Gabriela Ortiz

Hominum

Suite for orchestra

About the work

Gabriela Ortiz’s Hominum (“Humanity”) plays with a kind of synaesthesia, creating a metaphorical sound world between certain colours and matter states to social, political, and philosophical concerns central to the human condition.

It was commissioned by the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de México, and its Artistic Director, Carlos Miguel Prieto, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Political Constitution of Mexico (1917-2017). The following information was provided for the work’s British premiere (Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, November 2, 2017) by flutist and composer Alejandro Escuer, a faculty colleague of Ortiz at UNAM who has recorded an album of her flute music: “During the process of composing Hominum: Concerto for Orchestra in 2016, a kind of synesthesia evolved as certain colors, images, and/or moods took on a gradual and metaphoric significance vis-à-vis the social, philosophical, and political concerns that are central to the human condition. The work is divided into four movements; their titles allude to the mysterious associations and creative manifestations of music through a series of characteristics that represent our existence as a society.

“Black marks the beginning of our primitive, archaic, primeval coexistence among dark rituals, habits, and customs ruled by instinct, elements, and the chaos that prevents humankind from looking out for the common good.

“Light, on the other hand, represents the world of ideas, laws, concepts tailored to a social coexistence founded on principles that, first and foremost, prioritize organization and order.

“In Water describes the equilibrium between the needs of the individual and society at large, the reconciliation of both sides of humanity, two spheres that, floating in suspension, levitate to enable the generation of creativity, transformation, and fulfillment.

“Finally, Red represents our strength upon confronting different manifestations of injustice; it is the emotional product of chaos caused by a lack of equilibrium, impunity, and the corruption of ideas and matter; it is the indignation and struggle against all that keeps us as a society from living together in harmony.”

SPECS

Duration:

Movements:

I. Black
II. Light
III. In Water
IV. Red

Instrumentation:

Alto flute, two oboes, English horn, two clarinets, bass clarinet, two bassoons,
contrabassoon, four horns, four trumpets, three trombones, tuba, timpani, two harps,
piano, celesta, strings

Tech:

BACKGROUND

Date of composition:

2016

Commissionner:

Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de México, and its Artistic Director, Carlos
Miguel Prieto, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Political Constitution of Mexico (1917-2017).

Performances:

Premiere: January 27, 2017, Juilliard Orchestra, New York City, Carlos Miguel Prieto conducting

This piece was recently performed by the New World Symphony in November 2019.

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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