Sixteen years after the first Piano Quintet, this new composition was created for my friends in the Cuarteto Quiroga, and commissioned by Cosme Marina for the 2013-2014 season of the Luis G. Iberni Jornadas de Piano in Oviedo, Spain.
Much has changed since that first Piano Quintet, a work very much with a Spanish imprint in rhythms, motives, and energy. After fourteen years in the United States, the 22-minute Piano Quintet No. 2 is a truly American composition.
Dedicated to the Mississippi River, it takes the audience through a journey from the peaceful waters of Lake Itasca (Minnesota) in the first movement, where the river starts, to the streets of St. Louis, Missouri in the second movement, where the traditions of jazz and ragtime collide as we hear in the distance both St. Louis Rag and St. Louis Blues coming closer and closer together.
The third movement makes a stop in Memphis, Tennessee and it is an homage to the King (Elvis Presley) and his 1950’s ballads in the means of stylistic quotation through this peaceful and emotional (and tender) slow movement.
A grand finale, as the river concludes its journey in the Gulf of Mexico takes us to New Orleans, Louisiana and its boisterous cultural and musical features: from the Mediterranean traditions of France and Spain to the unique Zydeco music and the more contemporary hip-hop version of this genre.