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Reykjavík Chamber Orchestra – Aires Tropicales

Classical Sundays

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In our last concert of the season, the Reykjavík Chamber Orchestra invites you to a musical feast of southern delicacies.

The title of the concert Aires Tropicales refers to one piece on the program and also to the origin of the composers who come from Brazil, Cuba, Uruguay, Spain and Argentina. The concert offers a lot of variety, including spanish ballet music, cuban dances and some argentine tango arrangements which will definitely put you in a lively tango mood.

The quintet by the brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos was written in Paris 1928 and premiered in 1930.  At that time he had already composed a number of pieces with the title “Choro” referring to Brazilian folk music, which includes improvisation and complicated rhythms. The piece is in one movement but can be divided musically into smaller sections.  The music is mostly edgy and chaotic but in between there are more lyrical moments. The instrumentation is interesting. The composer changes the conventional wind quintet into an unconventional one by replacing the french horn with an english horn, making the group become a woodwind quintet.

From Brazil we travel to Cuba. Paquito D’Rivera is a cuban saxophone and clarinet player.  Aires Tropicales was composed in 1994 and the Chamber Orchestra plays five movements from it’s original seven movements. It starts with a short movement Alborada. Alborada is a serenade usually played on a bagpipe or oboe accompanied by a small drum. The composer chooses to use the clarinet to start the piece. Habanera is a slow cuban dance, here in 3/4 rhythm, played by three musicians.  Vals Venezolano is a lively waltz from Venezuela followed by an energetic cuban  dance Contradanza. The finale Afro, starts with a slow solo from the alto flute but soon a strong 6/8 rhythm takes over and is repeated in various forms till the end.

Miguel del Águila is born in Montevideo, Uruguay. He studied composition in  San Francisco, lived in Vienna for ten years studying music and composing and
has resided in Los Angeles since 1992. His music is never far from his  south american roots, as is obvious in Tango Trio which was written 2002 in New York. Nostalgic quotes from the golden age of Argentine tango and Uruguayan tango can be heard.  But the piece does not follow the form of the traditional Argentine
tango. It takes a different path which includes Brazilian samba and dances from Uruguay.

Manuel de Falla wrote the ballet El amor brujo in 1914-1915.  Later he made several arrangements of the piece for smaller groups and the Chamber Orchestra plays a version he finished in 1926.  In the ballet the young gypsy girl Candela is haunted by the ghost of her late husband.  To get rid of him, all the gypsies form a ring around a fire at midnight and Candela dances the dance of fire which brings back the ghost and they dance together. The dance gets more frantic and faster and at last the ghost is drawn into the fire and disappears forever.

Another piece by Miguel del Aguila on the program is Disagree! for clarinet, violin,  cello and piano.  According to the composer the piece is overloaded with themes
that are obviously very difficult to combine.  The instruments keep colliding with each other but gradually become more friendly and playful where everybody realizes that they can make music in spite of the themes being of different origin. The various themes come mostly from south american dances like Malambo, Vals Criollo, Tango and Milonga.

The final piece of the concert is a suite with three songs from the Argentinian tango genius Astor Piazzolla. The arrangements were especially made for the  Reykjavik Chamber Orchestra for this occasion by Marcelo Costas an Argentinian pianist who specializes in arranging and conducting the works of Astor Piazzola.



Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959)  – Quinteto (em forma de chôros)

Paquito D’Rivera (1948)  – Aires Tropicales
Vals Venezolando

Miguel del Águila (1957)  – Tango Trio op. 7


Manuel de Falla  (1876-1946)  – Pantomime & Ritual Fire Dance From El Amor Brujo, Spain
Danza ritual del fuego 

Miguel del Águila  – Disagree!

Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992)  – Suite for 9 instruments. Arr. Marcelo Costas
Imágenes 676
Romance del diablo
La muerte del ángel