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Mauricio Sotelo: Muerte sin fin

  • for dancer, cantaor, instrumental ensemble and electronics
  • 1 0 2 0 - 0 0 0 0 - timp, perc(2), hp, acc, pno, guit, vln, vla, vc, cb
  • Duration: 34’
  • Instrumentation details:
    flute (+alto fl)
    clarinet in Bb
    bass clarinet in Bb
    timpani (+timp
    1st percussion
    2nd percussion
  • Composer: Mauricio Sotelo
  • Text author: José Gorostiza
  • Dedication: a la memoria del gran Enrique Morente
  • Commission: Auftragswerk der Biënale Flamenco 2011, Niew Ensemble und spanisches INAEM-Ministerio de Cultura

Work introduction

The full score of Muerte sin fin:


Muerte sin fin is a project whose long evolution is linked to the enthusiasm for and interest in flamenco and my music of one particular person. A person who both gives shape to and directs the Flamenco Biennale in the Netherlands: Ernestina van de Noort. She is the one, who, with her sharp intuition, is able to see those unmistakable connections which unite today’s artistic creation with some of the most important artists of flamenco, both an oral tradition with ancient roots and a culture that is profoundly alive and is created or revealed in the present, in what is the absolute quintessence of contemporary.

The title of the work pays homage to the poem of the same name by the Mexican writer José Gorostiza (1901–1973). The texts sung here by flamenco singers are fragments selected from the purest folk tradition. Muerte sin fin is dedicated to the great flamenco singer Enrique Morente who died in 2011.

The part of the flamenco dancer, or bailaora, is integrated into the fabric of the score with musical notation, and notation of expression and movement, or stillness – each of them well defined: [1- Bailaora: Seated, head turned slightly toward the center of the stage, looking at the floor, hands forming a triangle above the thighs ...; 9- Bailaora: like a column of fire and light …] The work of the bailaora covers specific techniques – of the feet, or zapateados, of the arms, of the castanets, or palillos – and of course other such palos, or flamenco styles, such as the soleá, soleá por bulería, bulería or la trilla. Duplications or the tautology in the way the dance unfolds over top of the textures of sound that are, shall we say, more “abstract” have been avoided and disappear as soon as the fabric of sound gives off a “light” that is more flamenco-like.

The work projects, in a large-scale architecture, the dramatic tension that is audible in the “small” forms of flamenco. It is both my wish and desire that the audience will enjoy this experience at least with the same intensity and emotion I felt during the powerful, wonderful and rite-of-passage process of construction. I was closing the pages of the composition of this work precisely during those terrible days in December when the death of the cantaor Enrique Morente occurred. For this reason the score bears the epigraph: “a la memoria del gran Enrique Morente” (“to the memory of the great Enrique Morente”).

Mauricio Sotelo

Sample pages

World première

Muziekgebouw, Amsterdam (NL)
Nieuw Ensemble Amsterdam
Ed Spanjaard
Main soloists:
Fuensanta “La Moneta” (Tanz), Arcángel (Cantaor)

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