(Moisés Vivanco - 3:21)
Recorded in 1952
|Review and Analysis of Panarima by Nicholas E. Limansky
From Yma Sumac - The Art Behind the Legend
used with permission - all rights reserved, © Nicholas E. Limansky
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|"Panarima" is not listed on any concert programs although it would have given a suitable touch of the outrè to any concert. It may have been programmed but with the title "Inca Tears," a song that was frequently scheduled but never recorded. This piece is just as odd as the previous "Mamallay" but more interesting if only for Yma's new descriptive devices.
Like "Mamallay" this is pure program music. In this case the story line might be this: a priestess of the Incan temple of the Sun is found shirking her duties and when threatened with severe punishment, begs for mercy. The punishment is carried out and she repents her misdeed. Again, this song is too fragmented to be completely successful - its errie ritualistic atmosphere almost sadistic.
The opening, complete with gong, sounds ominous because of the use of the lower register of the brass instruments and the broken phrases of woodwinds, pitched high in their registers. Yma provides a sultry beginning by using her dusky contralto voice (down to low E flat), quarter-tones, and simulated, oppressed-sounding, weeping. As she chants and pleads her way through these phrases, a chorus of women echo her. This is followed by an odd, short B section which finds Yma rising to a tremulous high C, interrupted by the strong cracking of a whip. She wails as if in pain, while a nearby man (actually Hernan Braña) shouts "Ha-ga-la-vis-tee!" This leads into the "redemption" section sung completely within Yma's mezzo-soprano register. Accompnaied by swirling violins and chordal brass chimes and winds, this is one of the loveliest melodies written for Yma's voice. Although short and simple Yma imbues the lines with many colorations, rhythmical leanings and accents, making the theme exultant. The conclusion is brought to a close with Yma sustaining a Picardy third in a creamy, mezzo soprano voice. Harp and swirling violins have the last word.