I’ve been working on a guitar and voice concert by composers from the Americas for the past several years. The project began when I was approached by an American guitarist living in Madrid — Keith Rodriguez. We put together a presentation for a benefit concert for a non-profit group (CESAL) that raised funds for Haiti. I found songs by the Haitian composer Frantz Casseus which became part of the program. The program also included negro spirituals arranged by Rodney Stucky, American colonial-era songs arranged by Carlos Barbosa-Lima, as well as songs that I had developed many years before by Puerto Rican composer Ernesto Cordero, Brazilian composer Heitor Villa Lobos and others. This concert eventually became known as “Belleza de las Américas”, a Pan-American program of composers from both the North and Latin Americas.
Francisco and I at Centro Cultural Civico Dominicano in Manhattan a couple of years ago, doing Dominican songs.
Yet this project really had its origin in the early 2000s, when I began to present concerts with Colombian guitarist Francisco Roldán here in NYC. Our first venture together was a concert in the former CAMI Hall, in which we mixed European and Latin American songs for voice and guitar. We continued to concertize together for more than five years doing projects, including a concert dedicated to Isaac Albéniz for the Puffin Foundation in NJ, as well as a wonderful project that highlighted the compositions of Dominican composer Rafael “Bullumba” Landestoy with our pianist friend Alexander Wu.
After several years, we are reuniting to do a concert at NYC’s El Taller Latino Americano on February 20th, 2015 and our reunion comes about in a curious way: this past year I have been devoted to a recording project that friends and family know about, “España alla Rossini”. The disc relates the dance and musical culture of mid 19th century Spain with the chamber music of songs of Gioacchino Rossini. I recorded the disc in Segovia (Spain) this past year, and it’s set to come out in April of 2015. I ran a crowd funding campaign on Hatchfund to help pay for the expenses. One of my benefactors is John Kordel Juliano, a lover of Spanish culture; his generous contribution came with a gift of thanks from me: a live concert for voice and guitar on the date and place of his choice.
Me singing España alla Rossini at the Museo del Romanticismo in Madrid (Spain) last summer.
The prize/concert is a NYC version of Belleza de las Américas. Calling upon my old friendship with Francisco, we have devised a repertoire that includes most things in the version of this concert that I do in Spain with my friend Keith Rodriguez:
REPERTOIRE FOR BELLEZA DE LAS AMÉRICAS, A CONCERT FOR VOICE AND GUITAR
Anna Tonna, mezzo soprano and Francisco Roldán, guitar
Friday February 20, 2015 at 7 PM at
El Taller Latino Americano
The first four songs of Seis poemas arcaicos by Manuel Ponce, arranged for voice and guitar by Gregg Nestor that uses the Cancionero de Palacio: Mas quiero morir; Zagaleja del Casar; De las sierra; Sol, sol, gi, gi.
Four songs by Ernesto Cordero: Madrugada, Hija del viejo Pancho, Zenobia and Viaje Definivo
Dos canciones by Cuban composer Leo Brouwer on Lorca texts
Where is fancy bred by Elliot Carter
Modinha by Heitor Villa Lobos
Excerpts from Five Negro Spirituals, arranged for voice and guitar by Rodney Stucky: Little David Play On Your Harp; Give me Jesus; Deep River
A ti… , song by Colombia’s Jaime León, arranged for voice and guitar by Francisco Roldán
Verano porteño as a guitar solo, by Astor Piazzolla
Come join us for “Belleza de las Américas”
at El Taller Latino Americano, located at 225 W. 99th Street Manhattan
Friday, February 20, 7 PM