top of page
Pájaros garabatos
For String Quartet and Soprano

25 minutes

I. Intro (Pájaros Garabatos). Duration: 2’00”

II. Nocturne - Recitative. Duration: 3’17”

III. Salscherzo. Duration: 5’10”
IV. “Los Mirlitos”. Duration: 4’21”
V. Transition. Duration: 0’52”
VI. “Hijos Míos”. Duration: 4’21”

Commissioning funding provided by the Minnesota State Arts Board through a Creative Support for Individuals Grant.

Premiered by the Jasper Quartet and Maria Brea, Soprano. The Schubert Club, Music in the Park Series. April 2023. 

Subsequent performance at the Jasper Quartet Chamber Music Series, November 2023.

Program Notes

"Pájaros garabatos" translates to "scribble birds", or "scrawl birds" which is also the title of the introductory movement. The quartet is to be performed without any pauses in between the movements.

Like many of my recent works, Pájaros garabatos explores my Venezuelan identity and how my two small children will relate to their Venezuelan-ness. The texts by young Venezuelan poet Juan Lebrun are evocative poems that take the reader/listener on a journey through our country. Lebrun's imagery is vivid and compelling: the blackbirds in the first poem symbolize my two young children who through no fault of their own have been left a legacy of sadness, tragedy, and family separation as the children of a Venezuelan father. The second poem visualizes the children as possible catalysts for change in a country that is not their own, but one that needs their vitality, ideas, and love.

Like Schoenberg's Second and Ginastera's Third String Quartets, Pájaros Garabatos only introduces the voice for the latter part of the work. In the opening movements of the piece, we are introduced to the scribble birds as they swarm the night sky. This introductory movement leads us to the Nocturne-Recitative, where now we get a more traditional texture, with a supporting chorale of sorts and an increasingly elaborate melody that unfurls above. The darkness of the night is however still quite present in the end of this movement, where the sweet lyrical melodic from before turns into a macabre type of dance.

Dance is at the center of the third movement, titled Salscherzo. From the darkness of the previous movements, we emerge into a soundworld that is intended to depict Venezuelan life during the day. As the title implies, the movement here is taking the place of the Scherzo in a traditional quartet, but it in this case, this Scherzo is infused with traditional and popular musical styles commonly found in Venezuela: namely salsa music, and a particular kind of merengue that comes from Caracas.

The final vocal movements explore the thematic core of the work: a sense of deep loss felt at being unable to share my experience of my native land with my children, the hope that they will feel as connected to it as I do, and 􏰹nally the belief that their relationship with Venezuela might in turn be part of the solution that helps my country re-emerge from the darkness into which is has been plunged for the last 24 years.

Reinaldo Moya (February 28, 2023)

bottom of page