Caballitos y Angelitos : for youth string orchestra
by Andrián Pertout (2021)
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Library shelf no. 784.7/PER 9 [Available for loan]
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Caballitos y Angelitos or 'Little Horses and Little Angels' was commissioned by José Recart and the Orquesta Juvenil de Puchuncaví (Valparaíso, Chile) for a special 'final' performance (in anticipation of its scheduled demolition) on the rooftop of the iconic 'Casa de los pescadores', or 'House of the Fisherman' in Caleta Horcón, Puchuncaví that will be presented on January 17, 2022. The work not only explores the textural concept of antiphony (or 'call and response'), but also the musical implications of combinatoriality as an organisational determinant via its utilisation of algorithmic composition, or 'automated composition' as a method for music composition to create a recomposed version of the extremely popular traditional Chilean children's song 'Caballito blanco' (Little White Horse). All melodic and rhythmic development is entirely generated by a set of algorithms that 'imitate' the primary source via Markov-chain-derived modelling, or algorithmic mapping of the melody that take into account every set of transitions between the states. The actual literal melody only revealed at the end of the work within a coda featuring three repetitions of the original material. The rhythm on the other hand adopts the combinatorial strategy of 'Single-State Probabilistic Automatons,' or "unrestricted compositions of the integer n into m parts," and at its foundation is none other than the 'Chilean' cueca (a poetic-musical form, and Chile's national dance). Structurally, 'Caballitos y Angelitos' adopts contrasting antiphonal groupings of the orchestra in order to generate contrast between the sections of the composition that essentially delineate an algorithmic melodic continuum. According to The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, antiphony is "music in which an ensemble is divided into distinct groups, used in opposition, often spatial, and using contrasts of volume, pitch, timbre, etc," while The New Harvard Dictionary of Music defines it as "the use of two (or more) spatially separated performers or ensembles that alternate or oppose one another in a musical work or performance," making the following distinction with regards to its non-western characterization and usage: 'call and response' is the "alternation between two performers or group of performers, especially between a solo singer and a group of singers. Diverse African musics employ such exchanges between a lead singer's improvisations and a group's recurring response, or between two vocal groups."
Instrumentation: Strings (184.108.40.206.1.).
Duration: 4 min.
Difficulty: Medium — Suitable for a Youth String Orchestra
The composer notes the following styles, genres, influences, etc. of this work:
Caballito blanco (Little White Horse) ‘Chilean’ cueca Antiphony (Call and Response) Stefan Hollos and J. Richard Hollos Combinatoriality Algorithmic Composition Single- and Multi-State Probabilistic Automatons
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