Wuaraira Repano (2006)
is a clarinet concerto in one movement that was commissioned by the Contemporary Ensemble of Duquesne University and was premiered by José Fernando Gomez, clarinet, under the baton of its Music Director David Stock in 2006.
I grew up in Caracas, Venezuela. Caracas is in a valley with a paradise-like weather. Wuaraira Repano was the aboriginal name to the mountain in the north of the city, which literally means “Big Sierra”. Anyone who has ever been to Caracas knows how important this cordillera is to anyone who's grown up there. From an early age the Caraqueños visit the mountain either to admire Caracas or the ocean, which lies behind it. During my high school years I used to go camping there with my friends and I have very fond memories from that time. It is also the place where I lost two friends back in the late seventies, both in hang gliding accidents. Andrés Beltrán was my best friend through my years of high school and Paul Carranza who was the pianist of the band MandalaIndigo that provided the incidental music or music backups for Arte de Venezuela, the theater company where I trained as an actor during my high school years. While Andrés was my contemporary and classmate, Paul was older and he became an incidental tutor. In fact Paul was the one who taught me my first chords on the piano.
I wanted to somehow honor the members of this band with this piece. In fact the younger brother of Paul, Quique Carraza who played as well in the band has also been diseased for some time now. I thought of no better way than to incorporate a theme by the band in the piece. I have forgotten the name of the song but I mainly used an arppeggiated chord progression of it, and I actually quote it very briefly in the cadenza of the clarinet (C#3 – G#3 – C#4 – B3 – D#4 – F#4, etc.) As I was working on this piece and thinking in all these happy memories of my teenage years I realized that there is only another time in my life that I have felt so happy and this has been seeing my son grow. He is about to become a teenager himself and I couldn’t help but to somehow incorporating him into the fabric of this piece. The opening theme came about as I heard by wife calling our son Amadís for dinner. She, without realizing it, makes this little tune every time she calls on him (D# – E – A). I then realized that when I call him I use a similar melody (D# – E – B), which became the opening phrase of the clarinet.
The piece is a quasi sonata form with the addition of an extra section before what one could be label as the development, leading to a recapitulation and short cadenza with a codetta. The piece is about 15 minutes long and it's orchestrated for solo clarinet, flute, English horn, bass clarinet, bassoon, French horn, trumpet, trombone, two percussionists, piano and strings.