Comedy and Satire en Frente

              

                Upon a thorough reflection of the work, Frente a Frente, I conclude that this work was written as a protest to the Mexican aristocracy and is cenrevueltastered around satire. The language in the work as well as the light and bouncy accompaniment and vocal line would lead one to suspect this. As well, Revueltas historically wrote his music as a revolutionary and as a Mexican nationalist composer.

This piece is a solo work for voice and small brass choir. It calls for two trumpets, two trombones, tuba, and a military drum. Throughout the work, the dynamics stay rather loud and the parts are rather hard. The trombones have quick sixteenth-note licks which are hard to perform on a slide instrument. The trumpets have the melody through the majority of the piece, apart from the obvious choice for melody, the voice.  The time signature is in 2/4 throughout and the tempo is rather quick. The feel of the piece is rather boisterous and has a feeling of satire. Unlike many of his other works, I do not recognize any personifications in his music. In fact, this seems to be one of the most straight-forward, least modern-sounding works I have heard from Revueltas.

Revueltas was known as a drunk, which was actually the cause of his death, and it is interesting that this work has a feel of a bar song that would be sung while the patrons have had a few (or more) beers and banning the bar together against a common cause. I have an image of a man singing this song, holding his beer singing with his buddies, shouting “Triki! Triki! Triki!”, spilling beer everywhere.

                Upon reviewing the lyrics to the work, I venture that it was written to make fun of the aristocracy in Mexico around the time of the Mexican Revolution. Frente a Frente was written just shortly after he returned from Republican Spain, which was undergoing their own civil war that was supported by Mexican diplomats.  Revueltas was well known for his protest of the government and as a leader in the revolution. The lyrics begin as a poem of protest, comparing the subject of the poem to Mussolini and Hitler, calling for a face to face confronting of the powers in Mexico. The second verse however directly makes fun of the subject using very crude language stating that the subject does nothing but care about his genitals.

                The satire used in this work speaks to the frustration of the people. Through the known history of Revueltas, his style of composition, and even the lyrics, the work is an obvious attack on the subject who I have to assume is an aristocrat or a politician. The satire is used to embarrass the subject of the work and if heard, I would have to say would have thoroughly succeeded.

Joshua Lott

Mayer-Serra, Otto. “Silvestre Revueltas and Musical Nationalism in Mexico.” The Musical Quarterly 27, no. 2 (1941): 123-45. http://0-www.jstor.org.lib.utep.edu/stable/739461.

Parker, Robert. “Revueltas in San Antonio and Mobile.” Latin American Music Review / Revista De Música Latinoamericana 23, no. 1 (2002): 114-30. http://0-www.jstor.org.lib.utep.edu/stable/780428.

Robert Stevenson. “Revueltas, Silvestre.” Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press, accessed February 21, 2017, http://0-www.oxfordmusiconline.com.lib.utep.edu/subscriber/article/grove/music/23289.

Hess, Carol A. “Silvestre Revueltas in Republican Spain: Music as Political Utterance.” Latin American Music Review / Revista De Música Latinoamericana 18, no. 2 (1997): 278-96. doi:10.2307/780398.

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