El Paño (The Silversmith)

Arr. by Dale Jergenson

SATB chorus, TTB solo trio, optional finger cymbals, tambourine, maracas and string bass

Laurendale Associates


Review from The Choral Journal, February, 1996

Dale Jergenson’s appealing arrangement of a Spanish folk dance provides a lively, short (1:23) selection that incorporates solo, choral, and instrumental parts. Prefatory notes deal with the history of the dance, instructions for performers, and suggestions for instruments that may be added or substituted. The notes also suggest that the piece may be performed unaccompanied. Since the translation labeled "literal" is not word-for-word, either knowledge of Spanish or a dictionary is needed to define each word. The pronunciation key supplied is inconsistent in its use of vowel sound symbols; a transcription using the International Phonetic Alphabet, or at least a chart defining basic vowel sounds, would be more precise. Careful editing in the instrumental and vocal parts of the score aid in interpretation, with some directions given in English. A separate instrumental part is available from the publisher.

Ranges are within customary limits for all parts. The solo trio tenor 1, however, needs good vocal stamina in the upper register to produce a recurring g1 in several long phrases of the three-verse piece. The tessitura of the soprano 1 part is low in places, but only when in unison with the altos and well supported. The chorus never sings the text but provides a humming accompaniment for the solo trio throughout, simplifying preparation in terms of language. The folk rhythm, alternating constantly between 6/8 to 3/4, is reinforced in the instrumental parts and becomes automatic after the pattern is realized.

El Paño is a good choice for high school, community, or collegiate choirs. Parts are not difficult, but the combined effect is impressive. For international celebrations, programs to enhance multicultural curriculums, or folk music festivals, this arrangement is a good choice.


Review by Sandra C McClain