This week's music-we've-been-missing installment continues in an instrumental vein and looks at an area every North American orchestra ought to be exploring a lot more often -- Latin American repertoire.
The Baltimore Symphony, to pick the most obvious local example, needs to spread its wings much wider to embrace music from other parts of the hemisphere, digging into the sonic riches from Mexico, Venezuela and Brazil and more. This should be an easy stretch, technically and stylistically, and it sure would liven things up a great deal.
Where to start beefing up Latin music programming? An obvious candidate would be Heitor Villa-Lobos. Some items from his Bachianas brasileiras series turn up around here every now and then, but several more need attention. Then there is his Choro series, not to mention his symphonies and concertos. Alberto Ginastera deserves more recognition. A lesser known figure well worth checking out is Evencio Castellanos, whose Santa Cruz de Pacairigua is a strikingly colorful creation. But I think I'd begin a Latin exploration with ...
Carlos Chavez. His concertos would be cool, if you could find any soloists who know them. Otherwise, you can't go wrong with the Sinfonia india (Symphony No. 2), a great introduction to this much overlooked, but highly significant, composer. Here's a taste, with the Berlin Philharmonic led by Gustavo Dudamel:
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