Index to Feature Articles:

     "Musical composition – an ineffable act between fantasy and arithmetical and geometrical rigor"
by Liana Alexandra-- NEW!

     "The Age They Wanted to Erase" by Aurelio de la Vega--

     "MUZICA. Living Music" by Liana ALEXANDRA--

     "What Is Art Music?" by Orlando Jacinto Garcia--

     "Marco Stroppa : A Visionary of Sound Architecture"
by Marina Zlender

     "Nationalismo y universalismo" by Aurelio de la Vega

     "Boola Boola Revisited" by Orlando Jacinto Garcia

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    How many times must the world be alerted so that it may see the historical truth beyond the curtain of "official" smoke fueled daily by the present Cuban Government?


 
The Age They Wanted to Erase
by Aurelio de la Vega
This article is reproduced by permission; Herencia Review, Vol. 9, No. 1, Spring 2003. Cuban National Heritage; Coral Gables, Florida.
Biographical material on the author is available online.

     For some time, a part of myself, divided, has been asking insistently about musical events that took place in Cuba in the first half of the last century, an age in which the Cuban Republic was born (1902) and died (1959). This other I reiterates the idea that memory should not play tricks on us, and that the experiences of those times must be kept alive and in mind. As I agree with this other I, I am conversing today with him, objectified when I place him in the role of interviewer--whom I soon consider alien, with an inquisitive interest--and elevate him to the category of kindly stranger who enters into my study for a visit and urges me to relive things that were very real and interesting. We shall call the "other" Interlocutor, acknowledging that he knows a good deal about the history of which I was a protagonist, and that he asks so many questions because he wants to clarify musical aspects of the Cuban Republic.

 
      This conversation begins one afternoon in the winter of 2002 in Northridge, and finishes a day later, at dusk, with both of us--the Interlocutor and I--seated on the bluffs of Pacific Palisades, which look out on the Pacific Ocean with the same persistence they have exhibited at least since 1947, when for the first time I learned about that relationship between the North American Western land and the Ocean. On United States soil, they were witness to many visits by that first group of European refugees who, fleeing from the Second World War, had settled in Santa Monica, California, beginning in 1938, and who for years included Arnold Schoenberg and Thomas Mann, Ernest Bloch and Bertolt Brecht, Richard Neutra and Ernst Toch, Hanns Eisler and Lion Feyuchtwanger, Bruno Walter and Jascha Heifetz, Franz Werfel and Alma Maria Mahler. Some of them stayed in these localities until they died (as was the case with Heinrich Mann, Thomas' older brother), and during afternoons, mornings and Sundays they used to sit on the benches of those same cliffs which I, as a new refugee, began to know purely by visit fifty-five years ago and that I now revisit with permanency. Far away is Cuba, a land to which I have not returned for more than four decades, in spite of my love for her, because some jealous, hateful, vindictive (if not totally demented) persons, disguised as saviors and full of longings for power, decided to change her, accuse her and lead her to a total ethical-physical destruction which, without war or bombings, pushed her to a low level in the Third World.
 
      Interlocutor: Since Cuba was proclaimed a Marxist-Leninist territory, the Cuban governmental machinery, which without free elections has kept itself in power for forty-three years, insists on declaring that in Republican Cuba, prior to the total takeover by Castroism, culture was almost nonexistent, the people, humiliated and helpless, did not have access to higher education, the middle class was greatly reduced, medicine was extremely poor and primitive, and the Island's political subjugation to United States imperialism plunged the nation into a total inertia. Many other falsities are multiplied, repeated today ad infinitum by "the liberal parrots" of the planet and by the "useful idiots," who proliferate so much and who contribute to the creation of a gross dictionary of lies and distortions. Both--lies and distortions--can be easily dismantled and destroyed by any objective and uncompromised mind, just by reading all kinds of statistics published by world socio-economic and historiographic institutions. Since you are a composer, a maker of classical music specifically, who held important musical and educational positions in Cuba-BC, and, in the decades of the 40s and 50s, you were part of the development of Cuban art music (which during that epoch was beginning to boom, marking with its presence a time of great artisitc-cultural effervescence), what degree of evolution and maturity had been attained by that music you represent during the period of the Cuban Republic?

