Works > Papalote


Written in:
treble voice and violin
Commisioned by

Premiered on 18th April 2009 at the Heidelberg Spring Festival by Jake and Irvine Arditti.

Programme Note

In Papalote the vocal melody is at once ingenious and natural – and relatively simple because Paredes was writing here for her stepson as a boy treble. But it is also fascinatingly ambiguous, not least in how that opening A–E, which embeds the voice in the instrumental music, also springs open a vista back to folk song, rather as Rocio González (one of the most admired Mexican poets of Paredes’s generation) does in her poem.

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By belonging with the violin, in the first version of the song, the voice finds this other connection. At the same time, the piece perhaps expresses the intimate kinship between its intended performers (could the choice of a poem beginning with those two syllables have been accidental?), the violin doubling every one of the voice’s notes, in unisons that certainly add to the piece’s luminosity, while finding its own way from each to the next. The voice is an abstract of the violin, the violin a development of the voice.

– Paul Griffiths.