La Vida es Bella (2019), for female chorus, piano, violoncello and percussion




Commissioned by the Women’s HOPE Chorale of St. Louis; Leanne Magnuson Latuda, Artistic Director
Based on Gabriela Mistral’s poem “Decalogue of the Artist”

“La Vida es Bella” (Life is Beautiful) was specially composed to celebrate love, women, beauty and art. Inspired in the invigorating rhythm of the Merengue (the national dance of my country, the Dominican Republic), this music brings to life Mistral’s sensitive textsconcerning the existence of an Artist.

The piece starts with an extremely calm and flexible atmosphere announced by the Triangle, where the Piano extends our perception of time, accompanying an expressive Violoncello solo with sustained sonorities. Two mezzosoprano solos open a soft dialogue with the poem main words, as a preamble to the first “a capella” intervention of the Chorus.

From here the music builds continuously in excitement, passion and energy, incorporating some Caribbean percussion instruments like the Claves and Pandero con Parche (Tambourine). A ravishing “Jaleo” (main section of a Merengue) brings us to the culmination of this dance, now revealing the original song in which the work is inspired. It is the Merengue I danced with my beloved wife BenedettaOrsi in the day of our wedding in the Dominican Republic. This music is dedicated to her honoring all the beauty that she has brought to my life.

Darwin Aquino, St. Louis, April 11, 2019.



The beauty you create
shall rise
as compassion
The beauty from your heart in song

The Beauty you create
shall be known as compassion
and shall console the hearts of men.

You shall create beauty
not to excite the senses
but to give sustenance
to the soul

You shall love beauty
shall rise from your heart in song.
You shall love, you shall rise

Beauty shall rise from you
you shall love beauty in song


Belleza, amarás la belleza
subirá de tu corazón al canto

Creando belleza
para los sentidos
y como alimento
del alma

Tu belleza
subirá de tu corazón
consolará el corazón

Tu belleza subirá
de tu corazón al canto

Yo sólo se que tú, sé que tú eres belleza.
Spoken (hablado): Muchagracia!


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