Tennessean: Hilos ‘a joyous affair’

Alison Gooding & D.J. Sparr


The Tennessean’s Evans Donnell gives the first review of the Hilos world premiere last night during ALIAS’ fall concert. The following is an excerpt; for the full story at tennessean.com, click HERE.

ALIAS Chamber Ensemble can do more than make good music: It can, for a time, alter the season and time of day.

A cool fall evening became a warm spring afternoon on Friday with the world premiere of Gabriela Lena Frank’s vibrant “Hilos” quartet. ALIAS’ seasonal concert before more than 200 people in Blair School of Music’s Turner Hall also featured the charming renewal of three carefully cultivated pieces.

Frank, a Guggenheim Fellow and Latin Grammy winner, joined ALIAS at the piano for the first public performance of “Hilos,” which ALIAS and Frank recorded recently for an upcoming Naxos CD.

Hilos is the Spanish word for threads. The piece consists of eight short movements (the longest runs about five minutes) and finishes in less than 30 minutes. In that short span, Frank on piano and ALIAS musicians on violin, cello and clarinet vividly weaved a rich South American-flavored musical textile by using various musical techniques to create the illusion of multiple instruments and voices.

The work began with Canto del Altiplano (Song of the Highlands): Frank’s piano opened with tremolos, and the rapid reiteration created the feeling one might have viewing the morning mist clinging to a chain of mountains. The illusion of highland wind instruments that followed offered some fun-loving hints that the heart of “Hilos” is a light and happy one.