While on tour in Brazil in 2000 I was given an insider's view of the infamous Morro da Babilônia Favela in Rio de Janeiro which few outsiders, at that time, could experience. The sights, sounds, smells and the reality of the daily lives of the residents was equally intriguing and unsettling and will stay with me always. The dichotomy between the opulence of the beaches of Copacabana and its poor neighbor was striking and haunting. There seemed to be a predominance of natural rhythms created by the actions of the daily routines of the population and the sounds of crowded streets and alleys had a striking crescendo and diminuendo. The street, circus performers seemed an anomaly at first but the explanation was enlightening and a testimony to the human spirit and outreach. As a parent, the revelations about the children of the Candelaria massacre tore at my heart deeply and begged a presence in this composition. Deep blue patches of the rooftop water reservoirs contrasted with the earthen colors of walls intersecting in asymmetrical angles suggested musical patterns and textures. In this work, Morro da Babilônia, I have drawn on these memories to musically convey my emotions as I think back to that eventful day.
John La Barbera
American Composers Orchestra (ACO) is dedicated to the creation, celebration, performance, and promotion of orchestral music by American composers. With commitment to diversity, disruption and discovery, ACO produces concerts, pre-college and college education programs, and emerging composer professional development to foster a community of creators, audience, performers, collaborators, and funders.
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