Una Limosnita por Amor de Dios
by Agustín Barrios Mangoré
Medium: Solo Marimba
Publisher: C. Alan Publications
Adapted: 2001 (orig. composed in 1944)
Difficulty: Grade IV
5-Octave Marimba (originally for guitar)
listenUna Limosnita por Amor de Dios (Barrios) for Solo Marimba by Nathan Daughtrey
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Nathan Daughtrey, marimba
Agustín Barrios Mangoré (1885-1944) was one of the most successful and influential guitarist/composers of the first half of the twentieth century. His compositions range from simple etudes to wildly virtuosic multi-movement works. The majority of these works fall into one of three categories: folkloric, in which pieces were modeled after South American folk songs; imitative, in which composition styles and techniques were borrowed from the Baroque and Romantic periods; and religious, in which pieces were inspired by Barrios’ own religious experiences and beliefs.
Barrios’ final composition, Una Limosnita por Amor de Dios (“An Alm for the Love of God”), may be placed under the umbrella of his religious works. The piece is a tremolo etude that places the soaring melody in the soprano voice and the incessant ostinato rhythmic motif in the middle voice. This motif is said to represent the knocking at the door of a beggar (thus the title of the piece). The majority of the composition centers around the key of E minor, but moves into E major toward the end. During the compositional process of Una Limosna por el Amor de Dios, Barrios knew his end was near. This shift in tonality symbolizes his acceptance of and peace with his death. After this final composition, Barrios spent his remaining days in tranquility, solace, and meditation.