El Laberinto de la Soledad

Orchestration: 3.2+ca.3.3 – 4.3.3.1 – timp; 3 perc – pno; hp – str

Year composed: 2011

Duration: 8’

Premiere: May 24, 2013. Teatro Degollado; Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. Jalisco Philharmonic Orchestra; Leslie Dunner, conductor.

Awards: 2013 BMI William Schuman Prize

Score

Program Note

Inspired by Octavio Paz’s collection of essays under the same title, El Laberinto de la Soledad (The Labyrinth of Solitude) depicts every Mexican’s quest to discover and understand his true identity. In this work, solitude is portrayed as an outcry of anxiety as a result of feeling alone and estranged from one’s culture and traditions. The emotions one feels during times of solitude oscillate between defensiveness and aggression. The tonally oriented passages juxtaposed with stridently dissonant ones represent these extreme emotions. The Mexican folk music represents the nostalgia for a past that offered a sense of belonging, while the Mexican party music mocks the cultural necessity to hide under a celebratory mask in order to avoid internal demons. The metaphor of the labyrinth is present in the form of the piece, in which sections of music reappear in disguise. In the end, everyone longs to find happiness at the exit of this labyrinth.

—Juan Pablo Contreras

Performances

September 21, 2018. Teatro Morelos; Aguascalientes, Mexico. Aguascalientes Symphony Orchestra; Rodrigo Sierra Moncayo, conductor.

 September 14 & 15, 2017. Templo de San Francisco & Teatro Principal; Guanajuato, Mexico. Guanajuato Symphony Orchestra; Rodrigo Sierra Moncayo, conductor.

 October 29 & 30, 2016. Sala Nezahualcóyotl; Mexico City, Mexico. UNAM Philharmonic Orchestra; Massimo Quarta, conductor.

 April 14, 2016. Waco Hall; Waco, Texas, United States. Waco Symphony Orchestra; Stephen Heyde, conductor.

 December 13, 2015. Paul Shaghoian Concert Hall; Fresno, California, United States. Youth Orchestras of Fresno; Thomas Loewenheim, conductor.

 November 18, 2014. Jones Concert Hall; Waco, Texas, United States. Baylor Symphony Orchestra; Hadrian Avila, conductor.

 September 5, 2014. Teatro Provincial de Salta; Salta, Argentina. Salta Symphony Orchestra; Jorge Lhez, conductor.

 September 21 & 22, 2013. Sala Silvestre Revueltas; Mexico City, Mexico. Mexico City Philharmonic Orchestra; José Areán, conductor.

 June 21 & 23, 2013. Sala Felipe Villanueva & Centro Cultural Mexiquense Bicentenario; Toluca & Texcoco, Mexico. State of Mexico Symphony Orchestra; Enrique Bátiz, conductor.

 May 24 & 25, 2013. Teatro del Libertador; Córdoba, Argentina. Córdoba Symphony Orchestra; Hadrian Avila, conductor.

 May 24, 2013. Teatro Degollado; Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. Jalisco Philharmonic Orchestra; Leslie Dunner, conductor.

March 23, 2012. Borden Auditorium; New York, United States. Manhattan School of Music Symphony; David Gilbert, conductor.

Reviews

“On March 23, Contreras’ El Laberinto de la Soledad, a symphonic homage to Octavio Paz, was warmly received at New York’s Borden Auditorium. The Manhattan School of Music Symphony enthusiastically played this work, in which Contreras portrays the contrasting themes of Paz’s book with vehemence and color. Yes, Chávez’s legacy is evident, but so is Contreras’ masterful technique that allows him to translate the emotions of our Mexican identity to the staff, rightfully earning my most enthusiastic praise.”
Lazaro Azar
Reforma
“When I hear El Laberinto de la Soledad, I want to stand up and dance! In it, I hear the son jarocho and mariachi music, as well as banda tunes. This party music is often interwoven with beautiful European-influenced melodies. All in all, it’s a frenetically delightful mix that depicts Mexico’s history.”
Emiliano Ruiz Parra
Gente
“The concert opener was Contreras’ award-winning El Laberinto de la Soledad, a nationalistic work influenced by the Chávez-and-Copland symphonic tradition.”
Iván Martínez
El Universal
Close Menu
en_USEN
es_MXES en_USEN