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Broken Rondo

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Miguel del Águila

Miguel del Águila


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This work may be found under its title in Spanish, Rondó Roto. It bears the designation Opus 103.


General Info

Year: 2010
Duration: c. 13:00
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: English horn and piano
Publisher: Peer Music Classical
Cost: Score and Parts - Rental


Instrumentation

(Needed, please join the WRP if you can help.)


Errata

None discovered thus far.


Program Notes

Broken Rondo is a one-movement English horn concerto. The work begins with a slow introduction where the English horn, accompanied by the strings and clarinet, sings quasi-free cadenzas and arabesques, setting a calm, somewhat nostalgic mood. Soon, the rondo theme begins. This simple, upbeat modal theme drives the piece forward with an ostinato rhythm of Andean character. At first light and dance-like, it becomes progressively more dramatic until the rondo is interrupted by an extended orchestral interlude. The English horn finishes the piece with a slow, somber, extended cantilena as the piece dissolves in darkness.

The orchestration is light, bright and always focused on the solo instrument. The word “broken” of the title suggests not only the fact that the rondo form breaks down towards the end, but also implies an unexpected emotional struggle and a fracture from which the piece never recovers.

The work was commissioned by Johanna Cox with a grant from the University of Oklahoma Research Council and from Mr. Carl Rath. The work is dedicated to Johanna Cox who premiered it on June 26, 2010 in Norman, Oklahoma during the International Double Reed Society Conference with the IDRS Orchestra under conductor David Lockington.

- Program Note by composer for orchestral version


Del Águila’s Rondó Roto (Broken rondo), a concerto in one movement for English horn and orchestra, features the soloist in a series of evocative rites and vignettes. Del Aguila’s music encompasses influences and flavors from the entire mundo hispano and beyond, including (as here) Andean folk idioms. The work begins with a slow, quiet introduction before the rondo proper begins. In a rondo, a recurring theme alternates Pennington_1737_book.indd 5-6 6/18/18 11:23 AM with digressive episodes, creating a continuity that might be symbolized as A B A C A D etc.; in this rondo, the jaunty main theme becomes a viewpoint character, the episodes a series of encounters that leaves the protagonist more or less unchanged and unscathed. But the climax -- at or near the work’s structurally pivotal Golden Section (roughly two-thirds of the way in) -- presents a sudden, Hitchcockian tableau of horror in which frenetic tremoli and glissandi in the strings, and a death’s-head melody in the piccolo and other high woodwinds, freeze us in an inescapable moment of terror. This is where the rondo “breaks,” and the episodic insouciance of the rondo is replaced by a need for closure that is psychological as much as it is musical. Toward the end of the slow final section, while the soloist is leading us to tranquility -- or, at the least, acceptance -- the timpani rumble ominously below, suggesting just how contingent any notion of personal safety or arrival can be.

Program Note by Jeff Perry, Editor, Music Theory Online for liner note of Albany CD Orion Nocturne


Commercial Discography

None discovered thus far.


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


Performances

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  • Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge) Wind Ensemble (Damon Talley, conductor; Johanna Pennington, English horn) – 26 April 2020 (Performance scheduled, but concert canceled)


Works for Winds by this Composer


Resources