      Aurelio de la Vega: We have already said many times that the great flowering of Cuban popular music, which explodes for the first time on the international scene in the decade of the 20s, rapidly eclipses the perception of a classical Cuban music, which in the Nineteenth Century had produced a Manuel Saumell, an Ignacio Cervantes, a Gaspar Villate, or a José Manuel ("Lico") Jiménez. Nineteenth century Cuban classical piano music, which was the main mode of expression of the time, was expanded by Guillermo Tomás into the symphonic field in the first decades of the 20th Century. Very soon, Eduardo Sánchez de Fuentes attempts to continue the lyrical-dramatic tradition of Villate and José Mauri, and during the first decades of the Republic writes several operas. It is the epoch in which Ernesto Lecuona composes his best-known piano pieces and operettas (zarzuelas), before succumbing, in the 40s and 50s, to the commercial attraction (from Broadway and Hollywood) that cheapened his music. We would have to wait for the appearance of the highly important figure of Amadeo Roldán to come face to face with the first relevant Cuban composer of classical music which is versed with contemporaneity. He is immediately followed by Alejandro García Caturla and José Ardévol--the Catalan who arrives in Cuba and founds the Musical Renovation Group, the first organized attempt to establish a real school of Cuban composers of classical music, filling two decades of production with the creations of Harold Gramatges, Edgardo Martín, Serafín Pro, Gisela Hernández, Argelieers León, Virginia Fleites, Hilario González and Julián Orbón soon abandons the Renovation Group and begins his prolific career as an important composer nurtured by Cuba and Spain, uniting son and Gregorian Chant, and the tonadilla with African rhythms. Outside of this orbit (neoclassical at first and later nationalistic, tonal in style, whose tutelary gods were Stravinsky, Falla, Bartók and Garcia Caturla), I appear with my desire to universalize Cuban classical music. For that reason I adopt first a chromatic pan-tonalism that soon leads to the first atonalism born on Cuban soil, moving on immediately to the first dodecaphonic works created by a son of Cuba. My gods are not French, nor Spanish, nor Italian, but rather German. With this way of expression come complex forms, great structures and little interest in the purely vernacular. This double projection of what makes up the classical Cuban music of the last two decades of the Republic--neo-tonal nationalism versus atonal universalism--creates a fascinating, extremely active and contrasting musical atmosphere that creatively produces multiple and varied works. It is also the epoch in which Alfredo Diez Nieto, Paul Csonka (a Viennese who settles in Cuba at the beginning of the initial years of the Second World War), Carlo Borbolla Natalio Galán and Félix Guerrero produce their compositions independently from the development of the Renovation Group.

 
      Principally, the decade of the 50s is concretely a substantial, intense, fruitful musical time, and more transcendental than any other preceding or subsequent Cuban classical music moment. They are years in which Cuban art music comes in contact with the great public through innumerable concerts (the presentations of the Havana Philharmonic Orchestra and the evenings of the Concert Society and the Chamber Music Society of Cuba) and through radio transmissions as well. Cuban classical music of importance and complexity (of solid symphonic pieces and chamber works, of ballets and operas) appears, and although works for paino are also composed, it goes further than dances, descriptive character pieces and pleasant salon music: sonatas, suites, preludes and variations are also written. If we observe again the decade of the 50s--the first stages of the Republic--we can note several important works: Julián Orbón's Three Symphonic Versions and his Concerto Grosso; Harold Gramatges' Three Preludes in the style of a Toccata and his Sinfonietta for string orchestra; Edgardo Martín's Fugues for strings and his Soneras; José Ardévol's String Quartet No. 3; and my own Introduction and Episodé, for a huge orchestra, and my dodecaphonic String Quartet in Five Movements (In Memoriam Alban Berg).

      Concerts with my works and those of my colleagues follow quickly upon each other, and there are numerous premiéres that proclaim all kinds of styles and creative personalities. Havana swarms with accelerated musical activity. Cuban classical music, which is beginning to be recognized beyond the national borders, attains it legal age.

 
      Interlocutor: The Cuban authorities claim that the number of symphony orchestras, after the triumph of the Castro Revolution, rose rapidly throughout the Island, and that professional musical education attained goals far superior to the instruction that was given during the Republican era. What can you tell me about this?

