Gabriela Ortiz: Revolución diamantina

Gabriela Ortiz: Revolución diamantina

Gabriela Ortiz and the Los Angeles Philharmonic go back a long way. To 2003, in fact, when the orchestra’s then music director Esa-Pekka Salonen conducted the premiere of her percussion concerto Altar de Piedra (Stone Altar). Two decades later, the relationship is stronger than ever, as Revolución diamantina (Glitter Revolution), this new all-Ortiz release, vibrantly demonstrates. Visceral colors and a dynamic rhythmic impetus are central to Ortiz’s music, and a large part of what audiences find attractive. But in the ballet score Revolución diamantina a strong social justice element is at work too. The piece’s title references a march which took place in August 2019 in Mexico City, following the alleged rape of a teenage girl by four police officers. Pink glitter was thrown at the local Security Minister in protest. “Feminicide is a major issue in my country,” Ortiz tells Apple Music Classical. “In Mexico and Latin America, every single day a woman is killed by a man, and there are mothers whose daughters have disappeared or whose bodies are found in the desert. When I got the opportunity to write a ballet, I wanted to write something really strong, and immediately I decided to use voices in the composition.” Eight women’s voices are woven into the textures of Revolución diamantina, and some of what they sing is based on recordings made at women’s protest marches in Mexico. “They are part of the orchestra, not soloists,” says Ortiz. “They represent all of the women who are fighting these injustices.” Imaginative sound combinations are also a feature of Altar de cuerda (String Altar), the violin concerto which opens the program, performed here by violinist Maria Dueñas, for whom it was written. Its middle movement meditates on the “open chapels” built for indigenous peoples to use in 16th-century Mexican churches. “As a metaphor, I wanted to create open spaces for the orchestra, from the lower register to the higher register,” Ortiz explains. “And I needed something really mysterious and enigmatic for that, and the sound of the glasses melted into these really slowly growing chords.” The ebullient tone poem Kauyumari, a piece commissioned to celebrate emergence from the pandemic, completes the album. It’s a project Ortiz is extremely proud of, and she heaps praise on the LA Philharmonic and conductor Gustavo Dudamel for the outstanding qualities they bring. “The drama and the energy of live performance is all there, something you can never get in a studio recording,” she says. “Gustavo, you know, he can read my mind, he understands everything about my music. And working with the musicians of the Los Angeles Philharmonic is one of the most incredible things that ever happened in my career.”

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