The Eleventh Heaven
Full Orchestra (pgs. 13-34)
CIM 100TH ANNIVERSARY CONCERT AT SEVERANCE HALL
Premiered at Severance Hall by Carlos Kalmar & the Cleveland Institute of Music Orchestra as part of CIM's 100th Anniversary Concert.
"The Eleventh Heaven was a highlight of the evening. [...] the piece blazes into a cosmic tempest until it has no more room to grow and is finally consumed in an explosion of silence — a noiselessness which did not last long due to the roar of the enthusiastic crowd which leapt to its feet for ovation after ovation."
— Lisa deBenedictis at Coolcleveland.com.
About the piece:
Ilhuícatl-Teotlacuauhco, ‘The Heaven Where the Red God is’
In Nahuatl this heaven is called Ilhuícatl-Teotlacuauhco, ‘the heaven where the red god (is).’ Ilhuícatl, heaven; teotl, god; tlacuauhqui, red; co, place.
Recipient of the 68th BMI Student Composer Award and the 2020 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award, Onceavo Cielo (The Eleventh Heaven) gets its title from the eleventh strata (level) in the Nahua pre-Hispanic cosmogony (heavens). This is the strata where Xiuhtecutli (god of fire) and his female counterpart Chantico (goddess of wrath and volcanoes) dwell. It is described as "the red sky full of rays where the dying Sun and twilight reside."
Specifically, this piece investigates Xiuhtecutli's role as the starter of time and the weaver of all the strata (levels) in the cosmos. According to Nahua myth, Xiuhtecutli is said to connect all thirteen heavens, nine underworlds, and the human plane of existence via the fire of creation: the fire with which he sparked the universe into existence. This is most clearly shown in the first page of the Fejérváry-Mayer Codex (image above) which shows Xiuhtecutli surrounded by eight night-lords and the four cardinal directions: at the center of reality. In his hand, he holds the fire of creation. He is the ‘spinal chord’ weaving all the planes of existence (heavens, underworlds, and the human plane) together with the thread of time. In some pre-Hispanic traditions Xiuhtecutli is nicknamed 'the old god.'
At its core, this piece is about memorability, idealization, and aesthetic historicism as questions of impermanence—the impermanence of time, of believes, of gods, and of music—become unavoidable.
2 Flute (2nd doubling to Piccolo)
2 Clarinets in Bb
4 Horns in F
3 Trumpets in C (Harmon Mute)
2 Tenor Trombones (Harmon mute)
Percussion (4 players)
Percussion 1: Xylophone, Tambourine, Snare Drum, Glockenspiel
Percussion 2: Hi-hat, Chimes, China Suspended Cymbal, Vibraphone, Marimba
Percussion 3: Bass Drum, Maracas, Whip, China Suspended Cymbal
Percussion 4: Tam-Tam (Large), China Suspended Cymbal, Tubular Bells, Guiro
Piano (doubling Celesta)
Instrumentation: 2+picc.3.2+Ebcl.2 / 4.3.2+btbn.1 / 4perc / pn.cl.hp / str
Premiered at Severance Hall by Carlos Kalmar & CIMO
"[...] the piece blazes into a cosmic tempest"
-- Lisa deBenedictis