Friday, April 26, 2013

CCC 069 - Carlos Colon Quintana

The Consonant Classical Challenge features Carlos Colon Quintana this time around. Colon Quintana was born in El Salvador, and moved to Guatemala, where he first studied composition as a teenager. In time, he made his way to the United States where he is active as a composer today.

Colon Quintana writes primarily orchestral and choral compositions. He incorporates the music of Central America into his works, which makes them readily accessible, even on first hearing. At the same time, his music is structurally sound, taking full advantage of the complexities that classical composition can offer.

El Alabado de Margil is a good representation of Colon Quintana's style. Listen for the blend of contemporary art music gestures with the rhythms and harmonic patterns of Latino culture.


The Obertura Para Un Martir is a powerful work for soloist, choir and orchestra. Part concert work, part theater piece,  Colon Quintana sublimates the folk elements to the imperative nature of the text.


Colon Quintana writes quite effectively for chorus. This excerpt from his requiem shows how Colon Quintana uses the human voice in sometimes unusual ways to communicate the emotions he wants. Confutatis from the Requiem demonstrates this principle in action. And in this video, the composer conducts, providing further insight as to how he envisioned the work to be performed.


Carlos Colon Quintana is part of a distinguished company of  Central and South American composers who have successfully blended folk traditions with classical conventions to create a unique musical voice.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find any recordings to recommend. And that is unfortunate, because all of his works I've heard have been appealing, engaging, and well-crafted. All we need is some rising conductor to champion his music (and perhaps record it for Naxos).

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