2011 (appx 15’)
flute, violin, viola, cello and piano
The great Colombian writer, Gabriel García Márquez, wrote his surreal novella The Incredible and Sad Tale of Innocent Eréndira and her Souless Grandmother in 1978. Eréndira Dances captures the essence of this story. It takes music from an never completed opera – the rights proved impossible to acquire.
In the first of the three dances, the two main characters of the drama, Eréndira and her Grandmother, are introduced. Eréndira, a wistful yet always busy young girl, is portrayed by the flute. The domineering and incredibly demanding Grandmother, with all her erratic and persistent nature, is depicted by the cello. Surrounding these two protagonists is their home, an old house full of clocks and antique relics from the Grandmother’s past life. The strange surreal environment, set in the heat of the Hispanic landscape is caught from the beginning. Eréndira baths her bloated Grandmother as the wind of misfortune stirs.
The second dance reveals snapshots of Eréndira’s now troubled life. Time has moved on a pace and the havoc caused by the wind of misfortune has seen the Grandmother’s home burned to the ground, and Eréndira has been forced into prostitution to pay off her debts. She will be a prostitute for years to come, and the Grandmother has made Eréndira the most famous and busy prostitute in all of South America. By chance, a handsome and innocent young man, Ulises, has met Eréndira and fallen in love with her. They make love in Eréndira’s tent. Their relationship has far to go. In the meantime, the Mission has made an attempt to rescue Eréndira from the wicked Grandmother. She finds herself at peace in the mission and hears the soft music of Bach played on a clavichord. She is free from her terrible world at last.
Dance 3 reveals two more snapshots of the last part of Eréndira’s story, now that she is back in the clutches of her Grandmother having been snatched back from the Mission. In the first snapshot, Eréndira is alone at night when Ulises creeps into her tent and they make love as the Grandmother sleeps, burbling away in her usual manner. The Grandmother’s frenetic burblings, now depicted by the violin and finally the viola, are coming to an end as she has been poisoned and stabbed repeatedly by Ulises. When she is finally dead, Eréndira runs away leaving Ulises by the side of the Grandmother’s whale-like body.
© Paul Max Edlin 2011
Perusal score available on request