Tres Cuartos de Cien
“Tres Cuartos de Cien” is a symphonic totem. Just as the Canadian Kwakwaka’wakw sculpted their history in wooden totems, the piece celebrates and narrates 75 years of diplomatic relations between Canada and Mexico. In 1960, Canada gifted a State Totem by Mungo Martin to Mexico as a sign of friendship, This year, Mexico offers this "symphonic totem" with the same affection. I wrote the piece commissioned by and with the support of Mexico's Undersecretary for North America Jesús Seade of Mexico's Secretariat of Foreign Affairs. It is divided into three parts:
1. The two nations begin their diplomatic relations as a consequence of the Second World War. A chaotic chord unleashes a myriad of melodies that culminate in a solid orchestral tutti that represents the start of the diplomatic ties between Canada and Mexico.
2. The Cold War. An unsure period where the two countries look for their place in a divided world. The orchestra turns dark and mysterious. However, in 1960 Canada commissions a State Totem for Mexico as a sign of friendship. We hear the woodwinds "whisper" over the mysterious bed of the orchestra. The rhythms of their whispers emulate the word "totem". The orchestra then changes to represent the sculpting of the totem. The claves sound like sculpting tools and the strings bang the wood of their instruments. The orchestra reaches a climax that leads us to the next section...
3. NAFTA. The “car horns” of automobiles (the tight bond of the automobile industry between Canada and Mexico) invites us to this last section. The orchestra grows progressively like a machine that represents the diverse number of industries that have strengthened both nations since January 1st, 1994. We reach a monumental orchestral tutti that leaves us ecstatic and inspired by the history of these two countries, and the exciting future of that history.
I want to personally thank the Orchestra of the Americas, Jesús Seade, Enrico Chapela, Vanda Gaidamovic and Mexico's Secretariat of Foreign Affairs. It is also worth mentioning the dramatic development of "The Rite of Spring" greatly inspired me for this piece. At some point, I subtly quote the work by Stravinsky.