• J. Aaron Stanley

Finished Draft of New Chamber Piece for Trombone & String Quartet

I am happy to report I have finished a draft of a new composition, which was commissioned by Dr. William Haugeberg of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

A few weeks ago, Dr. Haugeberg contacted me about writing a piece for him with string quartet, as he was preparing for a recital with strings at the end of the semester, as well as presenting a recital at the upcoming International Trombone Festival in July in Muncie, IN.

I wanted to write a piece that reflected the strong Mexican culture and influence along the border, as well as my own experiences living in Mexico for five years (and being married to a Mexican woman.)

After some consideration of possible concepts for the piece, one idea got me so inspired, I set myself to composing right away.

The piece is called “Huapango de los Muertos.” It is inspired by the traditional music and dance known as huapango, as well as the traditional Mexican holiday of Día de los Muertos.

I used the traditional rhythms of the huapango combined with more contemporary harmonies (influenced by jazz), as well as melodic material that plays with the dissonance between major and minor. Later, in the coda, extended string techniques help evoke the macabre image of dancing skeletons.

But the spirit of the piece is very lively and festive, and I expect it will be a lot of fun to play and listen to. (It has the thumbs up approval of my Mexican wife!)

I will post audios and videos of a live performance of the piece once I have them.

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