El Sistema” (the music education program in Venezuela, founded in 1975 by economist and musician Jose Antonio Abreu, under the name “Social Action for Music”) has produced an incredible amount of young, talented and enthusiastic musicians, forming (youth) orchestras of amazing quality (f.i. the Simon Bolivar Orchestra of Dudamel).
The Orchestra Sinfonica de Venezuela is the State orchestra under the inspiring baton of maestro Theodore Kuchar, playing with an infectious energy and fire, which can be heard and experienced in this colourful and vibrant selection of compositions of Latin American composers: Revueltas, Moncayo, Marquez, Romero. More than one hour musical festival of blazing sun, sea, landscapes, rhythm and colour! New recording. Stretching from Mexico to Argentina and covering miles of lush, idyllic landscape, Latin America has long been a source of inspiration for all manner of artists. This engaging release details a wonderful collection of music by composers native to the continent, all of whom have sought to capture its identity in their work.
Beginning with Moncayo’s famous Huapango, a vibrant showpiece written in 1941 and which incorporates three of Mexico’s popular dances, the compilation traverses an array of distinctive, regional rhythms that have been integrated into traditional and formal structures. From Hung’s Kanaima – a Venezuelan evocation of the rainforest’s majesty – to Fernández’s Afro-Brazilian dance ‘Batuque’, taken from his nationalistic opera Malazarte, the collection also highlights the importance of Western influence in Latin American music: not only was Romero’s Tocatta Bachiana inspired by the famous D minor Toccata and Fugue BWV565 by J.S. Bach, but Revueltas’ work demonstrates a clear affinity for the harmonic language of European modernists such as Stravinsky. Spanning over 50 years of composition, this release reveals Latin America’s great cultural diversity and is the perfect starting-point for anyone wishing to explore the continent’s rich artistic landscape. With the Venezuelan Symphony Orchestra delivering awe-inspiring performances under their esteemed director Theodore Kuchar, it’s a must-buy.
“This is as good as a Latin American hits collection gets. The Venezuela Symphony Orchestra is on superb form, at least as good and as spirited as the more famous Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra; their American director, Theodore Kuchar, leads energetic performances that really get into the music’s ethnic spirit...It’s all a boatload of fun. Played with swagger and excitement, conducted totally idiomatically, recorded well, and sold for dirt cheap.”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.