Johanny Veiga Barbosa 3/6/2017
El Renacuajo Paseador
I listened to 4 different versions of YouTube of El Renacuaio Paseador by Silvestre Revueltas. After analyzing the song, I had various impressions of what the composer was trying to convey.
At the beginning of this piece it is possible to hear timpani, trumpets and tambourine in descending notes with strings in a very dramatic and dissonant moment .We can feel the different rhythms and meters; maybe ¾ or 6/8.
After this dramatic beginning, the trombones started with the first folk Mexican melody song accompanied by violins. At this moment, I could realize that I never listened to strings so maybe it was a small chamber orchestra with two violin solos in a mariachi style. It is possible to imagine happiness and a lot of humorous people dancing, and it gives me the feeling of being in a party.
The second Mexican theme starts with both solo violinists in a mariachi style in thirds. In a more calm section, the rhythm is more slow and we can hear trombones and clarinets in a mariachi style but slower. Sometimes some trumpets “scream” in a dissonance, breaking the Mexican style and reminding us maybe of a Stravinsky style with lots of dissonance.
In the middle of all this we suddenly can hear in the trombones section the beginning of Mendelssohn’s march utilized for weddings. This made me finally begin to suspect that the party was happening during a marriage ceremony. We could hear trumpets again in dissonance, and we could notice the clear distinctions of the instruments. Trumpets and violins started in a new folk song theme in mariachi style, so here we can say he utilized different songs and themes interposed with dissonances. Maybe a happy or not happy marriage.
A new folk theme occurs in the trumpets and flutes, with isolated themes happening in all the instruments. “A party again happening in all the instruments’ families” with a happy and up beat moment followed by more dissonances in the winds, the composer changed all the time from tonal to atonal.
Winds have the principal theme now with a new folk song: happy and fast but kind of dissonant and intentionally almost out of tune, with the folk music still coming back all the time but always with new elements. The violins have a lot of effects like pizzicatos and slides causing the dissonance to become more visible and the folk song in the clarinets much more dramatic. Maybe here would be the end of the party where people are starting to get drunk and tired and fight with each other. The folk music was repeated in the extreme until a new version became more distorted.
The ending section starts with trombones with mutes in a very slowed down chromatic scales “funny moment.” And in a hurry it came back to become happy, as a conclusion maybe, and a happy ending. However, abruptly we just arrived in the end with a chord accord without resolution, which made me wait for more and ask myself, “That is it? That is the end?
To conclude, after listening to 4 different versions on YouTube of this piece and others, I can say Silvestre utilized a lot of different rhythms, atonal and tonals moments, and a very balanced melody in all the instruments. There were some connections with other composers and styles like Mendelssohn and Stravinsky, and mariachi folk tunes, or ranchera. There were a lot of brass moments, and even with him being a violinist strings were not very important. There were also some movie elements like this marriage history and funny moments. Searching about this piece I discovered it is a ballet with a story about a disobedient frog who got in trouble and they still telling until now tell this story for children to teach them to respect their parents.
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