Guanapay

a symphonic poem for piano and orchestra

Gustavo Díaz-Jerez

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a symphonic poem for piano and orchestra

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Composer Gustavo Díaz-Jerez
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Catalogue ID ce-gdj1g2

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Guanapay is an ancient volcanic cone (452 m) located in the Canary island of Lanzarote, in the municipality of Teguise. It is also known as Montaña Guanapay. Over 15 million years old, it is already very eroded. The name of Guanapay is of undoubted Guanche origin, although nothing is really known about its possible meaning. It appears in all the cartographic and scriptural records of the island, although often spelled differently. Engineer Leonardo Torriani, in 1590, spells it Guanapay, while the cartographer Prospero Casola, in 1635, spells it as Guanapaio or Guanapai. At this location stands the Santa Bárbara Castle (also known as Guanapay Castle), which dates back to the 16th century and is the oldest in the Canary archipelago.

Volcanism is (metaphorically) essential in the musical construction of Guanapay. It is realized musically through elaborate orchestral textures. Guanapay was written for my friend Ricardo Descalzo, one of the highest exponents of contemporary music in Spain. Although it is a fully-fledged piano concerto, the orchestral part stands on an equal footing with the piano. We could almost think of Guanapay more in terms of a duo, in which the roles of both sides sometimes oppose, sometimes complement each other. The timbral complexity allowed by the orchestra is also shared by the piano, through to the use of inside-the-piano extended techniques as well as by electronic means . The musical material of Guanapay, as in the rest of the works in the cycle, is of mathematical-algorithmic origin. This raw material has been subsequently “filtered” and “pruned” to match the creative demands of the composer. Rough, stony textures are employed frequently during the course of the work, as well as musical evocations of sounds of nature, such as the blow of the wind, the sound of seawaves, the flow of lava, etc. Despite the complexity involved in these processes, the musical result is always adapted to be as comfortable and instrumental as possible for the performer. The survival of a work through time rests in this balance.

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