La madre del río / the mother of the river (1997 – rev. 1999)

for four/five percussionists 
dedicated to Carmelo Saitta
1st Prize Concurso de composición CEAMC 1997   

The organization of sounds in La madre del río is based on the ideas of Carmelo Saitta, an Argentinian composer and percussionist. Saitta considers the percussion set as an orchestra itself, organizing instruments and props into different families. La madre del río is an anti-percussive piece that primarily uses long sustained sounds with soft attacks. A set of wine glasses emulates the sounds of a live synthesizer, playing in counterpoint with a glissing vibraphone. Other percussion instruments are distorted and modified through the literal use of water, creating quasi-electronic sounds with acoustic means.
The piece is based on a popular Argentine story called The Mother of the River, with the aim of emulating, through the music, the beautiful reflections of this mythological character in the water, as well as capturing the tension caused by her powers.

“Nobody has ever seen the Majuy Mama. There were those who saw the reflection of her hair as she sank in the Argentinean northern rivers. Some say she is a river mermaid. Others speak about a hen that sinks with its chicks or a black horse in the mountain rivers whose long tail can be seen. When she is a mermaid, she bathes in the rivers and wraps with her hair the fish that she loves the most. If a man sees her, he absorbs all of a sudden her complete happiness. The Majuy Mama, in excruciating pain, raises waves with her tail, and bumping herself against the stones, disappears in the deep waters. The happiness of some is the sadness of others.”

• Audio

Download score PDF

Send download link to:

Performance history

21/7/2004 Perceum, Ensamble de Percusión de Montevideo: Jorge Camiruaga, Ricardo Gómez, marcelo Zanolli y Sebastián Pereira. Núcleo Música Nueva de Montevideo Sala Zitarrosa, Montevideo, Uruguay
9/4/2002 Essential Elements, percussion: Charles Wood, John Kennedy, Eric Kivnick and Maya Gungi MATA Music at the Anthology Festival Angel Orensanz Foundation Center for the Arts NYC
21/10/2000 Sin Cataforesis: Sofia Escardó, Daríó Ĺ ipovich, Miguel Magud, Daniel Judcovsky, Daniel Serale Museo Isaac Fernández Blanco, Buenos Aires Argentina.
13/11/1999 UB Percussion Ensemble; Anthony Miranda, conductor Slee Concert Hall Sate University of New York at Buffalo
1998-1999 La madre del río (for four percussionists) grupo de percusiones Tambuco Forum Internacional de Música Contemporánea de Mexico (editions 1998, 1999)
1997 First Prize CEAMC & British Art Centre Composition Competition, Buenos Aires Argentina


Related works:

• Maps of the Water (2007)
• Viaje de las frecuencias en el agua / Travel of frequencies on the water (2018)


La madre del río / the mother of the river (1997 – rev. 1999) Read More »