“The degree to which Mexican composer Carlos Chávez (1899-1978) integrated native and local traditions into his own works was a major theme of the Bard Music Festival, which opened last weekend at Bard College,” writes Vivien Schweitzer in Tuesday’s (8/11) New York Times. “It’s the first time the festival is highlighting the accomplishments of a Latin American composer. Mr. Chávez had a vital role in Mexico as educator, composer and conductor. He directed the Conservatorio Nacional de Música and founded the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, which established state support of the arts…. In 1928 he founded the Orquesta Sinfónica de México, which gave hundreds of premieres and offered free performances on Sundays for blue-collar workers and students…. He shunned European romanticism for an astringent, modernist aesthetic, writing colorful, densely scored works with complex rhythms, lyrical interludes, striking dissonances and vivid percussive elements.” A Saturday program at Bard featured Leon Botstein leading the American Symphony Orchestra and pianist Jorge Federico Osorio in Chávez’s Piano Concerto; among works also reviewed are Chávez’s Xochipilli: An Imagined Aztec Music, H.P. Danse des Hommes et des Machines, String Quartet No. 3, and music by and influenced by “contemporaries and predecessors” Silvestre Revueltas, Ricardo Castro, Manuel Ponce, Julián Carrillo, José Rolon, Arthur Honegger, and Manuel de Falla.
Posted August 13, 2015