Between the Andes & the Amazon

Between the Andes & the Amazon

Latin American Piano Works

Francisco Pulgar-Vidal composer
Blanca Layana Gómez composer

Po Sim Head piano

Release Date: July 28, 2023
Catalog #: NV6534
Format: Digital
21st Century
Solo Instrumental
Piano

Latin America is renowned for its many dances – the tango, salsa, bachata, merengue, samba, to name but a few – and it’s thus not surprising that the same rhythmic intricacy and emotive depth dwells in its piano music. Hong-Kong-born pianist and musicologist Po Sim Head presents two Latin American composers, the Peruvian Francisco Pulgar-Vidal as well as Ecuadorian Blanca Layana Gómez, and performs their rich works with great verve and precision.

The pieces selected for BETWEEN THE ANDES & THE AMAZON are imbued with their composers’ respective cultural heritage and eclectic style: blending influences of Peruvian folk music with atonality, Latin polyrhythms with European counterpoint, and musical forms such as the sonata with elements of local dance and song.

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Hear the full album on YouTube

"Po Sim Head makes a persuasive case for these composers and their music in her colourful and thoughtful performance."

Interlude Magazine

Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 Escenas de las Ópera Infantiles, La Luna de los niños y Juan Burrolón Artista: “La luna de los niños” - Entre las Estrellas Blanca Layana Gómez Po Sim Head, piano 1:40
02 Escenas de las Ópera Infantiles, La Luna de los niños y Juan Burrolón Artista: “La luna de los niños” - Entre la Arena y la Espuma del Mar Blanca Layana Gómez Po Sim Head, piano 1:53
03 Escenas de las Ópera Infantiles, La Luna de los niños y Juan Burrolón Artista: “La luna de los niños” - Entre Sirenas y Tiburones Blanca Layana Gómez Po Sim Head, piano 2:25
04 Escenas de las Ópera Infantiles, La Luna de los niños y Juan Burrolón Artista: “La luna de los niños”- Entre Juegos y Risas Blanca Layana Gómez Po Sim Head, piano 1:36
05 Escenas de las Ópera Infantiles, La Luna de los niños y Juan Burrolón Artista: Juan Burrolón Artista - El Pastor Flautista y sus Ovejitas Blanca Layana Gómez Po Sim Head, piano 1:54
06 Escenas de las Ópera Infantiles, La Luna de los niños y Juan Burrolón Artista: Juan Burrolón Artista - La Broma A Juan Blanca Layana Gómez Po Sim Head, piano 1:24
07 Tres Movimientos Obstinados: I. Allegro Francisco Pulgar-Vidal Po Sim Head, piano 1:42
08 Tres Movimientos Obstinados: II. Andante con anima Francisco Pulgar-Vidal Po Sim Head, piano 1:48
09 Tres Movimientos Obstinados: III. Allegro agitato Francisco Pulgar-Vidal Po Sim Head, piano 2:10
10 Siete Suites del Perú Profundo: Suite No. 1 - I. Velación del toril Francisco Pulgar-Vidal Po Sim Head, piano 2:44
11 Siete Suites del Perú Profundo: Suite No. 1 - II. Clarinada Francisco Pulgar-Vidal Po Sim Head, piano 0:59
12 Siete Suites del Perú Profundo: Suite No. 1 - III. Harawi Francisco Pulgar-Vidal Po Sim Head, piano 1:28
13 Siete Suites del Perú Profundo: Suite No. 1 - IV. Ritmo Campo Francisco Pulgar-Vidal Po Sim Head, piano 2:00
14 Siete Suites del Perú Profundo: Suite No. 2 - I. Herranza Francisco Pulgar-Vidal Po Sim Head, piano 1:22
15 Siete Suites del Perú Profundo: Suite No. 2 - II. Leñadores Francisco Pulgar-Vidal Po Sim Head, piano 1:25
16 Siete Suites del Perú Profundo: Suite No. 2 - III. Wayño lento Francisco Pulgar-Vidal Po Sim Head, piano 1:29
