La Calavera for Solo Horn

Gomez, Alice



La Calavera for solo horn was composed one evening while I was looking through a stack of loteria cards.  The loteria is a popular and traditional game in Mexico.  It is similar to bingo in that players are given cards with pictures on them and have to place them in a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal line as a caller announces them.  There are fifty-four loteria cards, which have pictures of familiar objects such as a woman, a rooster, the devil, watermelon, and the moon.  When a card is drawn, the call has to spontaneously create a rhyme using the name of the object on the card.

I began composing this piece without having a title for it.  While thumbing through the loteria cards, I became fixated on card number forty-two, la calavera.  A calavera is a skull with crossbones.  While working on this mysteriously peculiar piece, I had a strong feeling that the image on the card was guiding me through the composition.  I became so spooked, I wasn’t sure if I could continue working on the piece.  I was only able to finish it by choosing to believe that the image presented itself to me as a remembrance of a long lost soul.