Various Artists, Latin American Classics

Brian Wise

By Brian Wise

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
Standards from Latin America performed by the Festival Orchestra of Mexico.

The Latin-American orchestral literature is rich in pictorial pieces that portray a rural locale or people in everyday settings. A prime example is Jose Pablo Moncayo's “Huapango,” a colorful orchestral fantasy based on folk tunes that he transcribed in the Mexican state of Veracruz. Similarly, the Argentinean gaucho, or cowboy, is depicted in the vibrant, Copland-esque strains of Alberto Ginastera's “Malambo.” Manuel Ponce's 1912 “Estrelita” (Little Star) was once the most popular song in Latin America and is featured here in its orchestral arrangement. The collection also contains the charming “Sobre los olas” (On the Waves), by the Mexican waltz king Juventino Rosas. The piece is so well crafted that it has often been thought to be Viennese, and mistakenly credited to Johann Strauss II. The Festival Orchestra of Mexico delivers spirited performances tinted by some very punchy, Mexican brass.