Julián Fueyo
Born 1996, in Tampico, Mexico
3 flutes, 3 oboes, 3 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, percussion, piano, celesta, harp, strings
Performance time
19 minutes
Last Performed by the TSO
TSO Premiere: January 19, 2024

El Onceavo Cielo (The Eleventh Heaven) gets its title from the eleventh strata of thirteen in pre-Hispanic (Nahua) cosmogony. This strata—described as “the red sky full of rays where the dying Sun and twilight reside”—hosts Xiuhtecutli, the god of fire, and his female counterpart Chantico, goddess of wrath and volcanoes.

Specifically, El Onceavo Cielo (The Eleventh Heaven) investigates Xiuhtecutli’s role as the starter of time and the weaver of all the cosmogonical levels. The first page of the Fejérváry-Mayer Codex shows Xiuhtecutli at the center of reality: surrounded by the four cardinal directions (each hosting two night-lords). In his hand, he holds the fire of creation. With it Xiuhtecutli sparked time and the universe into existence. A symbol of time, with his fire Xiuhtecutli knits all strata together. He is the ‘spinal chord’ weaving all the planes of existence (thirteen heavens, nine underworlds, and the human plane) together via the fire of creation: that is, with the burning thread of time.

At its core, this piece is about impermanence: nothing lasts forever, not even gods. Xiuhtecutli reminds us that the burning thread of time holding everything together effectively burns everything. Personally, I hope this piece serves as a space to reflect and experience the impermanence of sound, music, and time.

Julián Fueyo