Gabriela Lena Frank’s “Conquest Requiem” to premiere at Houston Symphony

Posted on: May 2, 2017

“All the big names in classical music have composed a [Requiem Mass],” writes Sydney Boyd in Monday’s (5/1) Houstonia magazine. “Gabriela Lena Frank joins their ranks with her premiere of Conquest Requiem on May 5–7 with the Houston Symphony. Mixing Latin and Meso-American text with passages by Pulitzer Prize-winning Cuban-American playwright Nilo Cruz, Frank puts her own spin on the red-letter day form…. The musical setting … follows the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire and centers around Malinche, a Nahua woman who was a slave turned advisor and mistress to Spanish Conquistador Hernán Cortés. ‘She’s a controversial figure,’ says Frank…. ‘Was she a victim, or did she take advantage of this situation to gain a certain status and protection?’ … Although it adheres to a conventional seven-movement structure, you can expect untraditional rhythms…. When she was a student at Rice University … [Frank] sang in the choir for … Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem, a momentous work about the First World War…. ‘I wanted to do something like that with a cataclysmic, huge event that changed the world, and that’s what happened when the old world and the new world met. I am a product of that.’ ”

Posted May 2, 2017