MUSICAL HOMAGE TO
JORGE JIMÉNEZ DEREDIA
Canto a la Vida is a tribute to the career of maestro Jorge Jiménez Deredia through the production of musical works inspired by some of his most representative works, whose titles are quite suggestive from the musical point of view.
The name of the project is based on one of the most iconic pieces of the Costa Rican artist with the best international projection and greatest success, whose sculptural work is inspired by the stone sphere, which is the symbol par excellence of the Boruca culture. His transmutative symbolism has such a mystical, spiritual and semiotic power that is the source of inspiration to six prominent composers —five Costa Ricans and one Italian—, who got the commission to compose six new musical works for solo guitar, which were created in the year 2018.
MUSICAL CREATORS AND SCULPTURES
Costa Rican composer with a Master degree in Multimedia at the University of Porto and is currently pursuing doctoral studies in Composition at the University of Aveiro in Portugal; winner of three awards from the Association of Composers and Musical Authors (ACAM). He integrates the influence of European art music, jazz and the Costa Rican tradition in his works. His “Génesis” is a representation of the transmutation from a germinal being inside an egg to the female figure that dances with total joy and freedom at the end. All four movements are based on the same motif, which gives them thematical unity inside of very different atmospheres, with a general sense of sobriety, elegance and transparency.
Carlos José Castro Mora
Professor of Composition at the University of Costa Rica and was awarded with the Latin Grammy Award 2008 in the category “Best contemporary classical music work” and co-winner of the Latin Grammy 2017 with the National Symphony Orchestra in the category “Best production of contemporary classical music”, as well as four times winner of the National Music Award. “Crepúsculo” (“Twilight”) is a musical journey through the tenuous transition during the sunset time, alternating meditative passages with very energetic and rhythmic ones, while exploiting various timbral resources of the instrument.
After studying guitar and composition at the University of Costa Rica, he completed his studies in Composition at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague and lives in Holland since 2006; he has won multiple composition awards in Europe and the United States, as well as the Carlos Enrique Vargas National Music Award 2018 in Composition. His four “Totems” are musical moments that describe the night life stages of a bat, since the darkness of the night returns that leads him to wake up and prepares him for the flight that gives him the food and the interaction with his peers, until the dawn that returns him to its hiding place to be away of the daylight. These pieces have a minimalist style yet are very graphic and energetic in their musical gestures, which are developed in a very organic way in an apparent simplicity.
Marco De Biasi
This outstanding Italian guitarist has won 12 first prizes in many of the most prestigious guitar composition contests in Italy and worldwide. His artistic activity is based on experimentation with synesthetic works through the interaction of music and color. “Canto a la Vida” (“Chant to Life”) is a masterpiece with a primitive language and an overwhelming energy that unfolds from its simple initial motive to the maximum possible complexity that the guitar could ever withstand. It is a very exciting musical narrative through the legend of Xbalanque and Hunahpu, the Maya Hero Twins of the Popol Vuh, who participate in the Mayan ball game until becoming the Moon and the Sun, respectively.
Guitarist of the Éditus group; winner of three Grammys for his collaborations with Rubén Blades in 2000 and 2003; he is also a much sought-after arranger, producer and composer of soundtracks. His piece “Recuerdo Profundo” (“Deep Remembrance”) has a strong emotional impact from the first beat with expressive chords and slow sections with much drama, while exploiting the melodic abilities of the guitar in all its tessitura through the tremolo technique.
One of the youngest among the most outstanding Costa Rican composers for guitar nowadays; he studied composition with Luis Diego Herra and Carlos José Castro; his works for solo guitar, chamber music and different guitar ensembles have been performed in several countries in Latin America, Europe and Asia. Through “Imagen Cósmica” (“Cosmic Image“) the composer transports us to another mystical dimension, where the simple melodies are dressed in a supernatural harmony by using an alternative tuning of the six strings that maintains a sense of mystery through many contrasting sections until the end.
DEREDIA AND THE SPHERES...
Canto a la Vida is an artistic process that began centuries ago with the stone spheres that our Boruca ancestors sculpted, which were the genesis for the work of Jiménez Deredia, who at the same time was able to decipher for us the message that our aboriginal ascendants left behind. for posterity. The sculptures of this Costa Rican artist are a creative impulse for the composers, whose music goes from the score to a sound result by means of the musical interpretation in the guitar, in a similar way as the sculptor goes chiselling the stone until reaching his final result. A musical composition inspired by one of his sculptures is an aesthetic complement to his work, giving a voice to all the music that is accumulated in the sculptural object, which itself shows an intrinsic musical development from the formal point of view.
It is due to the interaction of the Costa Rican and Italian talent that characterizes the artistic career of Jiménez Deredia —established already for decades in Italy— that the idea of articulating artistic disciplines was born to create new creative possibilities.
The promoter of the project, Carlos Alberto Castro —an Austrian-based Costa Rican guitarist and to whom the 6 new compositions were dedicated—, started with the conception of the project since July 2017 and made the studio recording of the works at the beginning of February 2019 at Baros Records in Slovenia.
“For me as a guitarist and promoter of the concert music of Costa Rica, Canto a la Vida represents a golden opportunity to expose and disseminate the diversity of compositional languages that can be found among our composers, while gathering them under a single motto and only one objective: to develop a musical reading of the work of Jorge Jiménez Deredia, while we honour his artistic career and provoke Costa Ricans to value his work. Also, it is really a great compliment to me from the composers involved, who put their trust in my work to the point that they compose new works so that I have the privilege to play their premiere. There has never been a similar project in the Costa Rican guitar environment, articulating the most outstanding composers in a common project and that is something very special.”