Nicaragua: Luis Abraham Delgadillo, pt. 1

26

January
2012

Luis Abraham Delgadillo is one of Nicaragua’s prominent composers from the 20th Century, primarily known for having written an arrangement of the Nicaraguan national anthem, ¡Salve a ti, Nicaragua!, to a text by the poet Salomón Ibarra Mayorga.

Listen: ¡Salve a ti, Nicaragua! (“Hail to thee, Nicaragua!”)

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Delgadillo is also recognized as the first native composer to write grand works such as operas, ballets, and symphonies. Yet he also composed music on a more intimate scale.

I’ve been exploring Delgadillo’s music manuscripts in the Nicaraguan Music Archive of Historical Documents (FONMUNIC), located at the Institute of Nicaraguan and Central American History (IHNCA) of the University of Central America, where I came across an unassuming work for flute and piano entitled Romance Oriental.

On the inside cover, I found a touching dedication of unusual sentiment.

a Mariita Huezo

Una serenata sollozante para tí ¡Oh angelical criatura del oriental sueño de un Rajá! Hubiera deseado dedicarte una música alegre y rebosante de juventud florida, cuando me pediste una vez, que te obsequiara algo mío muy sincero, pero no tarde, y aunque despues de tu trágico e inmerecido fin, llego en espíritu a ofrendarte mi Romance doloroso ante tus preciosos despojos mortales, para que vibren nuestros fínos espiritus al unisono de la Gran Luz!

Luis A. Delgadillo

New York City, 10 Julio 1931

Translation:

to Mariita Huezo

A weeping serenade for you, Oh, angelic creature, exotic dream of a Raja! I wish I could have dedicated a festive piece, overflowing with the vibrancy of youth, when you requested—something sincere of mine with which to entertain you—without delay. And although it follows your tragic and undeserved end, I arrive in spirit to offer up my doleful Romance before your precious, mortal remains so that our delicate spirits will pulse in unison with the Great Light!

Luis A. Delgadillo

New York City, July 10, 1931

[UPDATE, 1/27/2012: After publishing this post, I was told that Mariita Huezo met an untimely end during the devastating earthquake which struck Managua in March of 1931, and killed approximately 200o people.]

About the images:

The photograph above is of Delgadillo’s grave as it appears today, located on the main avenue within the Central Cemetery of Managua. It looks to be a relatively modest tomb (when compared to those of other national figures), exhibits little if any ostentation, and lies in state of neglect.

However, Ibarra’s gravesite—found in Managua’s oldest cemetery, Cementerio San Pedro—is well-kept and noticeably more monument than humble resting place (guards nearby make sure it doesn’t come to any harm). The photo below gives only a hint as to its appearance.

[N.B. This is not an official Department of State website or blog. The views and information presented are my own and do not represent the Fulbright Program or the U.S. Department of State.]

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