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US premieres by Mexican composers

Conductor Alondra de la Parra and her orchestra, Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas, has a concert coming up at Alice Tully on May 11 that includes three US premieres of works by Mexican composers Gustavo Campa, Ricardo Castro, and Candelario Huízar.

Alondra personally researched these pieces over a period of 2 years – in some cases traveling to Mexico to meet the composers or their families and get the scores. All of the pieces on the concert will be included on POA’s 2-CD set that Sony Classical is releasing in August 2010, entitled Mi Alma Mexicana, which features rediscovered works by Mexican composers written during the last 200 years that are seldom heard in the concert hall.

The program includes the US premieres of Gustavo Campa’s Melodía with solo violinist Daniel Andai, Ricardo Castro’s Intermezzo de Atzimba, and Candelario Huízar’s Imágenes; as well as performances of Carlos Chávez’s Caballos del Vapor; Federico Ibarra’s Sinfonía No. 2; and Manuel M. Ponce’s Concierto del Sur with solo guitarist Pablo Sáinz Villegas.

The concert and CD celebrate Mexico’s Bicentennial, and are part of a larger project Alondra envisions where she will similarly research the music of different countries.

[update: the May 11 show is sold out, but they have added a second concert on Friday, May 21 at Alice Tully at 8pm]

Comments

Comment from Steve Layton
Time: May 10, 2010, 4:06 pm

I don’t know… I’m all for championing neglected work that she finds exciting, but I can’t help thinking that if this were a conductor doing the same type of American composers concert, it would consist of Charles Martin Loeffler, John Alden Carpenter, Arthur Farwell, Howard Hanson and Ferde Grofe.

Aside from Federico Ibarra, this is very nice bunch of very dead guys. There are plenty more amazingly good LIVING Mexican composers that should be on this bill.

Comment from john mclaughlin williams
Time: May 10, 2010, 6:16 pm

“…but I can’t help thinking that if this were a conductor doing the same type of American composers concert, it would consist of Charles Martin Loeffler, John Alden Carpenter, Arthur Farwell, Howard Hanson and Ferde Grofe.”

And what’s wrong with that? Simply because they are dead it doesn’t mean that these composers (particularly Carpenter) have truly gotten their just due. We must work for them as well as the living. Consider it post-mortem social justice.

Comment from James Holt
Time: May 10, 2010, 6:58 pm

Thanks for keeping us honest, Steve. I should have mentioned that Carlos Chavez died in ’78, that Candelario Huizar died in ’70, that Manuel Ponce died in ’48, that Gustavo Campa died in ’24, that Ricardo Castro died in ’07 (1907!).

Let’s hope that the next phase of Alondra’s project includes a younger generation of living Mexican composers to balance everything out.

Comment from zeno
Time: May 11, 2010, 12:28 pm

John, last week on WETA-FM, in Washington, there was a delayed broadcast compilation at 9 PM of the National Symphony Orchestra performing Barber’s Medea’s Dance of Vengence, John Williams Violin Concerto, Copland’s Appalachian Spring, Schuman’s Prayer in Time of War, and John Adams’s Harmonielehre. They were apparently trying to please both you, and Steve and James, by balancing the living and the dead.

Recorded classical music lives in America! (Of course such a broadcast occurs just once a year.)

Comment from Christina Jensen
Time: May 12, 2010, 2:11 pm

I just want to point out that Alondra de la Parra’s orchestra, the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas, does have a commitment to programming music by living composers, and since its inception in 2004 has already performed more than 10 world premieres by living composers of the Americas.

This particular program (and the forthcoming Sony CD) features a variety of orchestral music by Mexican composers from the last 200 years in celebration of the Mexican Bicentennial (hence the 200-year timeline). So, there are bound to be some composers from that timeframe who are no longer with us!

Part of intrigue of the program is that is has taken so long for these works to be performed outside of Mexico. The fact that the US premieres of three of these pieces are taking place after the composers have died should say something.

(Full disclosure – I am the orchestra’s publicist.)

Comment from Alondra de la Parra
Time: May 14, 2010, 12:12 pm

Hello Everyone!
Just to clarify that this concert showcases the first of the two CDs we recorded, the earlier composers of the research I did, the second CD has works by all living composers: Chapela, Capella, Ibarra, Marquez, Toussaint, Lavista, for example!
Soon we will have concerts with those works as well, as we have been doing for the last 5 years. New music is what we do!
Best to all,
Alondra

Comment from Alondra de la Parra
Time: May 14, 2010, 12:16 pm

Come check our second performance on May 21st and tell me what you think of these pieces!

Comment from Oscar
Time: May 14, 2010, 7:25 pm

Might I also suggest works by Gabriela Ortiz and Ana Lara too!

-Oscar

Comment from Philip Jongeneel
Time: May 18, 2010, 3:19 pm

There has been a lively discussion going on in the Amazon Classical Music Forum about Mexican and Latin American composers. I had pointed out the dearth of recordings of many of Mexican composers, both living and dead. As an example, some forum members were unable to find CDs of the symphonies of Candelario Huizar. I also would like to see more contemporary Mexican music recorded. Mexico has produced a good number of composers actively producing interesting and exciting new works.
I believe the POA may be our best hope in the future of having new recordings made of many truly valuable Mexican masterpieces, as it seems orchestras in Mexico have abdicated this responsibility.
Bravo Alondra.