17 Siete Suites del Perú Profundo: Suite No. 2 - IV. Canon Francisco Pulgar-Vidal Po Sim Head, piano 1:12
18 Pases Francisco Pulgar-Vidal Po Sim Head, piano 2:33
19 Sonatina Chuscada: I. Allegro Francisco Pulgar-Vidal Po Sim Head, piano 1:31
20 Sonatina Chuscada: II. Moderato Francisco Pulgar-Vidal Po Sim Head, piano 2:14
21 Sonatina Chuscada: III. Veloce - Allegro vivo Francisco Pulgar-Vidal Po Sim Head, piano 1:16
22 Miniaturas descriptivas: I. Ilusión Indígena Blanca Layana Gómez Po Sim Head, piano 1:52
23 Miniaturas descriptivas: II. A Orillas del Salado Blanca Layana Gómez Po Sim Head, piano 1:48
24 Miniaturas descriptivas: III. Pensamiento Indigena Blanca Layana Gómez Po Sim Head, piano 2:22
25 Miniaturas descriptivas: IV. A orillas del río Blanca Layana Gómez Po Sim Head, piano 2:08
26 Miniaturas descriptivas: V. La nieve y el sol Blanca Layana Gómez Po Sim Head, piano 2:17
27 Miniaturas descriptivas: VI. Corales Blanca Layana Gómez Po Sim Head, piano 1:43
28 Miniaturas descriptivas: VII. Destellos en la telaraña Blanca Layana Gómez Po Sim Head, piano 1:20
29 Paco Yunque: I. Paco Yunque Francisco Pulgar-Vidal Po Sim Head, piano 1:14
30 Paco Yunque: II. La Viajera Francisco Pulgar-Vidal Po Sim Head, piano 1:19
31 Paco Yunque: III. Pedro de acero Francisco Pulgar-Vidal Po Sim Head, piano 2:21
32 Taki no.1: I. Danza “Turcos” (“Turcos” Dance) Francisco Pulgar-Vidal Po Sim Head, piano 1:15
33 Taki no.1: II. Canción de la pastora muerta (Dead Shepherd Song) Francisco Pulgar-Vidal Po Sim Head, piano 1:20
34 Taki no.1: III. Venta de telas (Sideway cloth market) Francisco Pulgar-Vidal Po Sim Head, piano 1:34
35 Taki no.1: IV. Fuiste a la puna grande (You went to the large bleak region) Francisco Pulgar-Vidal Po Sim Head, piano 1:28
36 Taki no.1: V. Cóndor de diamante (Diamond condor) Francisco Pulgar-Vidal Po Sim Head, piano 0:50
37 Taki no.1: VI. Mi pobre pollo pintado (My poor painted chicken) Francisco Pulgar-Vidal Po Sim Head, piano 1:02
38 Taki no.1: VII. Lucero de la mañana (morning Star) Francisco Pulgar-Vidal Po Sim Head, piano 1:05
39 Taki no.1: VIII. Quebrada Pedregosa (Rocky deep pass) Francisco Pulgar-Vidal Po Sim Head, piano 2:07

Recorded December 14, 2022 at KPR Recording Studio in Lawrence KS
Recording Session Engineer & Producer Chuck Smith

Mastering Melanie Montgomery

Executive Producer Bob Lord

A&R Director Brandon MacNeil

VP of Production Jan Košulič
Audio Director Lucas Paquette

VP, Design & Marketing Brett Picknell
Art Director Ryan Harrison
Design Edward A. Fleming
Publicity Aidan Curran
Digital Marketing Manager Brett Iannucci

Artist Information

Po Sim Head

Po Sim Head

Pianist

Born in Hong Kong, Dr. Po Sim Head is a pianist, educator, and musicologist who has a strong passion for discovering lesser-known piano repertoire from Latin America. Head received a doctorate degree in piano performance and pedagogy from the University of Kansas under the instruction of Scott McBride Smith. Her thesis introduced a few piano compositions written by a Peruvian composer Francisco Pulgar-Vidal, some of which are included on her Navona Records release. Prior to her doctorate degree, Head received her master’s degrees in piano performance and musicology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) and earned a bachelor’s degree in music composition and production at Hong Kong Baptist University. 

