Leonardo Balada

Composer(s): Leonardo Balada
Album Title: Maria Sabina/ Thunderous Scenes/ Guernica 
Cat. No.: 80498
Genre: Classical
Description: The Louisville Orchestra/Jorge Mester; Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic Orchestra/Juan Pablo Izquierdo; The University of Louisville Chorus; Carnegie Mellon Concert Choir; Carnegie Mellon Repertory Chorus

The three works on this new disc of Balada’s music reveal his continuing exploration of the themes of ostracism and intolerance and their terrible consequences. They are written in his familiar angular, rhythmically aggressive, percussive, but dramatically effective style. It is compelling, emotionally charged music that, although very much in the avant-garde “tradition,” remains accessible to even those listeners with a minimal sense of adventure.

María Sabina (1969), a Symphonic Tragedy in Three Parts, is written for narrators, chorus, and orchestra.  It is set to a text by Camilo José Cela, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1989. In this work, the theme of political repression and the outcast is expressed through code and metaphor. MarĂ­a Sabina’s character is based on an actual Mexican mushroom-cult priestess who was still alive at the time of the work’s premiere in April of 1970.

Thunderous Scenes [Escenas Borrascosas]), (1992) with a libretto by the composer, is from Balada’s opera Death of Columbus (1994). In four scenes for vocal soloists, mixed chorus, and orchestra, it is based on “four dark moments in the real and unreal life” of Christopher Columbus after his discovery of America.

Guernica (1966), a symphonic movement, is dedicated to Pablo Picasso and his famous painting depicting the German shelling of the Basque town. It uses controlled aleatoric devices in the strings, cluster sounds in the high winds, trumpets, and low brasses, and antiphonal effects for the percussion. 
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