      Aurelio de la Vega: As with all propaganda that continuously emanates, as a way of a justifying barrage, from all totalitarian states, these are only half-truths, very tinged with proselytism. It is true that the number of symphonic orchestras rose considerably. What is not said is that their technical-interpretative level was, and is, extremely inferior to that reached in the 40s and 50s by the old Havana Philharmonic Orchestra, which came to be one of the three best in Latin America and attained a musical profile similar to that of the second-tier North American orchestral groups, comparable to (and even surpassing) orchestras such as those of New Orleans, San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, Indianapolis, Phoenix, Dallas and Houston (these last two before they became first-rate groups), Tulsa, Cincinnati, Atlanta or Miami, to name a few. The quality of the chamber groups in present-day Cuba is also very unequal, and if the Havana Quartet is, with no room for doubt, an excellent group, other chamber groups are not of tantamount quality. What must always be remembered is that the Western free-market musical world (see the case of Spain) has advanced in all areas, from the economic to the artistic, with the passing of the years. It cannot be speculated with total assuredness what a continued Cuban Republic might have achieved in the field of classical music, for example, half a century later. What certainly is very important is to review what already existed on the Island more than six decades ago.

 
      If it is true that the musical activities in Havana were a thousand times superior to those which took place on the rest of the Island, that is no reason to deny that the capital came to be, in the last two decades of the Republic, one of the most dazzling cities of the Americas regarding music, whether popular or classical. As this last is what concerns us in this curious dialogue, let us face the real historical data.

      With respect to the classical musical groups which operated in the Cuban Republic, let us note that we are always talking about the decades of the 40s and 50s, with incursions into the last years of the 30s, because it is in this epoch that the Island advances rapidly from a musical point of view. From 1902 to 1918, this last being the year in which the magnificent and presigious Pro-Arte Musical Society is founded in Havana, we can note the enormous efforts of the capital's Municipal Band, directed by Guillermo Tomás, the true pioneer of Cuban symphonic music. Tomás and his band played for the first time in Cuba music of Wagner, Max Reger and Richard Strauss, in laborious transcriptions carried out by Tomás as a labor of love. Tomás also composed German-style symphonic poems that were the first real Cuban symphonic works after Ignacio Cervantes' only Symphony. It must not be forgotten that already in the decades of the 10s and 20s opera was being performed in Havana at a good artistic level, and no less than Enrico Caruso was persuaded to sing in the capital, after a monetary offer that was gigantic for his time, coming totally from the despised Havana bourgeoisie.

      Let us talk first about Pro-Arte Musical. This incredible society was founded by María Teresa Giberga and directed by her and by dedicated Cuban women who helped her and then carried on her initial work--women who also later established the Concert Society, the Chamber Music Society of Cuba, the Havana Chorale, the Lyceum, and Santiago de Cuba's parallel Pro-Arte Musical. It became in the decades of the 30s, 40s, and 40s and exemplary entity that, in spite of all kinds of socio-economic-political ups and downs, brought to Havana the most noteworthy of the international musical world--from Rubinstein to Horowitz, from Heifetz to Isaac Stern, from Gigli to Mario del Monaco, from Rosa Ponselle to Helen Traubel, from Milstein to Piatigorsky, passing through opera seasons, the presentation of the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra conducted by Eugene Ormandy and the Ballets Russes of Monte Carlo with Leonid Massine and Michel Fokine dancing and designing choreography. Pro-Arte had members who attended an average of three concerts per month (day and night sessions) by payment of a ridiculously low subscription fee, and the most amazing thing of all is that it constructed its own elegant building on the corner of Calzada and D, in El Vedado. This highly noteworthy venue had the best concert hall in Cuba, the famous Auditorium, which would be remembered so well by singers, instrumentalists and orchestra directors, all famous, as one of the most welcoming and significant musical temples of the Americas. Besides the Auditorium, the Pro-Arte Musical building contained a beautiful library that held one of the most complete collections of opera scores on the entire American continent and a conference room and assembly hall in which the Musical Renovation Group gave concerts. I presented in 1946 a lecture on Schoenberg and the Second Viennese School. To crown the list of its contributions, Pro-Arte Musical created a School of Ballet that soon became famous, where Alicia Alonso (née Martinez)--later spokesperson of the Castro régime--Fernando Alonso and Alberto Alonso were trained. The latter left Cuba shortly after the triumph of the Marxist Revolution and lived and performed in Puerto Rico until his premature death. This Pro-Arte School of Ballet, later Alicia Alonso Ballet and subsequently National Ballet of Cuba, occupied a building adjacent to the Auditorium, which was a spacious mansion in Calzada acquired by Pro-Arte at the end of the 40s. From that School, directed by excellent Russian professors, came many of the best ballet dancers that Cuba has produced. Pro-Arte Musical presented numerous Cuban singers and instrumentalists, from Angel Reyes (violinist) to Ivette Hernández (pianist), from María Teresa Sardiñas (soprano) to Jorge Bolet (one of the greatest pianists of the Twentieth Century). Bolet as well as Hernández were, in their early years, given scholarships by Pro-Arte to study in the United States. Pro-Arte presented, in addition, the premiéres of José Ardévol's ballet Forma (based on a libretto by Lezama Lima) and of Harold Gramatges' ballet Icarus, as well as Csonka's opera S.O.S. The Auditorium and the whole interior of the Pro-Arte Musical building were consumed by a mysterious fire in the early times of the Castro régime. The beautiful library disappeared forever along with the theater. The Cuban Marxist government, which had re-baptized the Auditorium with the name of Amadeo Roldán Theater, took many years to reconstruct it, and sold the idea that it was built by the Revolution to the "socialists of the East" and to the North Americans, usually young people with starry eyes who succeeded in flouting the existing laws by visiting the Island. The stage was smaller, and the exterior is now an example of the best Soviet architecture: square, devoid of beauty, sterile and supremely unimaginative.

