Dedicated to the FIU School of Music and Robert Davidovici
This new and first Violin Concerto is extremely close to my heart. It celebrates, as many of my pieces since 2007, our Dominican folkloric music (Hispanic and African), but this time with a very special sense of gratitude to my alma mater: the Florida International University School of Music. There I had some of my best musical years and started a life time artistic collaboration with maestro Robert Davidovici, who deeply motivated me to compose this piece.
The first movement “Gracia” (which could mean either “Thanks” or a “Blessing” in Spanish) incorporates some of the most important Dominican percussion instruments,like the Guira de metal and Pandero con parche, in an improvisatory and rhythmical opening around one sound (G pitch). This will become the most significantsonority in the entire piece. After, the violin exposes two main themes, one with energetic double stops and another of a cantabile-ornamented character, which can be heard again in a cyclical way.
The second movement is a slow meditation of an African religious song (Palos), that I devote to the Virgin Mary,by the name of “AeeMamásiee”. A female voice inside the orchestra joins a colorful set of percussion mallets (Glockenspiel, Vibraphone, Antique Cymbals) to create a soothing spiritual moment. The violin makes variations of this song while connecting naturally with the third movement. This one, entitled “Cadencia: ConciertosFavoritos”, is a brief recollection of some of the most famous Violin Concertos that Davidovici and I did together at FIU (Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Mendelssohn and Beethoven), using the music of the second movement as a humorous harmonic connection between them.
Finally, we arrive to “Jacana de Colores”. The Jacana dance is part of the ritual complex of “Sarandunga” that can still be found in many places in the Dominican Republic, especially in the south of the Island. It is not my first Jacana as I composed one for solo violin back in 2013, that is used for this fourth movement. This powerful rhythmic is combined with the two main themes of the concerto, plus the “AeeMamásiee” song, in a multilayer and incessant texture that collides into a bright final violin cadence to close the work.
Darwin Aquino, St. Louis MO, Jan. 26 2019