Revueltas: Sensemayá; Ocho por radio; La noche de los mayas Suite; Homenaje a Federico García Lorca; Ventanas

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Revueltas
LABELS: Sony
WORKS: Sensemayá; Ocho por radio; La noche de los mayas Suite; Homenaje a Federico García Lorca; Ventanas
PERFORMER: Los Angeles PO & New Music Group/Esa-Pekka Salonen
CATALOGUE NO: SK 60676
The music of Silvestre Revueltas – born on New Year’s Eve 1899, dead at 40 of alcoholism and pneumonia – may finally be coming into its own in his centenary year. This disc, the first of his music by a major international orchestra, presents an impressive picture of a composer who, for all his colourful use of the rhythms and percussion instruments of his native Mexico, was far more than a folklorist. In the relatively familiar Sensemayá, Salonen’s tempo is significantly slower than the norm, creating a hypnotic effect appropriate to this ‘song to kill a snake’. Broad tempi also enhance the tenderness of the third movement of the suite from the film The Night of the Mayas, and the tension of the final sacrificial dance; but the scherzo second movement is dazzlingly light on its feet (as it was as an encore at a televised Prom by these performers last summer). Salonen and his players also make a strong case for the early Ventanas (Windows); but brilliance comes uncomfortably close to slickness in Ocho por radio, a witty deconstruction of the clichés of the mariachi band, and in the teeming tribute to the Spanish poet Lorca. With good sound, though, this is a highly recommendable introduction to a composer of fascinating and powerful originality. Anthony Burton

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