 
      Aside from Pro-Arte Musical, the Concert Society, founded in Havana by Rosa Rivacoba de Marcos, which carried out its activities in the Lyceum of El Vedado, offered numerous concerts, presenting mainly national instrumentalists and singers, and in its heyday premiered various works by Cuban composers of classical music (including my Trio for Violin, Cello and Piano of 1949). The concert Society came to have its own String Quartet, which attained an excellent professional level. Along with the Concert Society, the Chamber Music Society of Cuba, whose main promoter, violinist Carlos Agostini, died several years ago in Canada, was also developing its activities.

      And what shuld we say about the Lyceum of Havana, an institution created and directed by enthusiastic and highly worthy Cuban women who, under the aegis of Elena Mederos, had conceived this marvelous association? In the last decades of the Republic, the Lyceum had an attractive building of its own, situated on the corner of Calzada and Ocho, in El Vedado and possessed a library greatly used by the public, an intimate and pleasant concert hall and an exposition hall, where a splendid cluster of Cuban painters (who in the decades of the 40s and 50s gave Cuba, for the first time, an international pictorial profile) hung their stupendous works. There were displayed paintings and drawings by, among others, Mario Carreño, René Potocarrero, Carlos Enríquez, Eduardo Abela, Wifredo Lam, Amelia Peláez, Cundo Bermúdez, Mariano Rodríguez, Victor Manuel, Luis Martínez Pedro, Hugo Consuegra and Daniel Serra Badué

      The Our Time Cultural Society was also active, directed by the composer Harold Gramatges, who, aside from his secret Communist agenda, presented excellent concerts in the decade of the 50s. Finally we must point out the existence of the magnificent National Polyphonic Choir, under the tutelage of Serafín Pro, one of the composers who founded with Ardévol the already mentioned Musical Renovation Group.

 
      The Lyceum, Pro-Arte Musical and the Concert Society, among others, were institutions--we repeat once again--steered by women of the Havana community, from bourgeois to intellectuals, from professionals to educators, from rich to representatives of the middle class, from senior citizens to enthusiastic young people. All very independent, all dismantlers of another "revolutionary" myth which assures the world that the Cuban woman was liberated only upon the triumph of Castroism. Some day, these Republican women who did so much for Cuba's culture will also be written about deliberately.

      Interlocutor: Yes, this is all very pretty and praiseworthy, but what can you tell me, I insist, in respect to the orchestras at the service of classical music, and what are your explanations regarding musical instruction?

 
      Aurelio de la Vega: Let us first take the case of the teaching of lines and notes. In Republican Cuba there were hundreds of conservatories scattered all across the Island. With the noteworthy exception of the Municipal Conservatory of Music of Havana, founded by Roldán, where certainly an intense, organic and exact musical instruction was given (and where all the instruments were taught and where concerts were performed by its instrumental and vocal groups), it is true that many conservatories of the Republican era, which graduated students like very active sausage stuffing factories, left much to be desired. Within this large series of conservatories, which taught piano only poorly, and where theory and singing of scales could barely be detected, there were, nevertheless, some more serious institutions: the Orbón, Falcón, Ada Iglesias, Peyrellade and Hubert de Blanck Conservatories, with different levels of effectiveness, could be named. They included in their courses of study History of Music, Harmony, a little Counterpoint and Orchestration, and, in the case of the Ada Iglesias, even Esthetics of Music. The fact that subsequently the schools of music created by the Marxist Revolution may have taken musical education to more technical and developed planes, does not exclude the better part of the activity of the Republican conservatories, which paved the way for many Cubans to sudy outside Cuba with a more or less solid notion of the interplay and mysteries of musical art. It must not be forgotten that in the Municipal Conservatory of Music of Havana--an institution established while the Republic was in full force--classes were given by almost all the composers of the Renovation Group, who later, remaining in Cuba after the Castro Revolution, directed musical education in Cuba beginning in 1959. It should be mentioned also that in the 50s, the Universities of Havana and Las Villas held Summer Schools in which Musical Appreciation courses were included.

