"Conga began in my imagination as the visual image of an endless line of dead people dancing through the fires of hell. I gradually started hearing the music, and Dante's Paolo and Francesca da Rimini story soon became part of the scene."
A feast of hemiola rhythms found in the son jarocho of Veracruz, Mexico. The motivic material is based on three son melodies, brilliantly scored. It is frequently performed with Moncayo's Huapango and Marquez's Danzón No. 2.
"Angels begins with the ancient Earth opening its mouth and intoning a primal, indescribable "Aaaaaaaaaaaah." The sound comes from the depth of the orchestra, like a prelude to an Inca Das Rheingold ." --Mark Swed, The Los Angeles Times
A clepsydra is a water clock, one of the oldest time-measuring instruments. Of this beautiful, meditative work commissioned on the 300th anniversary of the discovery of the San Antonio River, Lavista writes: "I like to think that the river and music are both images of the rhythm of time."
Memories of a childhood in Cuba -- opening and closing with a depiction in the piccolo of the composer's father whistling on his return home in the piccolo -- are refracted through the families of the orchestra, coalescing into a dance in the second half.
Inspired by the Cuban danzón, Danzón no. 2 has become the most frequently performed Mexican work after Moncayo's Huapango. Paisajes shares this elegance, though in the darker hues of a memorial. In contrast, Conga del Fuego Nuevo is lighthearted, particularly in this spirited performance by the Simon Bolivar Youth Symphony conducted by Gustavo Dudamel.
Cinco canciones negras, popularized by the likes of Victoria de los Angeles, Montserrat Caballe and Federica von Stade, clothes the sensuous and sometimes political poems of the West Indies in masterful great Cuban poet Nicolas Guillen.
Cinco canciones negras for soprano and orchestra (12:00)
The two full orchestra works here are concert suites derived from film scores. La Noche de los Mayas has become a popular concert-closer in recent years. Homenaje, one of Revueltas's greatest works, was written after the composer's stint in Spain, where he supported the Republican side against Franco in the Spanish Civil War.
La Noche de los Mayas for orchestra (36:00) Suite in four movements arranged by Jose Ives Limantour