Originally from Tijuana, Baja California (Mexico), Enrique Gonzalez-Medina has presented new works with soloists, ensembles and orchestras from Mexico, the United States and Colombia.
In 2001, Euterpe Opera Theatre and Tijuana Opera premiered "Serafina y Arcángela" ("Serafina and Arcangela"), his first opera. He was also commissioned by Pacific Serenades to compose the harpsichord quartet "Concierto barroco" ("Baroque Concerto").
In 2002, the guitarist Felix Bullock premiered his guitar concerto "Concierto de Medellín" ("Medellin Concerto") in Colombia. The Mexican duo of soprano Claudia Montiel and guitarist Carlos Bernal also recorded his song cycle "Los versos de la maestra" ("The Teacher's Verses") for their CD "La Cuerda del Tiempo" ("The String of Time") on the Quindecim Recordings label (Mexico).
In 2003 he composed the children's opera "How Nanita Learned to Make Flan", a commission from Cincinnati Opera. The opera was recently premiered in January 2004 and has had many performances by Cincinnati Opera Education touring ensemble. He was also a recipient of a grant by the Baja California Cultural Institute, for the "Baja California Songbook" ("El cancionero bajacaliforniano"), a song collection project of twenty-five settings of poems by Baja California poets.
Enrique Gonzalez-Medina studied composition in Mexico attending the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and in the United States, he graduated from The Mannes College of Music (B.M.) and CSLA (M.M.). Since 1997, he is a member of the piano faculty of the Pasadena Conservatory of Music.
about the music:
Some years ago, I felt that, in spite of having studied with wonderful and inspiring teachers, the compositional processes that I had learned were too restrictive. I needed to change direction and compose a different kind of music.
I was, and still am, very much attracted to Latin American dance rhythms, and I decided that I would try my hand at composing music by incorporating these wonderful rhythms. The compositons on this CD present examples of this new practice.
All the music heard here originated with my improvisation at the piano, and involves combining traditional structures, modern Latin American dances, functional tonality, as well as non-traditional chord sequences.
I had the opportunity to read the novel "Concierto barroco" written in 1974 by the brilliant Cuban writer
Alejo Carpentier (1904-1980). The novel mentions a chance encounter in the city of Venice at the beginning of the 18th Century between three great musicians of the time: Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1980), George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) and Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741). In an amusing passage, it tells how they get together and play their favorite instruments, Scarlatti at the harpsichord, Handel at the organ and Vivaldi at the violin, and perform an exceptional jam session.
I did borrow the novel's title for my quartet but, in spite of my great admiration for the music of Scarlatti, Handel and Vivaldi, my intention in "Concierto barroco" ("Baroque Concerto") was not to imitate these or other great composers of the 18th Century, but rather, to create an original baroque musical style of my own. My objective was not unlike that of the Mexican composer Manuel M. Ponce (1882-1948) in his baroque compositions for guitar, or the Brazilian Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959) in his Bachianas Brasileiras cycle. The composition of the pieces involved combining traditional forms of the baroque period, of the Spanish baroque as well as modern Latin American dances.
The live recording is from the performance of the composition's premiere, during Pacific Serenades 16th Season in Los Angeles. The concerto's performers were Clayton Haslop, violin, Mark Carlson, flute, David Speltz, cello, and Patricia Mabee, harpsichord.
MUSIC FOR COOKING
Written shortly after finishing my first opera, the three piano dance pieces that make up the suite "Música para cocinar" ("Music for Cooking") were composed in the Autumn of 2001 and are here performed by my good friend, the pianist Elizabeth Babor.
THE FOUR IMAGINARY SEASONS & NINE WAYS TO CARESS A WOMAN
Not being a guitarist myself, I've had the luck of meeting many fine guitarists willing to help me understand this extraordinary instrument. The guitarist Felix Bullock has been an excellent collaborator and friend, and with his help, I've been able to compose and record several works for the guitar. In this CD there are two examples of this: in a duet with the cellist Daniel Pereira, three of the four movements from the guitar and cello suite "Las cuatro estaciones imaginarias" ("The Four Imaginary Seasons"), and performing as a soloist, four of the nine pieces from the guitar suite "Nueve maneras de acariciar a una mujer" ("Nine Ways to Caress a Woman").
Now and then, I find myself composing in a more humorous vein. A while back, while reading a newspaper on a bus on my way to the University in Mexico City, I discovered Efraín Huerta's "poemínimos" (minimal-poems). I was delighted to read a few of them that were printed and I thought that they would make fine lyrics for songs. Many years later after that bus ride, I finally set seven of Huerta's poemínimos to make this orchestral cycle. The songs are scored for tenor and chamber orchestra, and are sung in the original Spanish. The Mexican Efraín Huerta (1914-1982) wrote throughout his lifetime about 150 humorous poems which he titled "poemínimos". They make fun of sex, unrequited love, politicians, international corporations, and of course, himself as well as other poets.
In the recording, we hear the tenor Gabriel Reoyo-Pazos, with the Baja California Orchestra, under Eduardo García Barrios.
The poems from "Siete poemínimos" ("Seven Poeminimos"):
1. MANSA HIPÉRBOLE
Los lunes, miércoles y viernes
soy un indigente sexual;
Lo mismo que los martes,
Los jueves y los sábados.
Los domingos descanso.
1. TAME HYPERBOLE
Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays
I'm a sexual beggar;
The same on Tuesdays,
Thursdays and Saturdays.
On Sundays I rest.
A la obra
On the job
3. EL CINTURON
Como tres meses
Pero ya sabia
3. THE BELT
I got it
I met her
But I knew
Would love it
4. PLAGIO XVI
4. PLAGIARISM XVI
Simplemente me dijo
Que me fuera
A tearing apart
Quite simply I was told
To get my butt
But very muchísimo
Yo los hago
I make them
But very clear
7. MARKETING TECHNIQUE