The string quartets of Miguel Bernal Jimenez and Silvestre Revueltas: twentieth century Mexican composers
AuthorPierce, Charlotte E.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractMexico, a land of contrast and mystery, was the birthplace of the two composers included in this study. These two composers were chosen for several reasons: the two men represent the enigma of the country that influenced their development and each of them molded Mexico's popular musical heritage into a classical format. Miguel Bernal Jiménez was considered in 1941 as the most brilliant composer of Catholic Mexico; Silvestre Revueltas received the title of Mexico's greatest composer, yet today the composers are almost unknown in the United States. Arizona, and Tucson in particular, are situated so near to Mexico that it is important to become aware of that country's varied musical heritage in the classical idiom, as well as its other cultural and historical aspects. As a resident in Mexico for three years with a previously acquired interest in Latin American music, the writer became increasingly involved in study of the music. Her residence laid a foundation for research into these two composers. When the Orquesta Sinfónica del Estado de México, one of Mexico's major symphony orchestras based in Toluca near Mexico City, made a nationwide tour of the United States in June 1975, Revueltas' orchestral composition Sensemayá received several performances. The Tucson Symphony also performed Sensemayá in 1979 with Dr. George Trautwein conducting. The writer found this work to be fascinating and she wondered if Revueltas had written works for cello; with research she found that he did not write for cello solo, but that he composed for string quartet. The writer first encountered the Cuarteto Virreinal by Miguel Bernal Jiménez when she performed the work from manuscript with a professional string quartet sponsored by Patrimonio Cultural in Toluca, Mexico. The work is a pleasant combination of classical and Mexican qualities; the writer decided that someday she would like to perform it for audiences in the United States.
Degree ProgramGraduate College