instrumentation:

string quartet

Tech:

Optional: Each musician can put a Mexican mask on.

BACKGROUND

Date of composition:

1997

Commissionner:

Kronos Quartet and Inroads, a program of arts international with funds from the Ford Foundation, the multi-arts production fund of the Rockefeller Foundation, and Festival Internacional Cervantino

Performances:

Premiere: April, 1997; Theater Artaud, San Francisco, CA; Kronos Quartet

ABOUT THE COMPOSER

Two Latin Grammy nominated Gabriela Ortiz is one of the foremost composers in Mexico today, and one of the most vibrant musicians emerging in the international scene. Her musical language achieves an extraordinary and expressive synthesis of tradition and the avant-garde; combining high art, folk music and jazz in novel, frequently refined and always personal ways. Her compositions are credited for being both entertaining and immediate as well as profound and sophisticated; she achieves a balance between highly organized structure and improvisatory spontaneity. Although based in Mexico, her music is commissioned and performed all over the world.

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