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Chavez: Sinfonia India; Copland: Danzon Cubano; Ginastera: Dances from Estancia; Roldan: La Rebambaramba Suite; Ritmica V; Revueltas: Sensemaya; Garcia Caturla: Tres Danzas Cubanas; Piazzolla: Tangazo

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From Latin America

CHAVEZ: Sinfonia India; COPLAND: Danzon Cubano; GINASTERA: Dances from Estancia; ROLDAN: La Rebambaramba Suite; Ritmica V; REVUELTAS: Sensemaya; GARCIA CATURLA: Tres Danzas Cubanas; PIAZZOLLA: Tangazo

New World Symphony/Michael Tilson Thomas

Argo 436 737 (Polygram) 74 minutes

Originally released in 1979, the first collection gives us the opportunity to teacquaint ourselves with composers too long neglected by American listeners. Chavez's Sinfonia India (his Symphony 2 of 1935-36) embraces various native Mexican-American motifs and derives its energies from folkdances. Blas Galindo's Sones de Mariachi of 1941 is the most "Mexican" of the works here. It also employs folk and dance motifs (particularly found in the state of Jalisco) performed with bright mariachi trumpets and the large Mexican bass guitars.

Jose Pablo Moncayo, another citizen of Jalisco, was one of Chavez's students. His Huapango (of 1941) is another spirited dance piece, employing harp and small guitars, supplemented with violins. It was originally designed, as are all huapangos, for festival street performers, but is much more substantive when given by larger orchestral forces. Rodolfo Halffter's ballet suite Don Lindo de Almeria is based on a series of sketches from Andalusian life by the writer Jose Bergamin. Written in 1936, Don Lindo is the most "modern" of the four pieces gathered on this release, but the occasional dissonant figure is mostly mischievous and full of humor.

These composers should be more familiar to American audiences than they are. They wrote strongly in a romantic vein, relying on and experimenting with indigenous and sometimes imported folk motifs (sometimes Spanish, sometimes Caribbean). Kenneth Klein leads full-bodied and vigorous performances, with a sonic ambience that translates well into the digital era.

The Copland, Chavez, and Ginastera will be the most familiar on the second disc land should be in anyone's collection). Amadeo Rold n's upbeat Ritmica V employs a wide range of percussion and is full of gawky dance-inspired rhythms. His suite from the ballet La Rebambaramba (1927-28) is a buoyant piece with a jazzy mix of Cuban and African dances. Revueltas's Sensemaya (1938) is much more forbidding, with Aztec/Maya sonorities and primitive repetitions--it's about the sacrificial killing of a snake. Alejandro Garcia Caturia's Tres danzas cubanas (1928) is more animated and very metropolitan, evoking city life in Havana. Finally, Astor Piazzolla's Tangazo is a 1988 concert piece, a study in the twisting beats of the tango. It is, however, mostly solemn and slow, perhaps not what one might imagine a tango to be. The New World Symphony performs well with this mixed collection of works, getting the right flavor for each of the nationalities represented here. A tasty collection, especially if you're missing the Ginastera and the Chavez.

DMU Timestamp: March 29, 2019 18:11

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