• Sinfonía Colibrí19:59
  • Sinfonía Colibrí21:04

frank stemper

Sinfonía Colibrí (2007)
a setting of three poems of the Mexican poet OCTAVIO PAZ  — 21 minutes

for  tenor and full orchestra

with two guitars (acoustic and electric), accordion, alto saxophone, piano, and orchestra


Sinfonía Colibrí is a long expansive piece that combines orchestra with two guitars (acoustic and electric), accordion, saxophone, several percussionists and the poetry of Ocavio Paz.  It represents my impressions of Chihuahua, Mexico in terms of the land and the people.  I have visited many times, and the relationships I have made with the city and its people have inspired me both artistically and personally – that is, if those two concepts can be separated.

This music is in three large sections, performed without interruption.  The first section, La Madrugada, represents the sprawling presence of the land: earth and mountains, and its bond with the surrounding environment, especially above the horizon, the stars and heavens.  This is imagined in its pristine beginning, before life of any kind, as it prepares for the onset of the creation and the infection of man.

The second section, La Vida, is a celebration of the spirit of the people born of this land, and, in turn, their celebration of life.  Life is a fiesta!  The music grows from the people’s combined spirits, which fuse to create a single spirit, exposed in dancing, singing and romance.  This spirit is free, like a hummingbird, and follows its muse, living without worry or concern.  Those who dance and sing respond emotionally in their celebration, increasing in passion and happiness as the end begins to make its presence known.

The onset of the conclusion of life is a shocking realization for everyone.  Initially we are frightened by the thought of the void ahead of us.  However, rather than concluding our passions, the final period of life is really the richest: We have years of memories, which are stored in our hearts and are able to be plucked at any time and lived again, and again.  The ending also implies new life, as we make way for the next generation of fiestas.  Part three, Un Anochecer, is the conclusion in a musical sense, but it is actually, then, a commencement, initiating not only a new beginning, but the interconnection of a whole life, of this land and all the others, of all the political boundaries, of a world of people and of a single person, and of el colibrí.