MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2023
Approaching 60,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

To gain a 10% discount, use the link below & the code MusicWeb10

Julián CARRILLO (1875–1965)
Orchestral Works
Primera Sinfonia en Re Mayor (D major) (1901) [32:57]
Tema con Variaciones para Orquesta, Op. 2 (1899) [14:04]
Primera Suite para Orquesta, Op. 1 (1896-99) [15:33]
Orquesta Sinfónica de San Luis Potosi/José Miramontes Zapata
rec. Teatro de la Paz, San Luis Potosi, Mexico, 29, 31 Jan 2015
STERLING CDS1107-2 [62:48]

Carrillo, in his maturity, was a sound pioneer and experimentalist but there's none of that here. These three works from his twenties show him in almost complete and masterly subjugation to German late-romanticism with only the occasional flicker of Mexican 'local colour'. For comparison think in terms of pre-Great War Frank Bridge and 1940s Elliott Carter, both composers who made a break with their early styles.

This Mexican composer was, in later life - from the 1920s onwards - recognised as one whose interests centred on the mathematical aspects of music structure. He sought "ideological unity and tonal diversity". While in New York during the Great War he wrote an essay on what he termed the "Thirteenth Sound Theory" a concept which we are told was to grip his music and reputation. His music studies began in earnest in the mid-1880s in San Luis Potosí, the city which is the home of the orchestra that made this recording. The studies continued in Mexico City where he caught the attention of Porfirio Díaz, President of Mexico. Díaz became his benefactor and supported him in many ways including funding his studies in Leipzig with Jadassohn. The symphony heard here bears a dedication to Díaz. The three works here date from the early German period. There's nothing here that feels ground-breaking. On the other hand the music proclaims confidence if not dazzling reserves of invention.

In 1916 Carrillo composed music for the D.W. Griffith film, Intolerance. In Mexico he accrued a long list of students but political turbulence caused him to take refuge in the USA. There the American Symphony Orchestra gave his First Symphony in New York. Returning to Mexico in 1918 he headed the National Symphony Orchestra where he introduced the country to many scores from the now standard repertoire as well as various works by Mexican composers including Manuel Ponce. As a composer he was by now experimenting with microtonal works including the Stokowski-commissioned Concertino. In the 1950s Stokowski performed Horizontes: Poema sinfónico, a Symphonic Poem for violin, cello and harp in quarter- eighth- and sixteenth-tones. During the 1960s there were two violin concertos in quarter-tones. The indispensable booklet, packed with background in Spanish and English includes a 1958 photo in which Carrillo is pictured with Alois Hába.

This is not the First Symphony's premiere recording: in fact the composer recorded it with the Lamoureux Orchestra for Philips. This four-movement work opens and closes in sturdily imposing tones. The first movement Largo has the occasional speckle of Latin-American flavouring. There's a nicely tempered serene Andante followed by a delicately skipping Scherzo which is not short on Brahmsian charm. This is a deliberately momentous score in a style that variously recalls the symphonies of Stanford, Cliffe, Huber, Rubinstein and Børresen. As for the good-humoured Tema con Variaciones - sensibly one track per variation - it stays on the same course with a flighty Allegretto and a Carmen-indebted Andantino. Carrillo plies a nice line in Polish dignity in the final Tempo di Polonesa. The Suite is a more frothy confection reminiscent of Massenet and the light music of John Foulds. Listen to the stagy grandiloquence of the last movement and the flitter, flutter and flounce of the 'Palm Court' Valse with its slight Latino accent. The sound is very respectable. The spirit brought to this music is full of life and dignity and while the strings might have sounded a shade more lush this feels like a good representation of music otherwise pretty much unknown.

Sterling have previously collaborated with the San Luis Potosi orchestra and José Miramontes Zapata over several characteristic recordings projects: Ricardo Castro, Manuel Ponce and Woldemar Bargiel. This Carrillo volume with its nineteenth century modes and manners fits very nicely into this Swedish label's 'Mexican Romantics' series.

Thanks to Sterling and their Mexican allies for documenting Carillo's earlier years. It's prime territory for this label. The way is now open to introducing some of the no doubt very different music of the period from the 1920s onwards. That honour will surely fall to another label.

Rob Barnett



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing