MENGAMBREA (1996 revised 2002)
La Mengambrea, for saxophone quartet, is a re-elaboration of a former work for string quartet, which in turn was based upon songs from the speed-metal band I had as a teenager.
After all of these changes, the work has become a bizarre mixture of styles that can be called in Mexican slang as a mengambrea.
This music features elements of its own transformations, as well as a certain resemblance to the equally bizarre and dimly lit tacos stand, hence, it has become a sort of tribute to this native gastronomy that is very common in the crowded streets, metro stations, and ghettos of Mexico City.
These metal songs were indeed heavy and energetic ones, with plenty of substance and vitality, although they lacked contrast and presentation. This material of strong, raw, and noisy flavour, when sautéed with fine instrumental techniques and poured into a counterpoint stock, yields a three-movement string quartet with a fixed structure and refined aroma.
Nevertheless, as it was, it was not convincing enough, its essence had been diluted a bit; it needed more volume, aggressiveness and colour, so by substituting the strings with saxophones and adding a pinch of dissonance to the harmony, at last it was ready to be served.
Compositional techniques, as well as cooking recipes, are nothing more than mere promises of delight that do not ensure the attainment of good music nor tasty dishes. It is by means of creative interpretation of rules and the capacity to adapt them to circumstances that composers can assume control of and fully commit to the final flavour of their work, altering the recipe as much as deemed necessary, while remaining at all times in command of their beloved taste.
Mengambrea is a way of referring to the fishy-looking-but-great-tasting tacos that can be found late at night under the solitary dim glow of sleepless taco stands on Mexico City sidewalks. Sesos, tripa & moronga, are all well-known varieties