In memory of Fernando Rivero.

Posted by on February 25, 2013. one comment

On October 1st 1905, a young carpenter named František Pavlík was killed in a military intervention against a Czech student demonstration. This happened after decades of tension between Czech and Germans in the region. This event inspired Leoš Janáček to write his Piano Sonata 1.X.1905. He accompanied this composition with the following inscription:

“The white marble of the steps of the Besední dům in Brno. The ordinary labourer František Pavlík falls, stained with blood. He came merely to champion higher learning and has been slain by cruel murderers.”

This Sonata has two movements which are titled “Foreboding” and “Death”.

Since 2006, more than 80,000 people have died in Mexico due to drug-related violence. My home state, Chihuahua, has been hit especially hard by these homicides. It is now considered one of the most dangerous regions of the world, including ongoing war zones such as Afghanistan and Somalia.

Nearly everyone in Chihuahua has a friend or family member that has been murdered in recent years.  Nearly everyone in Chihuahua has witnessed or been involved in one of the many shootings that occur almost daily. A dark sense of foreboding permeates everything one does and a fear for one’s life and for one’s loved ones is a part of everyday life.

On February 4th 2012, armed gunmen entered a nightclub in Chihuahua and massacred nine people, among them five members of “Quinta Banda”, a local music group. They were not the first musicians to be claimed by Chihuahua’s violence; working at night and at these kinds of venues has made being a musician in Chihuahua a very high-risk activity. Among the dead was Fernando Rivero, a young clarinet player and my close friend and chamber music partner. His death devastated Chihuahua’s community of musicians and a number of tribute concerts have been organized on the one-year anniversary of his death. Since last Summer, I no longer live in Chihuahua and cannot be present for these. However, I’ve recorded the Piano Sonata 1.X.1905 in memory of Fernando Rivero, the thousands of others that have died due to Mexico’s drug war, and the many friends and family who remain in Chihuahua and have to live with the constant threat of violence at any moment.


Sonata 1.X.1905, First movement. “Foreboding”:



Sonata 1.X.1905, Second movement. “Death”:



Fernando Rivero and I playing the Romanza from Francis Poulenc’s Clarinet Sonata:



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One Comment

  • Mayra Mendoza says:

    No quedan palabras para expresar la pérdida tan grande que fue el asesinato de Fer, un hombre y músico excelente. No hay mejor forma para expresar el dolor que con la música, y en especial tu interpretación del segundo movimiento expresa en todos los sentidos ese sentimiento.
    Descansa en paz, Fernando. Tus amigos te recordaremos por siempre.