Serpiente de Turquesas


Full Orchestra (pgs. 13-34)

Serpiente de Turquesas (concerto for violin and orchestra)

NOV. 2015

About the piece:

Serpiente de Turquesas (Turquoise Serpent) is a symbol that permeates prehispanic art and religion. In Mexica (a prehispanic culture) mythology, it is the animal representation of Xiuhtecutli, the god of fire. In art, it is often portrayed with a head on each end, a reference to the importance of duality in the Mexica religion.

Prehispanic cultures associated turquoise with water as well as with jade, itself a symbol of fire. In this way, the Turquoise is both connected to water and fire. To this end, the piece is structured in two movements. The first explores the aqueous connotations of turquoise in pre-hispanic art. The Second movement deals with fire, referencing The Eleventh Heaven. Additionally, several references are made to mimic the symmetrical depictions of the turquoise snake in pre-hispanic art: throughout the piece, phrases are often followed by a retrograde version of itself.

Serpiente de turquesas is also a nickname given to the Huasteca, the region of Mexico where I am from. The region gets its name due to the abundance and turquoise color of its rivers, as well as the tropical green of its ecosystems.

Instrumentation: 2+picc.1.2 / 0.1.2+btbn.1 / 3perc / pn.cl / str



     2 Flute (2nd doubling to Piccolo)

     1 Oboe

     2 Clarinets in Bb

     1 Trumpets in C (Harmon Mute)

     2 Tenor Trombones (Harmon mute)

     Bass Trombone



     Percussion (3 players)

     Percussion 1: Xylophone, Tambourine, Snare Drum, Glockenspiel

     Percussion 2: Hi-hat, Chimes, China Suspended Cymbal, Vibraphone, Marimba

     Percussion 3: Tam-Tam (Large), China Suspended Cymbal, Tubular Bells, Guiro


     Piano (doubling Celesta)