03: TWO LADINO SONGS

(Walter Mony, violin / Timothy Ehlen, piano) • The Ladino Spanish Jews were sustained by a remarkable heritage of folk songs daring their dispersal across Europe and North and South America after their exile from Spain in 1492. The first song is Cuando El Rey Nimrod (When King Nimrod went out to the field, he looked at the sky and the stars. He saw a holy star over the Jewish quarter). A rhetorical 3 bar introduction sets the piece in motion. As the violin intones the eloquent melody with its distinctive Eastern augmented intervals enriched by double stops, the piano weaves a syncopated bass line with hints of Spanish rhythms. The music then shifts to a higher key; the bass line of the piano now carries the melody while the right hand plays the syncopated accompaniment in the high register and the violin weaves evanescent arabesque passages. The violin returns with an impassioned declaration of the latter portion of the tune. The second song which forms part of this piece, is the Los Bilbilicos (The nightingales are singing in the flowering tree. Those who sit under it are suffering from love.) The violin and piano take turns with the eloquent quasi parlando melody – and then suddenly we are back to the Cuando El Rey Nimrod; this time the violin provides an extensive pizzicato version of the syncopated bass line while the piano rambles on with the tune, now enriching it with complex chords and discreet dissonance. After an impassioned statement of the latter portion of the melody in a higher key and register, the violin closes the proceedings chanting a fervent cadenza-like declamation.

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