Los Rabanos (The Radishes) was commissioned by John Woolrich to function as a kind of entr’acte for my contribution to the Mary Wiegold Songbook. Entitled Valle de Oaxaca, the song is a setting of a poem by Charles Tomlinson, one of several poems reflecting his lifelong fascination with the people and landscape of Mexico.
My knowledge of Mexico is entirely second-hand, unfortunately, but one event which captured my imagination whilst reading about Oaxaca was the Dia de los Rabanos, which takes place in December. For this fiesta, the locals carve nativity scenes from giant radishes and their efforts are judged by the city’s Mayor. In this short trio for violin, clarinet and percussion, some similarly fleshy material is gradually removed to reveal a traditional Mexican carol – Esta es la senora