     Meriting a separate chapter is the establishment of the Music Section of the University of Oriente, in Santiago de Cuba, which was founded by me in 1953 by a commission from the University itself, and which functioned within the Philosophy Faculty. It was the first school of music at the university level opened in Cuba and the second in all of Latin America--The University of Tucumán, Argentina, having established the first in 1947. This school of music of the University of Oriente created a Bachelor's Degree (4 years) and a Master's Degree (2 additional years). Plans for a Doctorate were outlined. Specialized first-rate professors were hired and, before I definitively left my native land, we graduated the first contingency of students who completed their Bachelor's Degree in Music. After 1959, in the anti-historic ardor of Castroism, my existence was erased from Cuba's musical world and my name dissappeared as founder of this university school of music, to be replaced by that of two of the professors whom I had brought to the University. My biographical ostracism joined that of others who had also contributed to the development of Cuban classical music in the Republican era--from Julián Orbón to Alberto Bolet; from the women of Pro-Arte Musical, the Concert Society and the Lyceum, to the patrons of the Havana Philharmonic Orchestra.

      Let us speak now of orchestras. In Havana, during the decade of the 30s, there were two active orchestras: one being the Symphony, founded and directed by Gonzalo Roig, which played much of his music and that of Lecuona, and which on some occasions accompanied the staging of operas from the Italian repertoire, and the other the Philharmonic, founded and directed by Amadeo Roldán and by the Spanish orchestra director Pedro Sanjuán, which soon became a highly professional ensemble and through which Havana heard, for the first time, a good deal of international contemporary music, from Stravinsky to Bartók, from Hindemith to Roldán himself, from Prokofieff to García Caturla. In the decade of the 40s, the Philharmonic Orchestra providentially fell into the hands of the famous German orchestra director Erich Kleiber, driven away from the European musical theater because of the horrific Second World War. Kleiber radically transformed the Orchestra, and in six years converted it into an outstanding symphonic assembly, capable of interpreting very well even the difficult atonal labyrinth of Alban Berg's Wozzeck. Throughout this epoch, the Orchestra was financed almost entirely by the Cuban patron Agustín Batista, a prominent wealthy businessman who allowed Cuba to have its first and highly active great symphonic ensemble. The Philharmonic later was directed by the flower and cream of the most prominent orchestra directors of the world: Bruno Walter, Arthur Rodzinski, Manuel Rosenthal, Herbert von Karajan, Efrem Kurtz, Erich Leinsdorff, William Steinberg, Serge Koussevitzky, Sir Thomas Beechman, Juan José Castro, Charles Münch, Pierre Monteux, and Sergiu Celibidache, among others. Incidentally, the Philharmonic, in the 50s, played music of Ardévol and the Cubans Edgardo Martín, Pablo Ruiz Castellanos and Gilberto Valdéz. It must be noted that the Orchestra offered popular midnight concerts in the National Theater (previously the Theater of the Galician Center) at an entrance price of 50 cents and of one dollar, including orchestra and box seats.

      In addition to these two symphonic orchestras, there existed in Republican Cuba the Chamber Orchestra of Havana, founded and directed by José Ardévol, the String Orchestra of the National Institute of Culture, managed by Alberto Bolet and the Symphony Orchestra of Santiago de Cuba, under the direction of Antonio Serret. With the Chamber Orchestra of Havana, Ardévol played for the first time in Cuba music of Malipiero, Villa-Lobos, Chávez, Milhaud and many other highly important composers in the field of contemporary classical music, and he premiered works of his own, as well as of Edgardo Martín and Harold Gramatges. The String Orchestra of the National Institute of Cuba (founded by Guillermo de Zéndegui in the middle of the 50s, which took the place of and broadened the functions of the old Department of Culture of the Ministry of Education) had as its headquarters the Palace of Fine Arts, situated directly to the south of the Presidential Palace of Havana, and it presented its concerts in its own hall decorated with murals by José Mijares. There, Cuba heard for the first time my Elegy for string orchestra (1954), which Bolet had premiered in London with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

