Once again, the Figueroa Music and Arts Project is poised to take the Albuquerque music experience to a new and exciting place: the rich tempos and harmonies of Latin America interpreted through the tight precision of a chamber music ensemble. It will feature the familiar stringed instruments and piano of the traditional chamber ensemble augmented with flute and clarinet.
Latin American composers from the turn of the 20th century to recent Latin Grammy award nominees are included on the lush and varied program. “Fiesta Latina, A Feast of Hispanic Chamber Music” is being presented at 7 p.m. February 20 at the Concert Hall of the Robertson and Sons Violin Shop.
“New Mexico was the farthest north outpost of the Spanish Empire, whose legacy is the Spanish-speaking countries of Central and South America – as well as much of the Caribbean islands,” said Guillermo Figueroa, music director of The Figueroa Project. “So, it is only fitting that New Mexicans sample the rich musical heritage of this wide region.”
From Argentina’s Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992) and his fast-paced La Murte del Angel, to Uruguay’s Miguel del Aguila (b 1957), and his lilting Salón Buenos Aires, this chamber music program moves across the geographical expanse and the indigenous variety of the region’s musical heritage. Del Aguila may be familiar to Albuquerqueans from his 2005-2007 position as composer-in-residence with the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, and his opera “Time and Again Barelas,” celebrating this city’s tricentennial.
It is music to impel the listener to stir and sway in his seat, as the rhythms of traditional Latin dances from classic bolero to more recent popular styles are presented. Consider Puerto Rico’s foremost composer of popular music Rafael Hernandez (1892-1965) and his Potpourri de Canciones Favoritas. Patrons old enough to remember will be reminded of the music of Ricky Ricardo in the perennial television series “I Love Lucy.”
Rounding out the program will be selections by Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959) of Brazil, Pablo Ziegler of Argentina (b 1944), known as the leading exponent of “nuevo tango,” Ernesto Grenet of Cuba, and Carlos Franzetti (b 1948) of Argentina.
Serious music this most decidedly is. Stuffy it most decidedly is not. Music to capture the imagination and memory it most decidedly is. The audience will walk away from this concert with wide smiles and rolling over one melody or another in their minds as they dance out the doors with the feeling they have been on a musical odyssey across the expanse of the Spanish Americas.
Tickets are priced at $52, and can be obtained at www.figueroaproject.org.
“Fiesta Latina” is The Project’s first concert of the new year. “Music, Dinosaurs and Dance – A Fun Family Frolic,” an event for both adults and children, will follow on March 10 at 2 p.m. at the KiMo Theatre. Further information and ticket purchase can be accessed at the Project website.