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  • Dorothée Jourdain

The world premiere of "Altar de Cuerda" by Gabriela Ortiz, reviewed by Los Angeles Times!

Updated: Jun 28, 2022

On May 14th and 15th, the Los Angeles Philharmonic was premiering "Altar de Cuerda", a brand new work of Gabriela Ortiz, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel.

The new brilliant work of Ortiz was paired with the interpretation of Stravinsky's «Firebird».

For Ortiz, an “altar” is an environmental construct, a veneration of our place in the world we inhabit. “Cuerda” is the altar of strings and was written for Dueñas. The concerto consists of three movements, each an idealized altar. The first is “Morisco Chilango,” which stands for a Moorish Mexico City native, and begins, as does Reid, in a state of shimmering strings, but is cut through with startlingly sharp percussive attacks and exciting rhythmic action of a city coming to life.

The performance of the work by young violin virtuoso, María Dueñas, was highly praised by the Los Angeles Times in these words:

« Ortiz also listened to the harmonies of the environment, as she has been doing in her nearly two-decade relationship with the orchestra. [...]

The beautiful, bass-heavy central movement, “Canto Abierto” (Open Song), conjures a mystical atmosphere of early Mexican churches. A bass drum booms, deep strings give mildewy cushion and timpani glide down as if to the center of the Earth. Wind instruments are the wind. The glistening solo violin does the singing. A final chord in the orchestra sounds electrically charged. [...]

[...] “Cuerda” was dedicated to Dueñas but more so because she is already an exceptional musician. Poised and unshowy, she owns this exceedingly difficult concerto. Her tone is slender but so purposefully focused that it easily carries. You can tell that it is purposeful, because when Ortiz asks for a plum-rich, vibrating expressiveness, she manages that brilliantly. »

Click here to read the great article in its entirety!

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