Arturo Marquez

Arturo Márquez (b. 1950)
Danzón No. 2
(instr: Juan Villadre)

A characteristic of prominent Mexican composer Arturo Márquez is the incorporation of musical forms and styles of his native country into his classical compositions. His series of Danzónes composed in the early 1990s catapulted him on the international scene especially after renowned Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel included Danzón No. 2 (1994) in the programme of his Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra tour of the US and Europe in 2007. Highly acclaimed by the various audiences, it has since become one of the most sought-after orchestral showpieces.

The Danzón, a dance style with Cuban origins, is an integral part of the folklore of the Veracruz region of Mexico. Indeed, Márquez’s inspiration for the series was triggered by a visit to a ballroom in Veracruz. The Danzón No. 2’s principal feature is its strong rhythmic impulse with ongoing cross-rhythms, rather than a particular melodic propensity. It builds up from a tranquil quasi-lilting opening to an intense, boisterous, quasi-breathless ending in which all the instruments participate in the percussive orgy. Structured on loose binary form, the piece prominently features a few solo instruments, namely clarinet in Bb, clarinet in Eb, trumpet, piccolo and piano.

The band version of this work is being premiered in Malta tonight.