The vast prairies of Southern Argentina are known as the “Pampas”. During the 17th-19th centuries, Spanish immigrants came to live there and mixed with the indigenous people. These pioneers were known as “gauc hos”. These people lived a life on horseback, following the cattle herds across the plains, and creating a unique culture that blended the customs of the two races into a new way of life. Eventually, as the modern world encroached on
them, they were absorbed into the larger population but many of their traditions and values remain. The “word of the Gaucho” has similar meaning to the Japanese term “word of the Samurai” and modern day Argentinians see the gaucho as a kind, generous and self-sacrificing people. Alma Libre is inspired by this belief and is the composer’s attempt to depict the “word of the Gaucho” in music.
This piece was composed in 1993 and was nominated for the 4th Asahi Composition Prize but was lost to the public until recently, when the East-Hiroshima Wind Ensemble chose to resurrect it after it not be performed f or more than 20 years. It represents Abe’s composition style e arly in his career and its return is a welcome addition to the wind band repertoire.
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