Música de Feria, the string instruments
The four string quartets exhibit rhythmic trickery and a Ravelian harmonic sophistication, in addition to a cheerful way with folk materials that has parallels in Stravinsky, Bartok, and Janacek, though the feel is sunnier.
—The New Yorker
I was born in Santiago Papasquiaro, Durango, on December 31, 1899. It is located, I think, near the mountains, since my earliest and most vivid childhood recollection is of a trip through the sierra tied to the back of a mule—I was just a little fellow—sleeping in a tent on the ground, hunting birds with a slingshot, picking berries at daylight, hearing the wolves in the night. I was left from that time on with an impulsive, humble love of pine trees, mountains, and the horizon.
As a small boy (and maybe as an adult) I always preferred banging on a washtub or dreaming up tales to doing something useful. And that is how I spent my time, imitating instruments with my voice, improvising orchestras and songs to accompaniments on the washtub, one of those round galvanized tubs that I always preferred to drum on more than to bathe in.
I began to love Bach and Beethoven at a very early stage. It gave me much pleasure to stroll Chapultepec Park's romantic avenues, taking long strides, arms behind my back, long hair in disarray. Those lithographs and engravings of poor Beethoven, grim-faced, defying the storm, had a strong influence over me. I could do no less myself.
I have had many teachers. The best of them, with no degrees, knew more than the others. For that reason I have always had little respect for degrees. Now, after many years I still study, have teachers, write music, dream of distant countries, and sometimes bang on washtubs.
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