I am delighted and honoured that these three divertimientos by Pedro Ximénez Abrill, from Peru and Bolivia in the early and mid-nineteenth century, are now available in Tecla. The three divertimientos are a remarkable addition to music history because of their quality and because they incorporate popular music from that time and place into works of otherwise classical construction, something which until now was not thought to have happened in South America until about one hundred years later. They are important in showing us something of music in Peru and Bolivia at that time, and especially they are important to the guitar because of the elaborate guitar parts. Indeed, each of these three divertimientos is called a Divertimiento concertante because of the star role that it gives in each case to the guitar.
Pedro Ximénez, also known as Pedro Ximénez Abrill Tirado which is a form of his name which he himself used in the latter part of his life, and as Pedro Ximénez Abrill which is the form on the original title-pages of all three of these divertimientos, was born in Arequipa in Peru in 1784 and then from 1833 was director of music at Sucre Cathedral in Bolivia for the rest of his life. For much more about him please see the article on him which José Manuel Izquierdo König has kindly written specially for this edition, in English and in Spanish/en español.
The popular dances in these divertimientos are as follows.
In op. 43, the third and final movement contains two popular dances, the bailecito and the yaraví, which are arranged as follows. First an Adagio molto serves to introduce this third and final movement. Then there follows an Allegretto which can be seen to be a bailecito from its similarity to the bailecitos of today which are still danced in the south of Peru and in the northwestern area of Argentina. Then the Adagio (with the strings con sordina) is a yaraví, and the final Allegretto is again the bailecito. This third and final movement gives a splendid conclusion to the whole work.
You can see a video of the last movement of op. 43 here, in which Gabriel Schebor plays the guitar part. Look and listen particularly at 4:22 and 8:24, where the bailecitos come in.
We have interesting testimony about the yaraví from a writer slightly before Ximénez, namely José Toribio del Campo, who wrote in the newspaper the Mercurio Peruano in 1792 that the yaravi had remarkable modulations: “en ocho compases se hallan todas las modulaciones y transiciones que los científicos establecen”, and wrote of “las violentas transiciones en que estriba su ser, no permiten ingreso a la harmonia”.
In op. 59, the dance in the last movement is a bailecito.
Much more about these divertimientos can be read in the general introduction to all three divertimientos and in the notes to each of the three divertimientos which Gabriel Schebor has written for this edition. For information about Pedro Ximénez please see the article about him which José Manuel Izquierdo König has kindly written specially for this edition, in English and in Spanish/en español.
For me and for Tecla Editions there is a particular link with Ximénez because he lived and composed in the same city, Sucre, and at the same time, as the singer Pablo Rosquellas, whom we saw in my book España de la guerra when he sang in London on 29 August 1812 at the celebrations for the new Constitution of Cadiz.
Many thanks to Gabriel Schebor for his agreement to make this edition and for his work in preparing it, and also special thanks to José Manuel Izquierdo König, the author of Being a Composer in the Andes during the Age of Revolutions, a doctoral thesis which he wrote at Cambridge in 2017, for his article on Ximénez specially for this edition.
I hope that we shall hear many performances of these splendid pieces, here published for the first time.