Una Luz Santa (lutes)
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Una Luz Santa (lutes)

Price: $7.95
by Frank A. Wallace
Lute duo for two equally pitched lutes, 10-course and 8-course, based on a Sephardic theme; also in a version for two guitars

Written: 2002 and dedicated to Sylvain Bergeron

Duration: 9 minutes; 8 pages of tablature

Instrumentation: 10-course and 7-10 course lutes or two guitars

Difficulty level: very difficult, high notes and chords, complex rhythms

World premiere: by Sylvain Bergeron and Frank Wallace in Montreal

Preview: a sample PDF of Una luz santa

The Sephardic Jews lived in Spain for more than a millennium until they were expelled with all non-Christians after the Catholic Kings, Ferdinand and Isabella, conquered the last Moorish king of Granada, Boabdil. They were a vital part of the community and their departure a tragic loss for Spain. A song collected in the twentieth century and finally written down after generations of singers had passed it along to their descendants via word of mouth inspired Una Luz Santa. “Cuando el Rey Nimrod / Al campo salía / Mirava en el cielo/ Y en la estrellería / Vi una luz santa…” (When King Nimrod went to the country, he looked into the sky, into the heavens, [he] saw a sacred light…)

When I began the piece, I had no idea that this tune was my theme. It stubbornly emerged, insisting on its presence throughout the composition. And so the relatively short tune is heard in short fragments throughout with extensive interludes of new material. My goal was to create a more dense wash of sound than is normally heard in period lute duets. I wanted to use the full range of both instruments and have them interlock sonically rather than leading or accompanying one at a time. One section borrows two elements of Middle Eastern music, complex meter [18/16] with rapidly alternating groups of twos and threes, and a strumming effect imitating the oud being played with a plectra.

Gyre Publications
Copyright ©2002 Frank A. Wallace
Cover photography and design by Nancy Knowles
All rights reserved.