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ARTIST
TITLE
El Cimarrón
FORMAT
2CD

LABEL
CATALOG #
WER 6710 WER 6710
GENRE
RELEASE DATE
8/11/2008

Performed by El Cimarrón Ensemble, under the direction of Michael Kerstan. Recorded 2005. "El Cimarrón (1970) is a milestone of politically-engaged music theater, and a key event in Hans Werner Henze's career. In this 'recital for four musicians,' the composer tells the story of Esteban Montejo (sung here by bass-baritone Angelo De Leonardis) -- an escaped Cuban slave who, at the remarkable age of 104, was interviewed extensively about his life (and taped) by the Cuban ethnologist Miguel Barnet. A German-language libretto by Hans Magnus Enzensberger was translated into English by Christopher Keene and is heard in this version. Henze's composition incorporates echoes of Montejo's speaking style -- observed by the composer during their 1969 encounter. The score includes free improvisation as well as aleatoric components and composed fields, in which pitches and sounds are specified but the tempi and dynamics are determined by the performers. Henze also makes effective use of popular forms such as the habanera. Writing about a 1999 performance by the El Cimarrón Ensemble, the composer praised the chamber group's 'energy, artistic brio, and personal commitment ... In Michael Kerstan's staging, this performance becomes a highly impressive, touching, and captivating action.'"