La Isla Del Cordero the Island of the Lamb
- (Luis Torres a.)
- Format: CD
LA ISLA DEL CORDERO - PROGRAM NOTES With unfailing enthusiasm and dogged persistence Luis Torres has compiled a unique musical essay that chronicles his spiritual, musical, and ethnic heritage. He enlisted friends, from both Puerto Rico and within The Salvation Army [SA] musical fraternity, to help realize that goal. These commissioned pieces reflect his own Christian pilgrimage and musical development, while at the same time, sharing his hopes for religious revival in his beloved homeland. Stephen Bulla's La Terruca ('The Tiny Land') sets the stage for this journey, a dynamic arrangement of Braulio Dueño Colón's music to words by Virgilio Dávila. Roughly translated, the poem reads: The moving ocean is the great mirror where the Borincan homeland shines like an ornament without equal; it is a reflection of the paradise lost on earth. It's hills are made of easy slopes and in it's valleys of lush greens, the beautiful crystalline fountains go singing like flutes blessing the Creator. The Puerto Rican people are profiled in the title suite, La Isla del Cordero, wherein Andrew Barrington portrays a wrestling with recent calls to repentance and holiness. Movement 1, Dance Before the Lord, contains amongst the frenetic, dissonant dance fragments of the hymn tune Nicaea - 'Holy, Holy, Holy'. Yet it is a plea rather than an assertion. Movement 2, Worship the Lord, continues the struggle via the use of the evangelistic song Come to Him (sung to the tune In the Sweet By and By). Only in Movement 3, Borinquen, is triumph achieved; 'Holy, Holy, Holy' now sounds complete, and in counterpoint with the Puerto Rican national anthem; it is a projection of hope for the future. Luis provided a wealth of Hispanic choruses to his arrangers. In Sé Fiel ('Be Faithful') two choruses -- Like a Thief in the Nigth, and Be Faithful Unto Death -- were chosen according to Torres to 'successfully reflect the willingness of Christians in the Hispanic community to remain faithful until death while awaiting for Christ's second coming.' Another chorus, Solo Dios ('Only God'), featured prominently in evangelical outreach on the island during the 1970s and 80s, a time of Torres' coming of age. It appears here as the centerpiece of an impressionistic march: Only God makes man happy, Life is vain, everything ends; Only God makes man happy. Luis's friend Ronald Cox composed La Marcha de la Vida ('March For Life') in tribute to the late Major Marta Marzán. Both Cox and Torres had been touched by her passionate Christian work, especially within the Hispanic community. Three songs were selected to embody her energetic ministry: 1) Be Faithful Unto Death; 2) Pour Oil Into My Lamp; 3) When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder. Cox then paid homage to his own hard-working officer parents in On Jordan's Banks. Luis and Ronald are representative of the vibrant musical fellowship within The Salvation Army, one that continues to flourish because of the faithfulness of past generations. While the majority of the arrangers commissioned by Torres are connected with the SA, Raymond Torres Santos, currently based in New York, here makes his first appearance as an arranger for SA brass. He has selected four Christmas songs by Rafael Hernandez, a Puerto Rican song writer regarded as one of the greatest composers of popular music of Latin America in the 20th century. The four songs are Noche de Navidad ('Christmas Eve'); Hosana ('Hosanna'); La Trulla ('Caroling'); and Aleluya ('Hallelujah'). What a joyful evocation of the festive season on this brilliant isle! I first met Luis as a member of my Advanced Instrumental Leadership Class held during the SA's Southern Territorial Music Institute. Luis was among a select group of developing conductors who sharpened their skills on our lab brass ensemble by tackling American Instrumental Ensemble Series pieces like Steve Bulla's I've Got the Joy or Praise to the Lord the Almighty. It was after class that Luis and I frequently talked about music of all kinds, music that could speak to the heart and the mind. So the inclusion here of some sparkling Baroque theater music by Henry Purcell or a sacred Latin motet from the 16th-century Catholic Counter-Reformation is no surprise. Palestrina's classic setting of Psalm 42:1 (Sicut cervus) also seems apt for Luis's plan for this album: 'As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.' This imaginative program comes to a fitting close in Bulla's march NOVARC, a tribute to Christian work carried on at the SA's Adult Rehabilitation Centers. Bulla features two ARC 'anthem' tunes: Love Lifted Me and.Amazing Grace. This highlights compassionate efforts to redirect shattered lives and bring the light of the Gospel to those needing redemption. To that same joyful quest Luis Torres has committed his life Ronald W. Holz, Ph.D. Asbury College Copyright 2002.