On an immediate level, this work engages with the devastation experienced in parts of the United Kingdom in December 2015 and January 2016 as a result of intense and persistent rainfall. More broadly, it deals with flooding everywhere, a call to arms in the struggle to inculcate awareness and promote action for a safer environment that will enable humanity to survive.
Río Bravo does not purport to be a descriptive work. A musical testimony, perhaps, to some of the drama nature was unleashing as the piece was being written. But more than that, its composition was an exorcism for the sense of ongoing emergency, the tension and the fear that the waters may rise again any moment. The transformation of a beautiful and companionable river (in this particular case, the Rede) into a destructive force was a particularly lacerating experience, and the consequent loss of trust was and is something worth exorcising.
The title can be translated as Fierce River – the Spanish word bravo in this context has nothing to do with cheering, but everything to do with untamed menace or aggression.