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Gustavo Díaz-Jerez

Gustavo Díaz-Jerez Gehenna

two reflections for piano solo after Gustave Doré

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Gehenna - score
Gehenna - score (download)

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Gehenna, a word of Hebrew origin that literally means "The Valley of Tears", was written at the request of my friend and colleague Gabriel Loidi in 2005 for the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the end of WWII. It was premiered that same year in the Musical Fortnight Donostiarra, in a concert in tribute to the victims of the aforementioned conflict. The work was revised in 2008 and premiered by the composer in La Granja (Segovia) at the Auditorium Los Canónigos, on July 5, 2009. Subtitled two reflections after Gustave Doré, it is structured in two movements: Enigma and Stygius. These titles refer to two engravings by Gustave Doré, a renowned 19th-century French illustrator and engraver.

Enigma represents a war scene, with traces of destruction still recent.  A dead mother and her son embrace each other on the battlefield. A sphinx, the only living being in the scene, embraces a dead angel. The engraving emanates a strange aura of sweetness and sadness.

Stygius refers to the Styx Lagoon, the place of Hades where Phlegyas crossed the dead in his boat. The engraving was commissioned to illustrate Dante's Inferno. With a tremendous expressive force, it shows Phlegyas making his way among the souls, who beg to be crossed to the other side.

Gehenna is a tragic work, marked by angled, dark, dense sonorities.  These sonorities evoke the mysterious spirit of the engravings and the monochromatic nuances that characterizes them, as well as the immutability of Enigma and the dynamism of Stygius.

First performed on Oct. 8, 2005 at Fundación Juan March, Madrid (Spain) by Gabriel Loidi (piano).

Additional Information

Composer Gustavo Díaz-Jerez
Year of Composition 2004
Instrumentation Piano
Duration ca. 12'
Student Difficulty -

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