Program Notes

El Mundo de Mariachi
(The World of Mariachi)

Sunday, October 13, 2013, 3:00 PM

Addison-Penzak JCC, Los Gatos

Dr. Edward C. Harris, conductor
Chris Wilhite, trumpet
Mariachi Tapatio de Salvador Gonzalez

Amparito Roca, Spanish March

Jaime Texidor (1885 – 1957)

Jaime Texidor Dalmau was a composer, conductor, and publisher who lived most of his life in Baracaldo, a city in northern Spain. He was born in Barcelona, and it is said that he played saxophone in a military band for several years. He conducted the Baracaldo municipal band from 1927 to 1936. He composed so much band music during this period that he established his own publishing company. Many of his compositions were in the style of the paso doble, or “double step.” This lively music is a fast and dramatic march in duple meter, modeled after the drama of the bull ring.

There is some mystery attached to Amparito Roca. Although Texidor’s name is on this edition, the music may have been written in 1925 by British bandmaster Reginald Ridewood. It is believed that Ridewood wrote the music but failed to apply for a copyright. Texidor rearranged the piece for Spanish bands and reissued it under copyright as his own composition in 1936. Variations in dynamics in the main melody and ornamentation from the flute add color to the composition.

La Virgen de la Macarena

Arranged by Charles Koff

La Virgen de la Macarena is a traditional bullfighting song made famous by the great trumpet virtuoso Rafael Mendez. Many other great players have performed this standard trumpet solo, including Doc Severinson, Al Hirt, Herb Alpert, Maynard Ferguson, and the Canadian Brass. It is believed that bullfighters in Seville, Spain, may have prayed to the statue of Our Lady of Hope Macarena before their fights.

Suspiros de España

Antonio Álvarez (1867 – 1903), edited by Charles A. Wiley

Álvarez was a Spanish pianist and composer. Orphaned at a young age, Álvarez and his brother studied music at the National School of Music in Madrid. Álvarez was a virtuoso pianist, but he began focusing more on composition after graduation and wrote more than 20 operettas. He moved to Cartagena in 1897 and resided there until his death.

Suspiros de España (“Sighs of Spain”) was written in 1902. Although it was composed as an instrumental march, it was popular to add lyrics to the tune, and it has been sung and recorded by popular Spanish singers. The lyrics typically express the beauty of Spain and yearning for homeland. One version declares:

Glorious land of my love, blessed land of perfume and passion;
Spain, in every flower at your feet sighs a heart.
Woe is me! Why do I wander, Spain, from you?

Five Miniatures

Joaquin Turina (1882 – 1949), arranged for concert band by John Krance

Spanish-born Joaquin Turina studied piano and composition in both Spain and Paris. Endeavoring to break from the French-dominated influences of the early 20th century, Turina created a new and unique Spanish style of music. At the start of World War I he returned to Spain to work as a composer, teacher, and critic and was appointed as Professor of Composition at the Royal Conservatory in Madrid in 1931.

Written in 1930, Five Miniatures is characteristic of Turina’s nationalistic and impressionistic style.

El Salón México

Aaron Copland (1900 – 1990), transcribed for concert band by Mark H. Hindsley

Born in Brooklyn, Aaron Copland has been called the “dean of American music.” He studied with Rubin Goldmark, and later with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. Returning to the United States in 1924, Copland sought a style “…that could speak of universal things in a vernacular of American speech rhythms.” He seemed to know what to remove from the music of the European tradition, simplifying the chords and opening the melodic language, in order to make a fresh idiom. Copland’s best-known ballet, theater and orchestral music includes Appalachian Spring, Billy the Kid, Rodeo, Lincoln Portrait, and Fanfare for the Common Man. His music evokes the beauty and grandeur of his homeland and of its heroes and workers. He was a great teacher to composers and to audiences of laymen. Copland was often called upon to conduct and narrate his own works, and it is sometimes said that Copland set America’s soul to music. The year 1990 saw the loss of both Aaron Copland and his devoted student, Leonard Bernstein.

El Salón México was inspired by a visit to a popular dance club by the same name, during a trip to Mexico in 1932. Copland described the scene and its inspiration in his autobiography:El Salón México was inspired by a visit to a popular dance club by the same name, during a trip to Mexico in 1932. Copland described the scene and its inspiration in his autobiography:

“Perhaps my piece might never have been written if it hadn’t been for the existence of the Salón México. I remember reading about it for the first time in a tourist guide book: ‘Harlem-type nightclub for the peepul [sic], grand Cuban orchestra’…In some inexplicable way, while milling about in those crowded halls, one really felt a live contact with the Mexican people — the electric sense one sometimes gets in far-off places, of suddenly knowing the essence of a people — their humanity, their separate shyness, their dignity and unique charm.”

