MARTINEZ-SOBRAL: Acuarelas Chapinas / CASTILLO: Guatemala I and II

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ManuelMartinez-Sobral (1879 - 1946)

RicardoCastillo (1891 - 1966)


ManuelMartinez-Sobral was born in Guatemala City on 11th May, 1879 and died on 23rd March, 1946. Not much is known about how he grew into music. As acomposer, Martinez-Sobral was a self-made musician, forced to learn French and Italianto be able to study books then used on musical techniques by Dubois and Cherubini.

He composed all his music between 1895 and 1920, and after that period heworked as a lawyer. He was the Dean of the Law School and held other important public positions, and on I ytravelled abroad twice, to Philadelphia in 1933 and to New York in 1934. The music scores of Martinez-Sobral, which were consideredlost, were discovered or found in 1989 and from them and his notebooks, it waspossible to make a definite catalogue of his music. His catalogue, consideringthe short time during which he composed, is wide and of great variety, withpiano music, as well as symphonic, chamber, choral and religious music. Adelicate circumspection, certainly takes the place of recklessness in his work,which, at the same time, gives his music a sense of conciseness, thus omittingany unnecessary ornamentation. As a composer, Martinez-Sobral knew that thebehaviour of each element has a determinant repercussion in the style. Hismessage is that of the Creole Guatemalan, as opposed to the IndigenousGuatemalan, of limited musical interest and extremely exploited during thattime.


AcuarelasChapinas, Four Symphonic Scenes, was Manuel Martinez-Sobral's masterpiece. Its personal symphonic styleis evident because of its dimensions and grandiose orchestration, suggestingthat its title should be Frescos instead of the diluted one of Acuarelas (water-colours)...

Through its four movements Acuarelas Chapinas attempts to evoke andperpetuate the way in which a Sunday passed in Guatemala City at the turn ofthe century, the archetype of every Sunday in that period. The symphonicversion was composed in 1907, but Martinez-Sobral did not make the two-pianoversion unti11922, music which for a long time was the only work written fortwo pianos by a Central American composer.


AcuarelasChapinas is structured asa symphony. Each movement corresponds to a definite musical character, relatedto a place in the city and, therefore, to a scene of Sunday life; each scenealso corresponds to a determined time of the day thus a determined colour isassigned to each hour. The suggestive and visual title chosen by the composermust undoubtedly have its origin in these characteristics.


The movements andtheir relation to Acuarelas Chapinas are explained in the followingtable:


Catalogue number 8223710
Barcode 0730099371025
Release date 01/11/2000
Label Marco Polo
Format CD
Number of discs 1
Composers Martinez-Sobral, Manuel
Castillo, Ricardo
Martinez-Sobral, Manuel
Castillo, Ricardo
Conductors Almeida, Antonio de
Almeida, Antonio de
Orchestras Moscow Symphony Orchestra
Moscow Symphony Orchestra
Disc: 1
Guatemala II (orch. R. Asturias)
1 La Parada
2 Misa Mayor
3 La Hora del Cocktail
4 La Ventana
5 Allegramente
6 Moto espressivo e moderato
7 Allegro
8 Invocacion: Molto moderato
9 Evocacion: Moderato assai misterioso
10 Guatemala I
11 Guatemala II
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