Scenes of the Aztecs / Test piece 2nd division World Music Contest 2013 (WMC) in Kerkrade (The Netherlands).
Escenas de los Aztecas has three recognizable sections, but it is cast in a single movement. The first portion, entitled "Jaguar Dance" employs a crude flute (ocarina), log drums and other Aztec instruments such as jawbones and rattle sticks to invoke a sort of folk dance celebrating the animal that the Aztecs worshipped and respected above all others: the jaguar. The second portion of the work, first introduced by a lengthy English Horn solo, is called "Cantares", or "Ghost Dance". Cantares were mystical chants employed by Aztec high priests to invoke the return of their ghostly ancestors. The third portion of the piece, "Human Sacrifice", is a moderate dance in 7/8 time, intended to invoke the horror of the massive Aztec religions sacrificial ceremonies, where thousands of captured prisoners from neighboring tribes were slaughtered atop the high pyramid as a gift to the various Aztec gods.