Aureole etc.




Nimbus on-line




If it’s the Czech works you’re after, do not hesitate

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider

 


Enjoy the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra wherever you are. App available for iOS and Android


Tudor 7188


Vaughan Williams Symphony 3 etc.


Lyrita New Recording


Lyrita Premiere Recordings

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage


Decca Phase 4 - 40CDs


Judith Bailey, George Lloyd


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

 

 

 

REVIEW



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 

alternatively
CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS
Sound Samples & Downloads

Evencio CASTELLANOS (1915-1984)
Santa Cruz de Pacairigua (1954) [17.02]
El Río de las Siete Estrellas (1946) [14.55]
Suite Avileña (1947) [24.26]
Orquesta Sinfónica de Venezuela/Jan Wagner
rec. Salón Italia, Centro Italiano-Venezolano, Caracas, Venezuela, 19-28 July 2010. DDD
NAXOS 8.572681 [56.23]

Experience Classicsonline


 
I’m fairly certain, that most of you, especially if you live in the UK, will struggle to name six great Venezuelan musicians let alone any significant composers. One however would have to be Evencio Castellanos who, in his dual career as church musician - he followed in his father’s footsteps as an organist at the cathedral in Caracas - and as an orchestral player, administrator and teacher is a very significant figure in Venezuelan musical development. These two paths manifested themselves in choral, sacred and organ works and in colourful orchestral ones like these recorded in the marvellously enterprising Naxos Latin American series.
 
Castellanos was a product, as it were, of the newly created Orquesta Sinfonica de Venezuela, which gave his generation of composers a chance to shine. This was mostly the result of the influence of Vicente Sojo (d.1974) who was instrumental in nurturing a nationalistic school of composers basing their work partly on popular music.
 
How many Venezuelan composers do you know? Perhaps the names of Raimundo Pereira and Antonio Lauro who is more associated with the guitar, vaguely ring some sort of a bell. Others listed in conductor Jan Wagner’s excellent booklet notes mean little or next to nothing … at least to me.
 
The main work on the disc is the Suite Avileña, which falls into five, impressionistic and evocative movements. Castellanos orchestrates very colourfully as heard right from the start in the Avileña section. Incidentally this is a coastal, mountain area between Caracas and the Caribbean shoreline. Some of the melodies are borrowed from flower vendors heard in his nearby street. The second La Ronda de Niños gives the composer a chance to incorporate some children’s songs. The third, a fascinating Nocturno, includes some still and warm harmonies in the strings against the strumming of a group of cuatros – the cuatro is a four-stringed guitar. Wonderful stuff. The next movement Amanecer de Navidad - Christmas morning. practically leads into the final Navidad. Both utilize popular local carol tunes and also, flitting across the texture, a modernised Adeste Fidelis. Maracas also appear in a couple of movements. The end of the work is a disappointment and seems a little forced, otherwise this piece proves to be a most attractive addition to the catalogue.
 
The previous year had seen the arrival of an even more nationalistic work El Río de las Siete Estrellas (The River of the Seven Stars). This has a distinct plot line being based on a poem, which had just emerged, by A.E. Blanco. It sets out a fabled account “of pre-Colonial Venezuelan history leading up to its independence”. The story-line is weirdly complicated. Musically it might seem little episodic were it not for its gradual sense of growth. There’s a beautifully orchestrated impressionistic start rising to the appearance of the Venezuelan National Anthem at its climax, thus indicating “the final liberation from the Spanish Conquest”. The piece, which includes a vivid and militaristic battle scene, will never carry beyond its own borders but is worth hearing occasionally. I should add that the Venezuelan orchestra play with verve, enthusiasm and obvious understanding. There is no question of anything other than an ideal rendition of such an otherwise un-heard score.
 
It’s interesting that these two works were both written when the composer was in his early thirties. In other words these are early(ish) works. However, by 1954 we find a composer fully attuned to his fate and style. You can hear this in the work which opens the CD, Santa Cruz de Pacairigua. Here one encounters the language of Villa-Lobos, especially in the fantasy-like formal designs of the Chõros. Castellanos also touches on the powerfully rhythmic world of the Mexican Silvestre Revueltas, with its fantastic syncopations. These figures have been assimilated into a more local voice. This is the composer’s most performed work and one can see why. It is exuberant and brash but also has several contrasting romantic melodies. A popular melody of the time is hinted at, as is a Venezuelan waltz tune and the medieval Lauda Sion plainchant melody towards the end. Why? Because the piece “pays homage to the construction of a church in Guatire near Caracas where Vicente Sojo was born”.
 
The recording is close and vivid and all of the subtle orchestral moments are also clearly audible.
 
I am hoping that Naxos will pursue a follow-up disc of Castellanos’ later works or some of his choral pieces. It’s a pity that Naxos doesn’t offer a slightly longer playing time but meanwhile buy this anyway and have some fun.

Gary Higginson
 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools






Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.