One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Senior Editor: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

in the first division

extraordinary by any standards

An excellent disc

a new benchmark

summation of a lifetime’s experience.

Piano Concertos 1 and 2
Surprise Best Seller and now

A Garland for John McCabe


DIETHELM Symphonies

The best Rite of Spring in Years

BACH Magnificat

Brian Symphs 8, 21, 26

Just enjoy it!

La Mer Ticciati







Plain text for smartphones & printers

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Support us financially by purchasing this disc from
Latin American Classics
José Pablo MONCAYO (1912-1958)
Huapango (1941) [8:11]
Arturo MÁRQUEZ (b.1950)
Danzón no.2 (1992) [9:26]
Aldemaro ROMERO (1928-2007)
Tocatta Bachiana y Pajarillo Aldemaroso [9:21]
Silvestre REVUELTAS (1899-1940)
Janitzio (1933) [7:32]
Alberto GINASTERA (1916-1983)
Estancia, op.8 - Suite (1941) [11:38]
Yuri HUNG (b.1968)
Kanaima [4:47]
Oscar Lorenzo FERNÁNDEZ (1897-1948)
Batuque (from: Malzarte Suite) (1941) [4:09]
Orquesta Sinfónica de Venezuela/Theodore Kuchar
rec. July 2011. No venue given.

Those swept up by the tsunami-like marketing of Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela - particularly their big-selling 'Fiesta!' album (Deutsche Grammophon 4777457) - will thrill at this journey through 'Latin American Classics'. Not simply because the programme is similar - the works by Márquez and Ginastera indeed appearing on both discs - but perhaps also unwittingly, inasmuch as the Venezuelan Symphony Orchestra, with its long and rather illustrious history, is actually a more stylish outfit than the now-subsumed SBYOV. Conductor Theodore Kuchar too, though clearly not as charismatic as Dudamel, has two decades' more conducting experience. This he brings to bear here to produce a disciplined yet blistering reading of these kaleidoscopically memorable works.
Moncayo's Huapango and Márquez's Danzón no.2 excepted, these may not quite be the Latin American classics promised by the album cover: no string quartets by Villa-Lobos, concertos by Guarnieri, guitar works by Ponce or songs by Guastavino on the recording, for example. The programme also avoids the 'Aztecan' darker tones of works like Revueltas's Cuauhnácuac or Villa-Lobos's Uirapurú - this latter recently recorded, incidentally, by the newly-minted Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra under Eduardo Mata alongside Ginastera's Estancia suite and Chávez's terrific Horse Power Suite on an excellent Dorian disc (DOR90211). Yet these items are no mere Mexican Hat Dances or musical Cucurachas. On the contrary, they offer not only an entertaining riot of Central and South American rhythms and colours from start to finish, but are expertly and imaginatively orchestrated, well structured works that would slot in nicely alongside any more 'serious' repertoire on a concert programme.
Thanks to Dudamel and the SBYOV, Márquez's Danzón no.2 has become quite well known in recent years, and deservedly so - though very audience-friendly, it is much more sophisticated than its title suggests. The OSV under Kuchar have this music in their blood every bit as much as the SBYOV, but where the latter sometimes threaten to slip into the mannerisms of vernacular music, the OSV keep it clean, allowing listeners to marvel at Márquez's almost genius-level appropriation of traditional idioms for the cause of art music. Unfortunately, the composers other similar-sounding Danzones have been unjustly neglected because of it, the odd recording here and there apart. No one wishing to delve a bit further into Latin-American music will be disappointed by them - far from it. Alternatively, any works by Revueltas, Ginastera or Moncayo - who deserves to be known as much more than the composer of Huapango - would make an excellent starting place for an unforgettable journey.
Meanwhile, for the price of no more than a couple of gallons of kerosene, the cosmopolitan traveller can enjoy this terrific programme of high-octane, frequently spectacular nationalism. Sound quality is very good to boot, and the slim-but-informative booklet offers some timely pre-departure background.  

Contact at

Previous review: Brian Reinhart