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Interview with Gabriela Lena Frank

Charles T. Downey, Gabriela Lena Frank Comes to Annapolis (The Washingtonian, November 15):

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Gabriela Lena Frank, Hilos (inter alia), ALIAS Chamber Ensemble, Gabriela Lena Frank (piano)
The Annapolis Symphony Orchestra is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and its future looks bright. It has released a debut CD on a new self-published label, and received a generous donation from Elizabeth Richebourg Rea (in honor of her father, Philip Richebourg), which has underwritten the anniversary festivities and then some. ASO music director José-Luis Novo has bravely made room in his programming for contemporary music, and this weekend’s concerts (November 18 and 19 in Annapolis’s Maryland Hall) will feature the local premiere of a recent piece by American composer Gabriela Lena Frank, who will be composer-in-residence in Annapolis for the next two seasons.

La Llorona, written in 2007 for the Houston Symphony and their principal violist, Wayne Brooks, is an evocative tone poem for viola and orchestra. Lasting about 20 minutes, it tells the story of a llorona, or “crying woman” spirit, a legend known in many Latin American countries that depicts the weeping ghost of a murdered woman, often by a river’s edge. The composer has summarized the story as a “portrait of the internal shift that happens as the llorona accepts her new existence.” In seven sections, played as one continuous movement, the music follows the spirit as she awakens from slumber, tries to escape, witnesses the dance of chullpas (Peruvian skeletal spirits), hears the comforting song of the moon, and ultimately accepts her fate and sinks into the shadows. [Continue reading]

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