On 28 May I missed most of the first concert due to transport difficulties. On my minibus was travelling the Argentine Cecilia Villanueva, whose En línea was in the programme. We arrived over an hour late, to the pleasant surprise that the organisers had engineered a rolling postponement of En línea, so that, on our arrival, the composer was able to slip into the hall right in time to hear her piece. It was a disciplined study in pitch range-demarcated textures for predominantly low instruments.
The evening concert, by Orquesta Filarmónica de Caracas conducted by German Cáceres, began with Alba Potes’s Cantares para orquesta, a rich fabric of colour and texture. Then came the second movement of Una música escondida. The idea of performing this movement only had been a practical solution emerging from discussions in the wake of the aforementioned personnel and timing difficulties. I was uneasy about being represented by such an atypical, personal utterance, with none of the traits that I consider my trademark, but showing instead a directness of expression which in the context of the whole work was a risk, but on its own had the potential to be perceived as naïve. I therefore asked to introduce the piece so as to put it in context. Whether the introduction helped I am unsure; it certainly did not help my unease. But this was a festival and there was plenty of interesting music to hear and interesting people to meet, so I thought it pointless to dwell on this discomfort.
Next came Carlos Castro’s Concierto del Sol for guitar and orchestra, performed with authority by the superb guitarist Rubén Riera. Ricardo Teruel’s Concertino No. 2 for concertina, percussion, electric bass and orchestra explored its unusual combination of soloists with exuberance. German Cáceres’s Violin Concerto came across as the evening’s most serious music, showing the telltale signs of pre-compositional pitch organisation and a rhetoric that situates it in the context of such American symphonists as William Schumann.