DUTCH FLAMENCO BIENNIAL 2011. CLOSING GALA:
'FLAMENCO SIN FIN'
Flamenco in the world
Silvia Calado. Amsterdam, January 30th, 2011
Closing gala: 'Flamenco sin fin'. Nieuw
Ensemble. Conductor: Ed Spanjaard. Special guests: Fuensanta
la Moneta (baile), Arcángel (cante), Zabit Nabizade
(mugam vocals). Program: 'Libra', Roberto Gerhard. 'Mugflagamenco',
Frangis Ali-Zadeh. 'Black stars' (suite), Florian Magnus
Maier. 'Muerte sin fin', Mauricio Sotelo (world premiere).
3rd Dutch Flamenco Biennial. Bimhuis. Amsterdam (Holland),
January 30th, 2011, 3 p.m.
Flamenco is (once again and more than ever)
in the world, in its time. The glass hood having been broken
into a thousand pieces once and for all which many wished
to cover it with, it inevitably continues to evolve in an
international context full of different sorts of music,
art, fashion, flights, networks, individuals. And the world
realizes it and wants to contribute to it. The Dutch Flamenco
Biennial is one of those initiatives which only urge on
a natural, unstoppable trend. And it is due to the criteria
of this program of not settling for what is given, but rather
intervening in order to create (and/or to see) shows which
distinguish it in the populated context of international
The definitive proof of this peculiar attitude,
which is now its own trademark, was the closing gala of
this third edition of the Dutch festival at the impressive
Muziekgebouw aan het IJ, a European temple of contemporary
classical music. Where Joseph Haydn was performed the previous
afternoon, Mauricio Sotelo is performed today. And that
means that flamenco is also contemporary classical music.
Of course it isn’t the first time that Sotelo, whose
music is described as “spectral flamenco”, has
premiered a show of his at a great European theater; in
fact, all of them were. The original thing about this occasion
is that 'Muerte sin fin' was premiered at a flamenco festival.
The Spanish composer’s piece closed
a program which, performed by Nieuw Ensemble and conducted
by Ed Spanjaard, included another three works with flamenco
or the Spanish in concomitance with the contemporary as
a common denominator. The first one was 'Libra' (1968),
by Spanish composer Roberto Gerhard (1896-1970), a musician
who developed his career in exile starting from the dual
influence of Felipe Pedrell and Arnold Schoenberg. The second
one was 'Mugflagamenco', by composer Frangis Ali-Zadeh,
who gathered the tradition of her native country, Azerbaijan,
and that of flamenco in the setting of contemporary music.
And to do so, she had soloists like Azeri singer Zabit Nabizade
and Ali Asgar Mammadov on 'tar'. The musical triangle traced
was surely never-before-seen. The third piece was authored
by young Dutch composer Florian Magnus Maier, graduated
in flamenco guitar at the Conservatory of Rotterdam, directed
Peña. In his suite 'Black stars', together with
guitar and flamenco cante, he himself takes part wielding
an electric guitar, an element which fits together with
violins, cellos, clarinets... in a vibrant score por bulerías
which ended up bringing the audience to their feet.
Fuensanta la Moneta on
"Muerte sin Fin" (Photo Daniel
The intermission allowed time to ponder
the beautiful sight of misty Amsterdam which can be seen
behind the giant windows of this building designed over
the waters of the IJ by the Danish architecture studio 3XN.
Pardon the comment, but it’s spectacular. And with
that sight on our mind, we return to the hall to witness
that world premiere by Mauricio Sotelo which the Spanish
press, unfortunately, will probably ignore. In an encounter
with the audience, the composer previously explained the
keys to his way of building with flamenco, a type of music
which he fights tooth and nail to defend in the world of
classical music, understanding it as the “writing
of memory”. He therefore doesn’t intervene in
the traditional element. The cante which Arcángel
does por soleá is a cante por soleá, they’re
several sets of old-time lyrics por soleá. And perhaps
the only liberty the composer takes is to broaden the structures.
He does the same with baile, an element which he hadn’t
worked with before. Fuensanta
la Moneta faced the challenge of sticking her winding
rhythmics into that universe of sound which was being built,
at the same time, in analogical (clarinet, harp, percussion,
piano, guitars...) and digital. And her picture and expressiveness
were very beautiful which she gave to that death which is
announced, to that death which doesn’t come, confronting
the orchestra conductor’s own choreography and that
of the musicians performing. After all, music is one, and
pain is, too. And flamenco is music and pain (and enjoyment)...
and it has neither a beginning, nor an end.