Program Notes

Navidad Nuestra – Ramirez

Navidad Nuestra

Navidad Nuestra is a folk drama of the nativity of Jesus Christ in the rhythms and traditions of Hispanic America. Ramírez, a native of Argentina, also used this style in his popular Missa Criollawhich was performed by The Naperville Chorus in December of 1994.

In this composition Ramírez gave to each episode of the story of the Nativity a distinctive regional voice which captures the mystery and glory of the birth of Christ in the musical idiom of the Composer’s background. For example, a chamame for the annunciation to Mary and a huella pampeana for Mary and Joseph’s pilgrimage to Bethlemen. The result is a creation of beautiful, and inspirational musical scenes .

Poet Felix Luna provided the lyrics for Navidad Nuestra. The collaboration of Ramírez and Luna has produced a marvelous work featuring Hispanic American characteristics and the universal appeal of the story.

The poetic translation in the music was quite free. The orignal Spanish poetry of Félix Luna also includes in the guaraní language – used by the Indian tribe that originally inhabited Paraguay and the provinces of Corrientes and Entre Ríos in northeastern Argentina. We thus give only a paraphrase of the movements.

I. La Annunciacion (The Annunciation)

This tells of the Angel Gabriel coming to Mary and telling her that she would give birth to a son who would be the Son of God. It tells of the beauty of Mary and the glory of her coming son.

II. La Peregrinacion (The Pilgrimage)

This tells of Joseph and Mary going to Bethlehem. It speaks of the trial of the trip and the difficulty of finding a place to stay.

III. El Nacimiento (The Nativity)

This speaks of the calm of the night when Jesus is born. There is peace in the world for it is Christmas as had been promised from the past.

IV. Los Pastores (The Shepherds)

This tells of the coming of the shepherds to see the nativity. They bring simple gifts of flowers and herbs. The shepherds come from places in Argentina – Pinchas and Chuque, San Pedro and Pomán. The cowboy Julio Romero (Argentinian “John Smith”) will ride in from afar. This is how we celebrate Christmas – with gifts and love and joy in our hearts.

V. Los Reyes Magos (The Three Kings)

The three Kings (Melchor, Gaspar and the negro Baltasar) have come from a distance bringing honey cakes and a warm poncho of alpaca yarn. It is a long trip that they have made following the star. When the baby Jesus awakens, laughter and joy is there.

VI. La Huida (The Flight [to Egypt])

This tells of the threat of King Herod, who is to kill all newborn boy children, to make sure that Jesus is killed. There will be a hard trip (to Egypt) but Jesus will remain safe.

Robert Osing