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Firmly established as one of the leading Mexican composers of her generation, she has made her home in London since 1979 and her music is now performed widely around the world.
Señales a new CD (mode 292) of first recordings, Hilda Paredes’ third CD on Mode Records, has been released. It features three chamber works and two solo works, all written between 1995 and 2013.
Festival d’Automne à Paris
-Mode Records New York (60):The Seventh Seed, chamber opera in 3 acts, for 5 voices, string quartet and percussion. Permutaciones, for solo violin.
The concept of time in the music of Elliott Carter, published and translated into Spanish. Pauta 42 (Mexico,1992)
Recent publication on Hilda Paredes
Das ei(ge)ne und das andere, die Mexikanische komponistin Hilda Paredes by
‘síntesis de tiempos, espacios y culturas que se produce en el aparato estilístico de una
Further linguistic flights rounded out the program. “Seed of Time,” a 2003 horn-and piano-quartet tribute to Elliott Carter by Hilda Paredes, had something of Carter’s nervy fluidity — of meter, of harmony — but also its own sense of broken communication, lively, dense textures carefully, woozily falling apart, then reassembling.
Hilda Paredes’s Cuerdas del destino (2007-8) also received its British premiere. From the éclat of its opening pizzicati, via an array of expressive devices such as glissando tremolo and harmonics, and a succession of contrasting types of musical material, this made for a vivid, at times almost, though only almost, pictorial journey. There is a palpable sense of drama to the work – as there was to the quartet’s committed performance. The concluding section seemed both old – recognisable material from what had gone before – and new, that material being employed in different ways. It registered almost as a translation of a cyclical symphonic principle to the world of the contemporary string quartet: not entirely unlike the Arditti Quartet’s very raison d’être. http://boulezian.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/sixtieth-birthday-concert-for-irvine.html
La tierra de la miel.
Hilda Paredes provides sorrowful music here that is almost too much. She, like the other composers, is a substantial Modernist; her style is complex and difficult. But she knows how to drain substance away too, leaving meaningful emptiness.
Ms. Paredes, born in Tehuacán in 1957 and based in London since 1979, is admired for compositions that mix modernist rigor and extended techniques with a primal energy rooted in Maya lore. Here the new-music ensemble Signal, conducted by Brad Lubman, brought its customary authority to three works.
The next piece, by Mexican composer Hilda Paredes, Cuerdas del destino (2007-8), was an intriguing counterpoint to the rest of the works in the program, since it simultaneously affirmed and denied the aesthetic of the other composers in the programme. Paredes’ music, though also
She creates masterful, colorful gestures, incorporating virtually every conceivable playing technique that has been explored in the last half-century. Somewhat exotic instruments make cameos, such as the cimbalom in Señales and steel drum in Ah Paaxo'Ob. The music is often highly polyphonic and shifts rapidly. Harmony and melody are possibly row derived, with occasional Webern-esque filaments of lyrical melody appearing and quickly disintegrating. Perhaps the most obvious reference to her Central American heritage is an energy that flows through the pieces, even in static sections, born of unique rhythmic combinations.
It would hardly be thoughtful not to invite Arditti’s wife to the party and Hilda Paredes’s second quartet, Cuerdas del destino, proved to be the most immediately appealing work of the evening. Formally, it is structured with intricacy, using a small number of striking motifs, but it also works as pure sound – like an Amazon rainforest, with buzzing insects, fluttering wings, and multitudinous drops of rain in a tropical storm (not at all, it has to be said, Paredes’s own description).
Une fois le tapis de sol tendu et le décor monté sur le plateau des Bouffes du Nord, l’Ensemble Court-circuit – 9 instruments sonorisés –revenait sur un côté de la scène pour laisser évoluer les deux danseurs espagnols, Ana Luján Sánchez – également chorégraphe – et Toni Aparisi, sur la musique de la compositrice d’origine mexicaine Hilda Paredes. Revelaciòn emprunte son titre à la toile éponyme de la plasticienne espagnole Remedios Varo mais la musique n’est en aucun cas une tentative d’illustration: « C’est la rencontre des idées chorégraphiques et musicales qui ont donné vie à la pièce » nous dit la compositrice; et c’est bien ce magnétisme entre le son et la chorégraphie qui opère dès le début: entre le geste du chef – imperturbable Jean-Deroyer – et le mouvement stylisé de la danseuse, hissée sur les épaules de son partenaire au tout début du spectacle. Imposant le mouvement de leur corps sur la toile sonore, les deux danseurs savent habilement tirés partis de l’espace et des suggestions de la musique dans un foisonnement d’idées remarquablement exploitées.
Revelación (création mondiale) se penche sur la réalité temporelle et le rapport à autrui, thèmes inspirés à la compositrice et à la chorégraphe par la peinture de Remedios Varo. La communion entre musique et danse est totale au point que les deux arts penetrant dans l’espace vital de l’autre. Ainsi, deux musiciens de l’ensemble (clarinette et cor) s’aventurent-ils sur la scène réservée aux danseurs pour exécuter des solos. À leur tour les danseurs miment une étrange production du son qui donne un peu l’impression d’une rencontre entre deux univers parallèles. Simple et belle est l’idée chorégraphique de construire des mouvements en miroir de ceux du chef d’orchestre, véritable point de convergence entre deux arts jumeaux. L’abolition des limites dans l’espace réservé à chacun se manifeste aussi quand l’entrée sur scène des musiciens est théâtralisée par les danseurs, grâce à l’utilisation de chapeaux haut-de-forme, symbole de l’homme-personnage, du rôle à accomplir dans le théâtre et dans la vie, lancés au sol avant que la musique commence, à l’exception de ceux des solistes qui sur scène circulent entre les deux univers.