      Finally, we should note the fact that radio station CMQ had founded a symphony orchestra of its own, under the direction of Enrique González Mantici, a member of the Popular Socialist Party (née Communist Party) and a good director, whose politcal affiliation was never questioned. Mantici, in addition to playing various Cuban symphonic works, premiered in 1951, with this Orchestra, my Overture to a Serious Farce, composed a year earlier.

      Interlocutor: And that was all?!

      Aurelio de la Vega: No. In addition to the musical groups mentioned previously, almost all sponsored by individuals and private commercial entitites (except in the case of the String Orchestra of the National Institite of Culture, governmental subsidies were minimal), there existed, beginning with the decade of the 30s, the National Opera, which presented many operas in Havana and in the decade 9of the 50s organized various noteworthy presentations in the Sports Palace; the free concerts of the Cathedral Plaza, paid for by the State (which culminate in the mid-50s with a magnificent production of Honegger's oratorio Joan of Arc at the Stake, a work premiered in Zürich in this format, in 1942); the summer concerts, also free, in the Stadium of El Cerro, and above all,the radio transmissions of several Cuban stations which, at the end of the 40s and in the 50s, increased their suport for clasical music. CMQ transmitted, in prime-time hours by television (Cuba was the first country in Latin America that, at the height of the Republic, had color television), classical ballets and light operas, such as Lecuona's Lola Cruz, and it made history when it staged, in a scenic world premiére, Amadeo Roldán's ballet La Rebambaramba. Classical music was broadcast starting in the 40s by the CMZ radio chain, founded by Fulgencio Batista during his first constitutional presidential period, and also by the Communist-affiliated Radio Mil Diez. Nevertheless, the most popular radio programs were those of the Sunday daytime concerts of the Philharmonic Orchestra in the Auditorium, sponsored by General Electric on CMBF and by General Motors on RHC.

      Interlocutor: Enough already of narrations. One final observation: is it true that all this musical activity you have mentioned was of an elitist character and that you yourself have been accused of this?

      Aurelio de la Vega: If being elitist is a synonym for good taste, esthetic and cultural refinement, and aspiration for knowledge and the defense of Western culture, to which I (and I believe the great majority of those who took part in the great adventure of classical Cuban music during the Republic) was and still am committed, I am happy to sustain the epithet. But if this term is used negatively and pejoratively to indicate discrimination, lack of generosity, cultural egoism and the closing of doors to the poorer classes, I reject totally, in my name and in the name of so many others, that this had anything to do with the historical reality of the development of classical music in Cuba. I have already explained that on the Island, above all in Havana, there were innumerable and continuous admission free concerts of high quality, the registration fee at the Municpal Conservatory of Music in the capital was almost inexistent, the tickets for the Pro-Arte concerts and the Philharmonic's Sunday concerts were minuscule in cost, and a pair of radio stations transmitted classical music continuously. Now I ask you: how many times must the same thing be repeated? how many times must the world be alerted so that it may see the historical truth beyond the curtain of "official" smoke fueled daily by the present Cuban Government? how much more patience must be exhibited in trying to convert the doubtful? Faced with an evil person, I shrug my shoulders; faced with a doctrinary and furious Marxist, I keep silent; faced with an imbecile, I leave to drink a good wine. The real facts, dear one, remain, based on books, memories, essays, articles, magazines, dictionaries, publications of international economic agencies and, above all, in the truth proclaimed by those of us who were witnesses and participants of a magnificent era, in which Cuba came to occupy, in spite of the prevailing politcal corruption and damage to the civic society, an enviable economic position and to have a truly astonishing intellectual and artistic life. It is moving to remember such times. For those who sincerely seek the truth, tell them, Interlocutor, what we have talked about.

Northridge, January 2002
Year of the Centennial of the Republic of Cuba


[LMJ]


 
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Aurelio de la Vega: "Si ves un monte de espumas"
   
from Canciones transparentes ("Transparent songs")
    On poems of José Martí
Anne Marie Ketchum, soprano
Amanda Walker, Bb clarinet
Sebastian Toettcher, cello
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