Thibaut Bruniaux for Brass Band
The city of Machu Picchu, the architectural masterpiece of the Inca civilization, remains today still an enigma for archaeologists. Dominating the valley of Urubamba, at almost 2,500 meters above sea level, the majestic city appears in the middle of the Andean mountain range, in an extreme environment. Long kept secret, Machu Picchu seems to have escaped the Spanish colonization and its ruins were discovered only very late, giving free rein to a rich and fantastic imagination. The Inca people, devoting themselves to the sun, built this extraordinary site in perfect symbiosis with the mountain. This "old peak", according to an ancient Inca translation, has still not revealed all its secrets and continues to give rise to much inspiration.
The piece "Machu Picchu" offers a discovery of the celestial city through the Inca rites. At first, from the bottom of the valley far away, the site appears dizzying in the middle of the clouds. Being discovered gradually all along a gruelling ascent, the citadel gives way to monumental structures, witnesses of the splendours and grandeur of the Inca civilization: Temple of the Sun, Royal Palace, Royal Tomb, Ceremonial Baths, so many places where the last Inca emperor would have taken refuge. The traveller then helplessly attends the sacrifice of the Virgins of the Sun on the immense main square, in honour of the supreme deity, as if to ward off the signs of the nearing end that had been announced. The procession gradually moves away towards the Intihuatana, the stone of the Sun, to plead their deity one last time. The piece ends with a 360° view of an exceptional panorama combining the peaks of the Andes with the immensity of the Amazon. The musical material is developed around two motifs exposed by the cornets in the introduction; these patterns will come back throughout the piece and translate at their highpoint as the words M.A.C.H.U - P.I.C.C.H.U. These two motifs highlight two intervals, the ascending third and the descending second, which are at the origin of the different thematic elements of the piece.