Join us for this weekend's performance of Gabriela Ortiz's
Baalkah for Soprano and String Quartet, featured today in the LA Times Critic's Pick.
By Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times Music Critic
The music of Gabriela Ortiz has many roots. She links ancient and modern traditions of her native Mexico. In "Camelia la Tejana," which Long Beach Opera mounted in the spring, she dealt imaginatively with border drug trafficking and Mexican feminism, creating the new genre of narco-opera.
In "Baalkah," songs for soprano and string quartet that Southwest Chamber Music will perform Saturday and Sunday evenings at the Huntington Library, Ortiz considers the mysterious pre-Columbian cosmos.
Ortiz happens to also be the latest recipient of Southwest's southwestern explorations, which have resulted in Grammy-winning recordings of the percussion music of Carlos Chavez, Mexico's best known 20th century composer.
Now the ensemble has a new CD devoted to Ortiz that includes a kaleidoscopically metallic score for two harps and steel drum and a curiously disorienting string quartet that puts late Mozart into a modern Mayan stew.
And more Mozartean Mayan business might be expected at the Huntington, where the concerts are outdoors with seats available on a veranda or on the lawn under the stars.
Night rules, too, in a program that surrounds "Baalkah" with Mozart's "Little Night Music" and Schoenberg's "Transfigured Night."