Berta Rojas—Barrios: La Catedral
Oct 26, 2019
92Y had the pleasure of hosting Paraguayan guitarist Berta Rojas, widely considered the world’s leading interpreter of the music of her countryman, Agustín Barrios, on October 26, 2019 as part of the Art of the Guitar series. The Paraguayan virtuoso classical guitarist and prolific composer Agustín Pío Barrios Mangoré (1885-1944) is credited as the first classical guitarist to make a gramophone recording.
Two of the three movements of La Catedral, often considered Barrios’ masterpiece, were composed in 1921, when Barrios lived in Uruguay near the Cathedral of San José in Montevideo. Barrios was allegedly inspired to compose the tranquil and serene second movement, the Andante Religioso, when he heard the music of Bach performed on an organ in the cathedral. The finale, marked Allegro Solemne, illustrates the contrasting atmosphere outside the cathedral, punctuated by the busy and chaotic movement of cars and people in the city. While in Cuba in 1938, Barrios revisited the work in order to add the first movement, Preludio Saudade. The Portuguese word “saudade” roughly translates into English as a melancholic longing.