Elevate Ensemble - The Color Festivals in SFCV

In the first half, two works for string quartet and harpsichord were premiered. Despite their similar instrumentation, they could not have been more different from one another. The first piece, The Color Festivals by Nicolas Lell Benavides, is a six-movement work based on fairy tales the composer’s parents had read to him as a child: Abbie Phillips Walker's Told by the Sandman.

Inspired by Ravel’s Mother Goose Suite, Benavides aimed to create whimsical music, which would nonetheless appeal to adults. While the piece does adopt techniques, including thick embellishments, that conjure Baroque music, the harmonies and resultant musical portraits sound diverse and modern. My favorite was the fourth — an unmeasured, quasi-improvisatory prelude motivated by a tale about a sad guard dog.


Nick Benavides