Copland quoted at least nine Mexican folk tunes from two collections he received during his trip. Most of the tunes use meters of 6/8 or 3/4 time, sometimes in alternation. A trumpet solo following the introduction is the longest quoted melody, a tune called “El Mosco.” Fast sections alternate with the sleepy melody of the “siesta” section. The rhythmic intensity and melodic complexity build toward the finale when, as Copland writes, “I present the folk tunes simultaneously in their original keys and rhythms. The result is a kind of polytonality that achieves the frenetic whirl I had in mind before the end, when all is resolved with a plain unadorned triad.” Copland described the immediate success of this piece during a rehearsal for the premiere, when “…as I entered the hall the orchestral players, who were in the thick of a Beethoven symphony, suddenly stopped what they were doing and began to applaud vigorously.”

Lola Flores

Alfred Sadel and Terig Tucci (1897 – 1973), arranged by John Krance

Tucci was born and studied music in Buenos Aires. He became a musical director and arranger for radio in New York City after coming to the United States in 1923. He worked as a cultural consultant on Latin American music for NBC, directed the International General Electric Orchestra, and recorded for RCA Victor Recording Company.

Lola Flores was named for a famous Spanish flamenco singer and dancer. She began performing in her father’s bar as a child, and she later toured the Americas and had a successful recording career in film and music. This piece is one of the most famous paso dobles, evoking the pageantry of the matadors’ majestic entrance to the ring.

Danzón No. 2

Arturo Márquez (b. 1950), transcribed by Oliver Nickel

Márquez was born in Sonora, Mexico, in 1950. His father and grandfather were Mexican folk and mariachi musicians. He learned to play the piano while still living in Mexico and learned to play the violin and trombone after his family moved to southern California. He studied piano, music theory and composition at the Conservatory of Music of Mexico, the Taller de Composición of the Institute of Fine Arts of Mexico, the California Institute of the Arts, and in Paris with Jacques Castérède. Márquez received the 2006 “Medalla de Oro de Bellas Artes” (Gold Medal of Fine Arts), the highest honor given to artists by Mexico’s National Institute of Fine Arts. Márquez has received commissions from many Mexican universities as well as the Rockefeller Foundation. He has received grants and awards from foundations in Mexico, France, and the United States.


José Pablo Moncayo (1912 – 1958), transcribed for band by Leroy Osmon

As a composer, performer, and conductor, Moncayo was at the vanguard of Mexican music in the early 20th century. He studied piano with Hernandez Moncaya and earned his living playing in jazz orchestras throughout Mexico City. He was appointed pianist and percussionist with the Orquesta Sinfonica de Mexico and later became its conductor. Moncayo also studied composition with the orchestra’s founder, Carlos Chávez. Inspired by Chávez’s commitment to indigenous material, Moncayo formed the “Grupo de los Cuatro” (Group of the Four) with three other composers. The group’s goal was to create modern Mexican music based on native folklore, using contemporary harmonic and contrapuntal techniques.

The huapango is a Mexican song form that incorporates voice, dance, and instrumental accompaniment. The melodies and structure are derived from the music of 16th century Spain, yet the rhythms are characteristic of the Americas. The huapango alternates between time signatures, displaying complex cross-rhythms. Huapango! was Moncayo’s earliest attempt at this synthesis, and is based on three folk songs. Its vitality, textural variety, and melodic grace particularly illustrate Moncayo’s brilliance as an orchestrator. In addition to the graceful scoring for percussion, the work offers solo opportunities for trumpet, trombone, and harp. Carlos Chávez, Moncayo’s former conductor and teacher, conducted the premiere in Mexico City in 1941. More than seventy years after its composition, it remains one of Mexico’s most popular compositions.

Zacatecas, Mexican March

Genaro Codina (1852 – 1901), arranged by Andrew Glover

Codina played several instruments as a child and preferred the folk harp. As an adult, he was known for his musical ability, as well as for his talent as a manufacturer of balloons and fireworks, which were in great demand at folk festivals. He was imprisoned several times under the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz, during which time he played his harp and learned many folk songs.

Zacatecas was the winning entry in a march composition contest in 1891. Dedicated to the governor Aréchiga, it is the anthem of the Mexican state of Zacatecas. It has become known as “Mexico’s second national anthem.”

SJWS program notes are edited by Karen Berry from the composers’ notes, Band Notes by Norm Smith and:

Foothill College Symphonic Band
J. W. Pepper
Silver Clef Music
Keystone Concert Band
Oak Ridge Symphony Orchestra
Music Sales Classical
Eighth Noe Publications
Redwood Symphony
Cascade Winds
Peermsuic Classical