Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

WORKS: Works by Revueltas, Carreño, Estévez, Márquez, Romero, Ginastera, Castellanos & Bernstein
PERFORMER: Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela/Gustavo Dudamel
CATALOGUE NO: 477 7457


One happy consequence of the Bolívar Orchestra’s ascendancy is that Latin American repertoire previously known to connoisseurs has gained circulation. Chunks of last year’s BBC Prom programme feature alongside plenty else in the orchestra’s third international release, recorded live at its Caracas home base. The title may have been unavoidable, but it’s inaccurate: much of the music is either pastoral or altogether darker. The latter holds particularly for the one widely acknowledged masterpiece, Sensemayá by Silvestre Revueltas, which emulates The Rite of Spring in its sound but has its own Mexican character. Dudamel paces it beautifully, slow enough for the energetic strings and forthright brass to have maximum effect as it builds up. Several Venezuelans figure. Evancio Castellanos’s mostly up-tempo, cinematically cross-cut sequence of parties, Santa Cruz de Pacairigua, is offset by Antonio Estévez’s meditation on broad vistas and quiet ennui, Mediodía en el Llano. Inocente Carreno’s Margariteña is an overwrought fantasy on a fetching melody, working its first phrase as obsessively as Vincent d’Indy. From elsewhere, Arturo Márquez’s Danzón No. 2 and Alberto Ginastera’s Estancia provide showstoppers. Woodwind are sometimes overwhelmed by the other sections; energy and lyricism are harnessed to astute pacing, although the orchestra’s famous over-the-top version of Leonard Bernstein’s ‘Mambo’ goes too fast for precision. Robert Maycock