TESTIMONIES




Carlos Chávez belongs to the spiritual lineage that led to the splendid Latin American Renaissance that reached its plenitude in the years after the Mexican Revolution. I think we might do well to place that period within what Lezama Lima called the “Imaginary Eras” in those fundamental years, Reyes goes to the origins of language in his edition of the Cantar del Cid; Vasconcelos sets the final destiny of race; the distant gods seem to reincarnate by the thousands in the hieratic peons of the great muralists; the ruins and the stones speak, the old border and warrior romances come back to life in the corridos of the Revolution, and assuming it all in a mysterious threshold, as in the center of that hallucinated epic, Emiliano Zapata appears.

Carlos Chávez reinvents the Greek ways in the Sinfonía de Antígona, reinvents indigenous music in the Sinfonía India and the musical form with its principle of no repetition in the Invention para piano. He reinvents Chopin in his Studies for piano and the great classic forms in the Passacaglia of the Sixth Symphony, and organizes a rhythmic cosmos in the Toccata and Tambuco for percussion. He approaches opera and concerts with a new vision and explores new vibrant regions in Resonancias and Pirámide; there is little left that has not been touched masterfully by this tenacious creative will

His piano music, from the Siete Piezas composed from 1923 to 1930 to his last Preludios places him among the great innovators of the possibilities of the instruments; his six symphonies and the piano and violin concerts put him among the century’s first symphony composers. As if this were not enough, we must mention his great talent as a conductor and his extraordinary pedagogic work which led to the rise of two generations of composers due to his devotion to drive forth the new music in Mexico and his management of culture as Director of the National Institute of Fine Arts (INBA by its acronym in Spanish).

Julián Orbón