With El Sol Caliente we return to the City Symphony, a form we have explored in two earlier pieces, Gotham and Dystopia, which were based on New York and Los Angeles respectively. Our collaborative process is unusual in that the music was written first and the film, while conceived and researched in tandem with the music, was edited to the completed score. El Sol Caliente was designed to take advantage of the New World Center’s exquisite multi-media facilities. In addition to the five overhead sails that are part of the venue’s singular projection design, we have added three additional screens over the orchestra seating terraces, surrounding the orchestra with eight total projection surfaces. The orchestra is specifically arranged on stage to highlight the use of an architectural movement of sound that runs throughout the music. These sound waves, ebbing and flowing, are a constant reminiscence of the forces of nature enveloping the magical strip of land called Miami Beach.
El Sol Caliente incorporates archival footage from the early and mid-20th century culled from newsreels, tourism films, home movies, as well as original contemporary footage. The tropes remain familiar throughout the century - bathing beauties, hurricanes, and families vacationing in Art Deco hotels. We see men wrestling alligators and manatees, symbolically wresting South Florida from the swamp and into the world's imagination as a tourist destination. Yet this fragile barrier island lying off a continental peninsula at sea level will probably not survive this century without a drastic intervention on its behalf. How will we wrest Miami Beach from nature in the 21st century?