By Jared Isaac Aragón. Music for organ in three movements inspired by the rites of the Penitentes in Northern New Mexico, USA. Dramatic, depictive writing. An outstanding work for recital or liturgical settings.
Composed in 2015 for my final composition recital at the University of Arkansas, Alabados was inspired by the sacred, and often times secret, rituals of Los Hermanos Penitentes, a lay fraternity of the Catholic church active in Northern and Central New Mexico as well as Southern Colorado. My grandmother, frequently tells of her first experience, as a young child, seeing los Penitentes in Tomé, New Mexico attending Easter Mass. Those stories were the inspiration for this piece, especially the third movement. Alabanzas del Alba are prayers, sung by los Penitentes every morning before getting out of bed. La Via Cruces , is the Way of the Cross, a ritualized reenactment of the journey of Christ bearing the cross. A statue of the Virgin Mary dressed all in black leads the procession and los Penitentes follow singing their songs, stopping every fifty feet to fall on their knees to pray. Tinieblas , the final movement, describes the night-time ceremony on Good Friday where thirteen candles adorn the front of the morada, the sacred meeting room that los Penitentes hold their rituals. Prayers are recited, and each candle is extinguished one by one. After the last candle is out and the morada falls dark, los Penitentes begin screaming, rattling chains, striking pots and pans with sticks, clanging bells, and chanting sacred songs all at once in a frenzied fervor.