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Yanomami, Op 47

composer
1980
author of text

 
Marlos Nobre (1939), a pupil of Ginastera, Messiaen, Malipiero, Copland and Dallapiccola, has dedicated several pieces to the native people of Brazil—his country—including Ukrinmakrinkrin Opus 17 (dedicated to the Xucuru people), Xingú Opus 75 and Yanomami Opus 47 (sometimes spelled Yanomani), which was commissioned by the Swiss choir “Choeur des XVI” in 1980 and was dedicated to the memory of a Yanomami chief. During a trip to Germany, Nobre heard of this death and the struggle of his people, who live on the shores of the Orinoco River, artificially divided between the national boundaries of Venezuela and Brazil.

Written for solo tenor, guitar and choir, Yanomami sets to music a mix of words in their original language and some in Portuguese. When their chief dies, the people gather to mourn him, crying, clapping and dancing with the shaman. After the ceremony, they return to their huts and wait for the arrival of dawn. During the night, the spirit of the dead leaves his body and reaches the celestial forest where thunder reigns. In the middle of the piece, a moment of silence marks this moment. The chief returns then to a different form of life, and this transformation affects the music, which is now inverted, both in its rhythm and melody.

Later his remains are cremated, accompanied by the words “O cacique é morto” (“The chief is dead”, in Portuguese) in a motet written with a twelve-tone serial technique. After a month has gone by, the shaman and the elder of the community will mix his ashes with fruits and food. For the Yanomani, death is always the result of evil spirits sent by their enemies to inflict pain on their community, and grief gives way to a desire for revenge: “Mata, mata, mata” (“Kill, kill, kill”) they cry together.

from notes by Carlos Fernández Aransay © 2008

Marlos Nobre (1939), discípulo de Ginastera, Messiaen, Malipiero, Copland y Dallapiccola, ha dedicado varias piezas a los pueblos nativos de su país, Brasil: Ukrinmakrinkrin Opus 17 (para los Xucuru), Xingú Opus 75 y Yanomami Opus 47 (también escrita Yanomani). Esta última fue un encargo del coro suizo “Choeur des XVI” en 1980 y está dedicada a la memoria de un jefe Yanomami. Durante un viaje a Alemania, Nobre leyó la noticia de la muerte de dicho jefe y la lucha por la supervivencia de los Yanomami, divididos artificialmente por las fronteras de Venezuela y Brasil, en las orillas del río Orinoco.

Escrita para tenor solista, guitarra y coro, esta obra pone en música palabras yanomamis y otras en portugués. Al morir el jefe del poblado, su gente se reúne para llorarlo, haciendo palmas y bailando con el chamán. Después de la ceremonia, vuelven a sus chozas y esperan la llegada del alba. Durante la noche, el espíritu del muerto abandona su cuerpo y alcanza el bosque celestial donde reina el trueno. En medio de la obra musical, un silencio marca ese momento. El jefe renace con una forma diferente de vida. Esta transformación afecta también a la música, que ahora sigue su camino en inversión, tanto rítmica como melódicamente.

Posteriormente se procede a la cremación de sus restos, acompañada de las palabras portuguesas “O cacique é morto” (“El jefe ha muerto”) en un motete escrito con una técnica serial dodecafónica. Pasado un mes, el chamán y los ancianos de la comunidad mezclan sus cenizas con frutas y comida. Para los Yanomami, la muerte la traen siempre los espíritus malignos enviados por sus enemigos para inflingir dolor a su comunidad. Por ello, al duelo le sigue el deseo de venganza: “Mata, mata, mata” gritan todos.

Carlos Fernández Aransay © 2008

Recordings

Yanomami
SIGCD166Download only

Details

Track 31 on SIGCD166 [10'28] Download only

Track-specific metadata for SIGCD166 track 31

Artists
ISRC
GB-LLH-09-16631
Duration
10'28
Recording date
3 July 2008
Recording venue
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Lennart Dehn
Recording engineer
Stephan Flock
Hyperion usage
  1. Yanomami (SIGCD166)
    Disc 1 Track 31
    Release date: April 2009
    Download only
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