Francisco Pulgar-Vidal

composer

Francisco Pulgar Vidal was born in Huánuco, in the Andes of Peru, and even though he obtained a law degree, music was a stronger force in his life. Many of his original compositions have strong Andean ancestral roots, and he also transcribed and arranged musical folk genres like the huayno, tondero and marinera, so that they could be part of the standard concert hall repertoire.

Blanca Layana Gómez

composer

Blanca Layana Gómez is a female Ecuadorian composer. Her musical journey began when she taught herself to play the guitar by ear when she was young. She became interested in writing songs when she was 12 years old. Eventually, she pursued formal music studies and later, she received a composition degree at the Tchaikovsky State Conservatory in Kiev, Ukraine. Her teachers included Genady Lyashenko, Valery Koslov, and Yakov Gubanov, who was a disciple of Dimitri Shostakovich. When she returned to Ecuador, she became a professor of Harmony at the Neumane Conservatory (Guayaquil), where she also served as a director of the Chamber Orchestra and a youth choir. She was also a professor of music at the Catholic University (Guayaquil).

Notes

Blanca Layana Gómez is an Ecuadorian composer. Her compositions reflect the beauty of nature, the Ecuadorian culture, and her personal life experience. The album includes 13 short piano works. The first seven pieces are in the collection of Miniaturas descriptivas. The title of each piece reflects the beauty of the natural world and reminds us to protect the environment. Each piece was written in a different musical style and uses different compositional techniques, including Latin dance styles like danza and habanera, and compositional elements like polytonality and contrapuntal writing. The last six pieces are piano adaptations of two famous Ecuadorian children’s operas, La Luna de los Ninos and Juan Burrolon Arista. My favorite is Entre Sirenas y Tiburones. It has mysterious outer sections that contrast with the lyrical dance-like middle section.
Francisco Pulgar-Vidal (1929-2012) was an influential Peruvian composer. He was influential in Peruvian music history and was awarded many prizes, including the Dunker Lavalle Prize and the Kuntur National Folklore Prize. As a composer who belonged to the Generation of ‘50, Pulgar-Vidal was in search of a new language that could represent him and his Peruvian identity.

The three-movement Tres Movimientos Obstinados (1955) incorporates traditional pentatonic scales with the whole tone, chromatic scales, and even atonality. As the title indicates, ostinato (a repeated motif or pattern) is found in all three movements and presented as the melody and the harmony.

The eight pieces in Taki No1 for piano (1956) adapt the transcription of Peruvian folk music by the composer and Peruvian musicologist Josafat Roel Pineda. Each piece has a colorful title based on Peruvian themes. Throughout the eight pieces, you can hear how the composer blends traditional Peruvian melodies and rhythms with classical compositional techniques like homophonic and contrapuntal textures, binary, ternary and rondo structures, as well as the diatonic scales and broken chord accompaniments.

Paco Yunque (1960) is a suite of three pieces based on Peruvian novels and poems. The last piece, Pedro de acero, the most exciting piece on the set, is based on a poem by Peruvian writer and poet José María Eguren (1874-1942). Another three-movement work, Sonatina Chuscada (1972), once again showcases how Pulgar-Vidal incorporates the traditional classical form (sonatina) with the traditional Andean music style Chuscada. The first movement is a fast movement in sonata form, followed by an expressive and meditative second movement. The opening of the last movement imitates the sounds of the Andean harp, and throughout the movement, it imitates the interlocking style of Peruvian panpipe ensemble music. Two suites from Siete Suites del Perú Profundo (1972) are included in this album. Similar to Taki no.1, the collection further explores the wide Peruvian musical tradition and popular music. Pases (1974) is based on the Peruvian folk dance and Latin dance zapateo; both dances are associated with the movements and rhythms created by foot-tapping. This piece can be a solo piano work, but the composer suggests an optional cajon player play a given rhythmic pattern.