Danzon No. 2

The danzón is often compared with the tango, as its northern counterpart. The danzón and the tango oth are refined urban dances with sensual rhythms and often melancholy melodies. The danzón is a descendent of the Cuban habanera and was in fashion in Mexico during the early 1900s. Arturo Márquez has been fascinated with this dance, as he developed an intense feeling of national consciousness on the part of the composer. To an extent this is due to Zapatista movement, which started with an uprising in the same year (1994) when the Danzón No. 2 was commissioned. It helped Arturo Márquez to define a certain awareness of why it was crucial to understand and represent the culture of Mexico. In doing so, he brought back a dance tradition that started several generations prior to his own, and therefore promoted the continuity of the Mexican culture through music and dance. Like other composers from South America, such a Piazzolla and Villa-Lobos, he brought the dance music of his country – the danzón – to the concert hall. Márquez wrote that the danzón is “a genre which old Mexican people continue to dance with a touch of nostalgia and a jubilant escape towards their own emotional world…The Danzón No. 2 is a tribute to the environment that nourishes the genre…it is a very personal way of paying my respects and expressing my emotions towards truly popular music.” Due to its popularity, this piece is known today as the second national anthem of Mexico.