Frente a Frente

Love, Corina

Frente a Frente was a piece by Revueltas that was composed in 1938 that was meant to make a statement saying “Down with dictatorship!” and “We will fight!”

“Frente a frente” in a literal translation means “front versus front” but can also be used for the term “facing.” This is a piece Revueltas wrote in 1938, during the heat of the Mexican Revolution. According to Azuela, this was a movement of the artists that had came about to demonstrate the idea that they were going to go up against the government they felt was not doing a good job. The UTEP Chamber Singers performed this piece and it had a bit of modern choreography to it. They came out and seemed to be upset as they sang the song in unison. At the end of the piece, they storm off and throw the music in the air or on the ground. I, myself, am a part of the group and I helped the group learn the piece up to tempo and with the words. From what I understand and from context clues, this piece was meant to be a song for the people to get their word out to the people. It was a message of standing up for their rights to equal pay and decent work hours and conditions.

The actual piece, although short, is very powerful. It is roughly a 120 bpm marking there are not many accidentals (meaning weird or out of place notes), and is written to be sung in unison. It’s clearly a march with a purpose. There are two verses with spoken chants at the end for the last couple of phrases. They were accompanied by brass, which is a common signal of a marching band, that kept the momentum moving. The rough translation from the main part of the piece (last two stanzas) is as follows:

     “Mussolini! Franco! Hitler and Pandilla! Die! Die! Die!”

     “If women have balls, let them be shown!”

The first one is for the first verse and the second one is for the second verse. The second verse is a rough rough translation but the idea behind it is that one must go all out when fighting a war, even women. The first verse is clearly saying they want the dictators to die. It’s a clear statement saying that they want their freedom to do as they please, and not how the person in charge pleases. By this I mean that Revueltas made is statement of “Down with dictatorship!” and “We will fight!” very clearly with this Frente a Frente piece.

Bibliography

Azuela, Alicia. “El Machete and Frente a Frente: Art Committed to Social Justice in Mexico.” Art Journal 52, no. 1 (1993): 82-87. doi:10.2307/777306.

Frank, Robert L. “Prelude to Cold War: American Catholics and Communism.” Journal of Church and State 34, no. 1 (1992): 39-56. http://0-www.jstor.org.lib.utep.edu/stable/23917258.

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

UTEP Department of Music. Facebook. February 14, 2017. Accessed February 20, 2017. 40 min mark. https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Futepmusic%2Fvideos%2F10155065958402451%2F&show_text=0&width=560.

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