Maria De Alvear ‘Vagina’

Vagina, ceremony for voice and ensemble (46:29)

Maria de Alvear: voice
Ensemble Modern, Diego Masson cond.

Recorded 1996, CD released 2000 on World Edition, Germany.

Maria de Alvear‘s music is a highly original mix of Alhambra, Darmstadt and Fluxus influences. Her art is rooted in 12-tone music composing style ; minimalism ; Spanish tradition and Flamenco ; Fluxus-like performance and installations in art galeries ; spiritual, even ritualistic concerns. Apart from studying ‘Neues Musiktheater’ with Maurizio Kagel in Köln, she also studied piano with spanish composer Eduardo Pollonio, a master of spanish electroacoustic music. On several occasions during the 1990s, she visited Cherokee and Tuscarora Indians people in the US and Nenets natives in Siberia. She wrote Vagina immediately after befriending shamans of respective native tribes. Vagina is a parable about a female wolf, from childhood to adult age, her various encounters with all the creation’s animals and the strange things happening to and through her body. De Alvear: ‘Sexuality is the key to respecting nature and life’ (from 1999 german radio broadcast). This is not your ‘Vagina Monologues‘ set to contemporary music, then, nor has it to do with feminist Cora Emens’ Vagina song. The pan-sexuality championned on this work refers more to Joseph Beuys’ portative auto-mythology, and a sexuality involving all living creatures – as opposed to Wikipedia’s self-limiting, PC definition. On this recording, De Alvear delivers a very personal reading performance, as if merging 2 expressionist vocal styles: german avantgarde sprechstimme and spanish cante jondo, a particularly mournful flamenco singing style. Reading is part german, part spanish, and much preferable to the faulty english translation printed in the booklet. The orchestral accompaniement is mostly quiet and un-provocative, including some solo piano passages and a few relentlessly repeated notes.


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Related resources:

  • ‘Gran Sol’, from, on Internet Archive [link to mp3].
  • Extract from unidentified work on Alicantissimo radio [link to mp3]

9 Responses to “Maria De Alvear ‘Vagina’”

  1. 1 Margot July 16, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    Tried to reply to your request but Gmail is not able to sent you my mailing list. Is the email you provided me correct?


    Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently:

    Technical details of permanent failure:
    PERM_FAILURE: Google tried to deliver your message, but it was rejected by the recipient domain. We recommend contacting the other email provider for further information about the cause of this error.

  2. 2 continuo July 17, 2008 at 10:30 am

    Maybe it’s ‘dot fr’, after all.
    teepeesfrp [at] yahoo [dot] fr

  3. 3 bravojuju July 17, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    How can anyone resist “a highly original mix of Alhambra, Darmstadt and Fluxus influences”. Should be very interesting.
    The usual gratitude.

  4. 4 continuo July 17, 2008 at 9:46 pm

    Hi Jardim. Note that, for most people, this combination could pass for the most boring thing since Magma’s blend of Stravinsky and Khatchatourian. Glad to meet you on the sunny side of the crossover!
    Tip: to enjoy this CD you need to know some of De Alvear’s other works as well, including ‘Fuerzas’.

  5. 5 AlexM August 12, 2008 at 10:43 pm

    I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you down the road!

  6. 6 Crazy Monkey December 30, 2008 at 7:39 pm

    Nothing more to say that a big THANKS!!

  7. 7 continuo December 30, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    Well, sometimes, a big Thanks!! is enough.

  8. 8 Maria de Alvear September 4, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    To you all
    Thanks Thanks Thanks!!!
    Your support is very important to me.
    I try my best to help to be aware of live.
    With caring
    Maria de Alvear

  9. 9 continuo September 5, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    Thanks for dropping by, Maria. I would love to see one of your musik theater performances one day. Hope you’ll come to Paris one day.

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