home > list of works > solo music > piano works > Tres Palíndromos / Three Palindromes

Cover of the edition of the Three Palindromes in the separate
of n. 6 of the magazine "Quodlibet" (1996)

Tres palíndromos / Three Palindromes

For four-hands Piano

Download score


Palindromes are words or expressions (sometimes much longer units) that are the same when read from left to right as they are from right to left. Although in written language it only admits this bidirectional treatment (equivalent, in music, to direct retrograde movement), the musical translation of this linguistic concept presents some more possibilities, all of them related to symmetry: thus, a rhythm can only be retrograde, but the intervals of a melody can, moreover, be inverted and even retrograde and inverted at the same time. As for the vertical, harmonic aspect, the chords may have been inverted (or, what is the same, placed "upside down"), and their succession equally retrograded and inverted.
These Three Palindromes are based on different symmetrical treatments of the material used, further distributed between the double symmetry (two right hands versus two left hands) offered by the very layout of the performers in front of the keyboard in the four-handed piano performance.
The titles of each of the pieces reproduce author palindromes: the first, "Madam, I'm Adam", would not only be the first palindrome in history, but the first expression that was pronounced in the world, if we pay attention to the humorous interpretation that its author, the Cuban Guillermo Cabrera Infante, gives us. The second, "No deseo ese don” (I don’t want that gift) , dates from 1561, and its author is Juan de Timoneda. Next to the title there is a subtitle, "REconoceER" (REcognize), which in turn constitutes a palindrome of a single word, in which the emphasis is graphically placed on the syllable that serves as the name of the note Re (D), used as the axis of absolute symmetry of this piece. Lastly, the title of the third movement, "Anita, la gorda lagartona, no traga la droga latina" (Anita, the fat big lizard, does not swallow the Latin drug), is an original palindrome by José Antonio Millán, and from the beginning introduces the scherzante character of the music.

Guillermo Cabrera Infante (1909-2005)

Juan de Timoneda (1519-1583)

José Antonio Millán (1954)

The Three Palindromes were composed in Madrid and Puerto de Mazarrón between the months of March and April 1996, commissioned by the magazine Quodlibet of the Music Classroom of Alcalá de Henares, and published in the pedagogical music separate corresponding to number 6 of said magazine. They are dedicated to the panists Marisa Santisteban and Luis Calderón, advisers like me for the reform of music education within the framework of the LOGSE, which at that time was carried out by the Department of Music and Performing Arts of the General Subdirectorate of Artistic Education of the Ministry for Education and Science. Their premiere was performed by the duo made up of Elena Aguado and Sebastián Mariné, and took place at the Autonomous University of Madrid in November 1997. In 2007 they were recorded and released on CD by the duo Ángel Huidobro-Juan Manuel Consuegra, within the first volume of the collection "Spanish Music for Four Hands".

Cover of the CD of Duo Huidobro-Consuegra including the
Three Palindromes (Several Records, 2007)

First page of the Three Palindromes


Recording: Elena Aguado y Sebastián Mariné (Manuel de Falla Hall of the Royal Conservatory of Music of Madrid, October 19, 2012)

I. Madam, I'm Adam
II. No deseo ese don (REconocER)
III. Anita, la gorda lagartona, no traga la droga latina

Enlace YouTube (Grabación del dúo formado por Ángel Huidobro y Juan Manuel Consuegra):

I. Madam, I'm Adam; II. No deseo ese don (REconocER); III. Anita, la gorda lagartona, no traga la droga latina


I. Moscow "Iberian Music Forum"
Hall of the Conservatory of Moscow; March 4, 2021
Yulia Litvinenko y Maria Sadritdinova (four-hands piano)

II. COMA'2022 Festival of Madrid Composers Association
Concert-Tribute to José Luis Turina on his 70th anniversary
Laura Sánchez and Cristina Lucio-Villegas (Dúo Scarbó)
Manuel de Falla Hall of the Royal Conservatory of Music.
Madrid, November 4, 2022


(Score without watermarks available at www.asesores-musicales.com )