for bassoon and piano
by Miguel del Aguila (b. 1957)- Uruguayan composer
Written in 1986 and premiered 1987 at the Katholische Hochschulgemeinde Hall in Vienna, Austria by bassoonist Judith Farmer and the composer at the piano. The version for solo bassoon and string ensemble (Hexen Op. 17), was written in 1987 and premiered 1988 at Vienna’s Konzerthaus by American Music Ensemble Vienna, Hobart Earl conductor and J.Farmer bassoon. The US premiere took place 1988 in New York City by Brooklyn Philharmonic, Lucas Foss conductor and Frank Morelli, bassoon. This orchestral version was released by Albany Records (Troy CD 066, Th. Berger-Miguel del Aguila).
Hexen, an early work on Aguila’s catalogue, already shows a strong influence of the folklore of his native Latin America; in this case that of Brazil. Written in ABA form it features a mysterious, and somewhat lyrical middle section between two outer fast sections. A single rhythmic motive in the unstable 11/16 time signature lends structure to the whole piece which depicts a bewitchment ritual in its various stages. In this ritual the realm of magic and the supernatural is reached by means of rhythm and dance as is often the case in the Candomblé or Macumba rituals of Brazil and Uruguay. The Viennese press review of the premiere aptly described the work as “thrilling and ghastly”.