|This recording features six of the most inventive younger composers (born between 1957 and 1977) in Mexico's contemporary music scene.
Irvine Arditti and the Arditti Quartet gave the first performances of many of these works for string quartet or solo violin.
The works were recorded in 2002 during the first Radar festival, an ongoing yearly project of new and experimental music produced in collaboration with the Festival de México en el Centro Histórico, Mexico City's foremost annual venue for the arts.
Juan Felipe Waller completed his studies with Klaas de Vries at the Rotterdam Conservatory. His work is a distortion of "Deja que salga la luna", made famous by Pedro Infante, a popular idol from Mexico's golden age of cinema.
A distinctive aspect of Hebert Vázquez's work is his use of "mega-instruments", where he divides among two instruments (here viola & cello vs. two violins) a complex part that actually consists of the same idea or gesture. The String Quartet begins in near silence and ends with throbbing white noise.
Germán Romero studied with Julio Estrada, attended the courses at Darmstadt and had a residency at Ateliers UPIC (now CCMIX) in Paris. He is one of Mexico's most radical composers. Ramas for solo amplified violin focuses the listener's attention on the richness of the sound's objects, like the scraping of the bow against the strings.
Iván Naranjo's first string quartet, Uno, was written for a composition workshop by the Arditti in Mexico at the Radar festival. The work is divided into three parts, with common sounds and gestures: in the first one, ideas follow each other in an untypical flow; in the second, explorations of the insides of sound; and the third is made up of fragments and transformations of the two previous ones, like loops that change slightly every time they are repeated.
Rogelio Sosa studied with Julio Estrada and then in France at the Les Ateliers UPIC, IRCAM and the University of Paris VIII. He has received the Bourges and Russolo prizes for electronic music. In Espasmo fulgor, all interval material comes from the violin's tuning, playing techniques and timbres; in the electronic part, all original sound material - later transformed - also comes from the violin. This contrasted duality can be observed in obsessive pulsation, surprise attacks, piercing registers, shining timbres, and brilliant textures.
Hilda Paredes is one of the most valuable voices of Mexican contemporary music. The title of Uy u'tan means "listen how they talk" in Mayan. Paredes explains: "When I began writing the piece, I decided to treat the instruments as characters in a play. I considered each one separately: a crazy and hyperactive first violin, a more relaxed and expressive viola, an absentminded cello, and an introverted and sometimes clumsy second violin. The interaction between them provided the shape of the piece, in four sections. Uy u'tan was commissioned by October in Normandie 1998 for the Arditti Quartet.