Issued by the giant Sony Classical label on the occasion of Mexico's bicentennial in 2010, this album represents something of an attempt to construct a Latin counterpart to the numerous collections of North American favorites on the market.
One key to making such a release successful is to combine chestnuts with a few unexpected selections, and that's what conductor Alondra de la Parra does here. She's an interesting figure: young, charismatic, born in New York, raised in Mexico City, and educated in Britain, Mexico, and the U.S., she seems ideally situated to convey the riches of Mexican music to a wider audience, and she has even formed her own group, the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas. to that end.
The program begins with a work that's a chestnut for Mexican listeners, although perhaps not for outsiders: the Huapango of José Pablo Moncayo. De la Parra then moves through various phases of Mexican modernist movements of the early and middle 20th century, covering familiar pieces such as Ponce's Concierto del sur for guitar and orchestra, as well as nice finds (at least for non-Mexicans as Candelario Huízar's Imágenes, an Impressionist work that de la Parra captures nicely with the word "surrealistic"). A good deal of the second disc consists of recent compositions, and several of these would fit beautifully on modern symphonic concerts. Eugenio Toussaint's Concierto para piano improvisado y orquesta, here excerpted, is a full-blown jazz concerto. The most fun may be the finale, Ernesto Chapela's ínguese, whose title is a sort of wordplay involving probably the strongest obscenity ever to become part of a classical composition. The work depicts a 1999 soccer match between Mexico and Brazil, with the Mexican team represented by the winds and the Brazilians by the brass, the crowd by the strings. The conductor, naturally enough, is the referee.
Chapela has said he was inspired by the foul language and insults hurled by fans on both sides, and that he could not think of a better contemporary representation of nationalism than a soccer match. The result is something like Ives in a rough-and-tumble Latin American context, and it's a nice sendoff from an exciting ride. Recommended not only as a handy collection of Mexican favorites, but also for those interested in new directions in Mexican music.
|Huapango / José Pablo Moncayo||Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas / Alondra de la Parra||8:24|
|Mélodie pour violon et orchestre, Op. 1 / Gustavo Campa||Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas / Alondra de la Parra||5:32|
|Intermezzo de Atzimba / Ricardo Castro||Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas / Alondra de la Parra||5:08||Amazon|
|Imágenes / Candelario Huízar||Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas / Alondra de la Parra||16:53|
|Concierto del Sur para guitarra y orquesta|
|1. Allegretto / Manuel Ponce||Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas / Alondra de la Parra||13:37||Amazon|
|2. Andante / Manuel Ponce||Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas / Alondra de la Parra||6:44||Amazon|
|3. Allegro Moderato e Festivo / Manuel Ponce||Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas / Alondra de la Parra||5:57||Amazon|
|Sobre las olas / Juventino Rosas||Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas / Alondra de la Parra||4:39||Amazon|