“Such emotional depth could be found in the comparatively spare, even sepulchral textures of Hilda Paredes' Canciones Lunáticas. These were three 'lunatic' songs set around a contemplation of the moon's solitary witness for a dark night, moving through a wild second song of lunacy, before emerging in celebration of the moon dancing 'by herself in the meadow' (this last set to a spectrally buoyant version of the Mexican ternary-binarydance, the huapango). The musical language of the setting was narratively alert, sometimes pictorial, sometimes obtuse, but always sensitive, agitated, and energised.” MusicalCriticism.com (2011)
“Besides his usual conducting duties, Burns showed to be a meltingly smooth trumpeter and flugelhorn player in Hilda Paredes "Ooxp eel ik'il t'aan," a 2007 work for percussion and electronics where Mayan poetry is read by author Briceida Cuevas (heard via a recording) to invoke ancient mysticism. This fusion of indigenous and modern American modes of expression bridged the millennia both convincingly and imaginatively.” Chicago Sun-Times May 21, 2010 BY BRYANT MANNING
“Paredes has often been included as part of a new generation of Mexican composers eschewing any division between northern and southern hemispheric musical cultures, focusing on the often tension-filled relations between them. And while it would not be inaccurate to compare Paredes’ chamber works to those of Ligeti, Xenakis, or Tristan Murail, it is her attention to the relationship between communication and miscommunication, conversation and noise, that sets her work apart. In thinking about Paredes’ chamber works, we can borrow a phrase from the philosopher Michel Serres, "the miracle of harmony." Reviewed by Eugene Thacker
“Her piece, "Uy u'tan", which means, "listen to their language" is the most striking on this disc. Each of the four strings has a different personality and they work together in strange ways, in odd combinations, coming together when you least expect it. This fine work makes me want to check out the other discs by Ms. Paredes” (2006) (Mode Cd 165)
“From the composer Hilda Paredes, ONIX performed Corazón de ónix, conducted by José Luis Castillo. This is a complex and ambitious piece, well written and with atmospheric and colouristic qualities. It also has solid treatment of different sound production of the instruments. These timbric qualities are enhanced by Paredes with the use of the bass and alto flute as well as bass clarinet. Corazón de ónix is marked by an interesting expressivity and by very attractive harmonic instability, which is enhanced by the use of micro-intervals and glissandi. All these elements merge in numerous moments of an evocative poetic sonority that is at the same time intense and concentrated”. La Jornada, Mexico. Juan Arturo Brennan. 2006
“Paredes, born in Mexico but long resident in London, should be better known. All four works are finely written and full of life. The title of her string quartet, Uy U T’an — in ancient Mayan — means Listen How They Talk, and Paredes takes the idea of “discourse” literally. The idea dates back to Haydn’s quartets, but she gives it an Arditti-ish twist, and the work has a superb dramatic sweep. The Ardittis are joined by the pianist Ian Pace for Cotidales and by Neue Vokalsolisten Stuttgart for the magic-spell evocation of Can Silim Tun. Ah Paaxo’ob (Those Who Play the Music) is a colourfully detailed ensemble piece.” Three stars. The Sunday Times (2005)
“The pieces on this disc were written over a three-year period, from the 1998 string quartet Uy U Tan through the settings of Mayan spells and incantations in Can Silim Tun (1999), to the piano quintet Cotidales and the ambitious ensemble piece Ah Paaxo'ob from 2001. All show that Paredes is a composer with a fresh aural imagination, while her Carter-like use of instrumentalists as dramatic protagonists gives her music an extra dimension. Superbly played, it's music worth investigating.” The Guardian (2005)
“Amongst the jewels of the programme was the emotive and well crafted Homenaje a Remedios Varo, written in 1995 by the ascending Mexican composer Hilda Paredes.”
“Watching the world premier of Hilda Paredes’ chamber opera Phantom Palace, I had the sort of out-of body experience where you say to yourself “This can’t be happening in New Haven”. I simply couldn’t come to terms with the realization that I was seeing topflight European modern opera, performed by a major international company premiering a ceaselessly provocative, unexpectedly comic and altogether amazing work…just a few blocks from my home. This is the kind of thing you feel you can only travel huge distances to see. But there it is: New Haven should be talking about Phantom Palace-in a number of languages- for years to come”.
“Social activism finds voice in opera.
In setting the story, Paredes evidently sought to draw on the musical qualities of the languages used to tell it, sometimes employing electronic means to manipulate her sound material (the spirit voices are made to come from different parts of the theatre), and sometimes using leitmotif textures (rather than themes) to evoke dramatic situations.
“What the music of the Maya’s sounded like, nobody knows anymore. But the Mexican composer Hilda Paredes searches for answers in each recorded thought, in each numerological symbolism, and thus in the roots of her own culture”
Uy u t’an “Its rhythmic vitality seduced an audience that was previously sceptical to any proposal by this Latin woman… the reaction was shocking, but with a telluric presence, like our volcanoes.”
“…nothing to match the refinement of seamless, Mayan influenced “concerto for ensemble” Ah Paaxo’ob by the Mexican Hilda Paredes” Paul Driver, SUNDAY TIMES.London (2002)