The Guitar Music of Ponce and Oliva

On Saturday September 17th, 2011 I performed a set of classical guitar music by Mexican composers Manuel M. Ponce (1882-1948) and Julio César Oliva as part of the annual Fiestas Patrias held in downtown Santa Ana. This was the first time that the marketing entity Downtown Inc sponsored a display of Mexican arts and crafts in the Artists Village, they called the event the Mexican Artisan Fair. I also performed an original composition of mine, Oliviana, an hommage to J.C. Oliva.

My recital set was as follows:

Tres canciones populares mexicanas (Manuel M. Ponce)

I. La pajarera

II. Por ti mi corazón

III. La valentina

Scherzino maya (Ponce)

Estrellita (Ponce)

Mi ciudad (arr. Julio César Oliva)

Oliviana: Homenaje a Julio César Oliva (Omar Ávalos)

Manuel María Ponce y Cuéllar was arguably Mexico’s finest composer. He was a virtuoso pianist and composed a piano concerto and a large number of piano works, but he became world-renowned for his guitar works that were made famous by Spanish concert guitarist Andrés Segovia.

Julio César Oliva is a contemporary Mexican composer-guitarist. He has a more tonal, traditional compositional style versus the more abstract and atonal style of many contemporary composers, and he sets many Latin American folk genres to art music. The arrangement of Mi ciudad, for example, comes from a collection of Mexican songs that he set for classical guitar. I bought a copy of the score for this piece in Guadalajara. His arrangements of Mexican songs can be heard on the album México Mágico.


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