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
Danzon No. 2
Tocatta Bachiana - Pajarillo Aldemaroso
Estancia Suite, Op. 8a: I. Los trabajadores agricolas: Tempo giusto
Estancia Suite, Op. 8a: II. Danza del trigo: Tranquillo
Estancia Suite, Op. 8a: III. Les peones de hacienda: Mosso e ruvido
Estancia Suite, Op. 8a: IV. Malambo: Allegro - Tempo di malambo
Average Customer Review: ( 3 Customer Reviews )
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
Lots of funMarch 7, 2013By James Carleton (Port Hueneme, CA)See All My Reviews"It has long puzzled me that I, of Scots, Irish and English ancestry, am strongly attracted to the music of South and Central America. Puzzled, but also delighted; the driving rhythms of much of this music is often all I need to make a sour day seem a lot sweeter. This is a fine collection for those who know little of this music. The opening and closing works have achieved quite some popularity, and they serve as excellent bookends on this disc. I do have a quibble (and it's my reason for only four stars) with the performance of the Moncayo: the bass drum is far too strong, and occasionally off-beat. I know that it is written in counter rhythm, but not this much. I could ignore that if it weren't so obvious. I much prefer Herrera de la Fuente and Orquesta sinfónica de Xalapa, on Guild/IMP. But this is my only complaint. Excellent performances the rest of the way, well engineered. The notes booklet is skimpy, but you can find lots of on-line information on most of these works. About half of the material here is new to me, and I've enjoyed every note of it. At this price, you can't go wrong."Report Abuse
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