for four percussionists
dedicated to Carmelo Saitta
1st Prize Concurso de composición CEAMC 1997
La madre del río/the mother of the river is based on the ideas of Carmelo Saitta, who conceives the percussion-set as a full orchestra. He organizes percussion instruments and props in groups and families attending its acoustical properties.
La madre del río is an anti-percussive piece mostly composed with long sustained sounds with a soft attack, played with the hands, fingers and nails. A set of wine glasses conforms a crystal orchestra tuned in quarter tones which plays together with a glissing vibraphone. Many other instruments in La madre del río are distorted by the literal use of water, which filters their sounds, producing quasi electronic sounds without electronics.
The piece is based on the Argentine popular story La madre del río which talks about the reflection of a mythological character on the rivers and her self-destructive power when in contact with men.
“Nobody has ever seen the Majuy Mama. There were those who saw the reflection of her hair as she sank in the Argentinean northern rivers. Some say she is a river mermaid. Others speak about a hen that sinks with its chicks or a black horse in the mountain rivers whose long tail can be seen. When she is a mermaid, she bathes in the rivers and wraps with her hair the fish that she loves the most. If a man sees her, he absorbs all of a sudden her complete happiness. The Majuy Mama, in excruciating pain, raises waves with her tail, and bumping herself against the stones, disappears in the deep waters. The happiness of some is the sadness of others.”
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