As the tenth anniversary of Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez’ tenure as Artistic Director of Musica Viva NY approaches, we are excited to announce a plan to honor his accomplishments.
In December 2023 Musica Viva NY is going to make a recording (with compact disc) featuring two pieces Alejandro has chosen that are close to his heart – both were commissioned and premiered by Musica Viva NY. They are Joseph Turrin’s World War 1 cantata And Crimson Roses Once Again Be Fair and Gilda Lyon’s Momotombo. More detail about each is set out below.
Release plans for our recording
We plan to release the recording and CD in the spring of 2024, to coincide with the unveiling in Washington, DC of a sculpture wall titled “A Soldier’s Journey” which will be the central feature of the World War I memorial there.
Funding the recording
This recording project has already been partially funded by the prestigious Alice M. Ditson Fund and the Musica Viva NY Board of Directors. We are delighted to announce that we recently successfully completed a drive to raise $25,000, matched by a grant from a generous Musica Viva NY Board member.
And Crimson Roses Once Again Be Fair by Joseph Turrin
Joseph Turrin wrote his cantata And Crimson Roses Once Again Be Fair to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War 1. Musica Viva NY performed it with orchestra on that anniversary. The cantata is based on powerful poetry of the Great War by poets that fought, died, or were bereaved during the conflict. In fourteen concise but abundantly rich movements Mr. Turrin gives us vivid snapshots of the war. Horror, profound sadness, and hope converge to help us reflect on the war that overwhelmed the world from 1914 to 1918. And now, in 2023, as we witness a raging war in Ukraine, with many warning that a conflict like this could lead to a third world war, it seems an appropriate, relevant and significant time to record and release this music. Musica Viva NY’s Artistic Director Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez says about the piece: “For me the most remarkable aspect of Mr. Turrin’s cantata is how the heart-wrenching poetry absolutely guides the music throughout,” while Joe Turrin says: “I found an extremely voluminous amount of poetry, letters, and stories, written by the men and women who lived, fought and died during one of the most horrendous periods in our world history. I literally spent months of intense research, reliving the pain, passion, and sadness that I found in many of these poems. So I immersed myself into the darkness of what was WWI and the harsh reality, disillusionment and futility of war.”
Momotombo by Gilda Lyons
Gilda Lyon’s piece Momotombo is scored for a cappella chorus and Musica Viva NY gave its world premiere on March 27, 2022. Here is what the composer (whose mother is from Nicaragua) says about the work: “Nicaragua is home to a range of volcanic formations from young cinder cones and lava domes to calderas and steeply ascending stratovolcanoes. Of them all—observed throughout the ages by caciques, poets, first peoples, conquerors—the greatest may be Momotombo. In his poem Momotombo, Ruben Darío’s contrasting imagery is potent, with the train that keeps going, the volcano that stands seemingly unchanged for all time, and the soul that remains constant as the body changes and inevitably expires, all witness to accounts of and by people who have come and gone.”