The American conductor Theodore Kuchar is familiar from his Naxos recordings with the Ukraine SO: These include a complete Prokofiev series and early releases in the American series such as the Piston violin concertos, and symphonies by Antheil, Harris, and Creston (all first-rate). He has also recorded the Nielsen symphonies with the Janá?ek Symphony Orchestra. Now he has taken up a post in Venezuela and this 2011 recording is one of the results.
These performances are very slick. The tightness of ensemble in Moncayo’s Huapango shows up the sloppiness of most other versions. Kuchar sets and maintains a perfect tempo here and elsewhere (as you would expect from a Prokofiev specialist). The recording quality isRead more sharp-edged and bright, adding to the excitement. As to the program: There are several such anthologies around. Márquez’s second Danzón has had far more outings than his other seven in the series (to my knowledge Danzón Nos. 3 and 4 are the only others to have appeared on disc), while the Moncayo and Ginastera pieces are positively ubiquitous. Estancia, for example, I counted nine versions of the ballet suite alone in my collection. Fernández’s short Batuque is familiar from Bernstein’s 1963 Latin American anthology, which is brilliantly conducted and does not duplicate any of the other works on Kuchar’s disc. The rarities here are Revueltas’s joyous Janitzio (in place of the usual Sensemayá) and the pieces by the Venezuelans Aldemaro Romero (1928-2007) and Yuri Hung (b. 1968). Their works are dance-based showpieces in the vibrant Latin style, but quite individual even so. Hung’s Kanaima reveals a distinctive primitive pulse with drums dominating, while Romero’s Toccata Bachiana, a clear homage to the D-Minor Toccata and Fugue (possibly by Bach) takes a while to work up to its monumental climax.
Batuqueby Oscar Lorenzo Fernandez Conductor:
Venezuela Symphony Orchestra
Average Customer Review: ( 4 Customer Reviews )
A Fine RecordingJune 15, 2015By Gary Lee (Palm Springs, CA)See All My Reviews"I was a little hesitant to get this CD on Brilliant Classics, being wary of its sound quality and of the orchestra. My fears were unfounded. The orchestra is in fine fettle, equal to many far more famous ensembles. I got it for Marquez's Danzon No. 2 but found several of the other works quite interesting. Highly recommended for some interesting modern works."Report Abuse
Impressive MusicMarch 11, 2015By Mike P. (Sebastopol, CA)See All My Reviews"A surprising and pleasing album of "south of the border" music."Report Abuse
Sensational 'Salsa' Classical MusicAugust 13, 2014By Henry S. (Springfield, VA)See All My Reviews"If you prefer quiet, sedate classical music, this disk is not for you. If, however, you enjoy rhythmic, pulsating, strongly articulated music with absolute resolution and finality, then this is sure to be right up your alley. From throughout Latin America comes a group of composers who have concocted some of the most catchy, irresistible, brilliantly conceived music you can imagine. The inspiration for these works clearly does not lie in Central Europe, rather the fiery mix of native folk music and the exuberance of the Spanish culture as it brewed in Latin America over the course of several centuries. The result is orchestral music that could be described as 'symphonic salsa music,' and it is presented here in a simply astonishing performance by the Venezuela Symphony Orchestra. Brilliant Classics is to commended for this compilation of dynamic and totally satisfying works. Do not hesitate on this one! Highly recommended."Report Abuse