"Serenaded by Left Coast" with Left Coast Chamber Ensemble in the San Francisco Classical Voice


The evening also featured the world premiere of Nicolas Lell Benavides’s Rinconcito for guitar, violin, viola, and cello. The title comes from the song “Rinconcito En El Cielo” (A Little Piece of Heaven) by the Mexican composer, singer, and accordion virtuoso Ramón Ayala. Benavides did not quote the musical material of the song, instead using the title to evoke his own childhood memories and also to serve as a stimulus to explore his own Mexican roots for the first time in his music. The result was an evocative serenade that created a particularly striking use of the guitar and string trio combination.”

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Review of dum spiro...

This made for a unique approach to get the listener involved in the embellishment process, situating the soloist in the middle of a cloud of seemingly unrelated pitches.

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Nick Benavides
Review of Pain has an element of blank

Benavides had the courage to take on two of the poems that Copland had already set, “Heart, we will forget him!” and “I felt a funeral in my brain.” Fortunately, he had no trouble finding his own voice to express his own interpretation of these texts... the performance emerged as a highly individual approach to poems that tapped into the soul of a highly individual woman.

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Nick Benavides
Review of i thank You God

...It, along with Nick Benavides' wonderfully structured and harmonically imaginative setting of e.e. cummings i thank you God for most this amazing day, were the most arresting pieces of the evening... The judge’s tastes were well aligned with mine.

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Nick Benavides
Review of Magnetismus

Nick Benavides’ “Magnetismus” concluded the program with a rich use of the full ensemble (without the harp). This is music that sought out its own approach to the use of “repetitive structures” (that phrase that Philip Glass prefers to “minimalism”). There is some sense of ostinato, but there is also a broader impression of a general flow of energy. Benavides seems to have found an intriguing middle ground between mechanistic repetitiveness and the more expansive rhetoric of McIntire’s “naturalism.” The result amounts to an abstraction depicting something far more concrete, even if we cannot quite pin down what that “something” is.

 

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Nick Benavides