Con Flor y Canto (1994)

Cantata for Tenor, Bass, Mixed Chorus, Children’s Chorus and Orchestra
Texts from the Bible and the Popol Vuh
Adapted by Josefina García and the Composer
In Spanish; English translation printed in score

Duration:  20 minutes
Published Piano/Vocal score for sale

Commissioned by Brooks Jones

Premiere Performance:  October 29, 1994
Orquesta Juvenil de Tepoztlán; Ismael Campos, Conductor

Recording:  Robert Xavier Rodríguez Works for Chorus and Orchestra,
Albany, TROY 430

University of Miami Symphony Orchestra and Chorus; Miami Children’s Chorus
Thomas M. Sleeper, Conductor

Composer’s Note:

Con Flor y Canto is a narrative cantata in Spanish.  It is the central portion of the evening-long Mexican folk celebration, Adoracíon Ambulante.  The title, Con Flor y Canto, refers to the ancient Nauhuatl saying, in xochitl, in cuicatl (by flower and song), a metaphor for the search for the eternal through the perishable: “flowers” (which fade as quickly as they bloom) “and songs” (which cease the instant they are sung) “will never die.”  Two performing groups illustrate the Indian/European duality of post-Colombian Mexican culture.  Bass and children’s chorus sing the ancient Aztec and Mayan story of the creation of the world from the ancient Mayan Popol Vuh, while tenor and mixed chorus sing the Biblical account.  Colorful invocations of the Deity are then followed by philosophical expressions of the certainty of death, as expressed in the writings of both cultures.  The two groups join in an exuberant finale combining an Aztec hymn (We praise Thee, O Lord, with the flower-decked drums)and Psalm 100 (Make a joyful noise unto the Lord).  The music unites echoes of pre-Colombian America with Gregorian chant in a radiant synthesis of the two hemispheres. 


…“My favorite is Con Flor y Canto (By Flower and Song), a cantata excerpted from an evening-long Mexican folk celebration Rodríguez composed in 1994…It’s a sacred work linking texts from Aztec and Mayan creation stories sung by the baritone and children’s choir with Biblical selections intoned by the tenor and adult choir. It all comes together in an enthusiastic synthesis guaranteed to have you tapping a toe or two as God’s name is praised amid divine light made manifest in flowers and songs.”
                                      Greenfield, American Record Guide