Mexican composer Silvestre Revueltas (1899-1940): Ripe for rediscovery

Posted on: September 12, 2017

“The life of Silvestre Revueltas was short, anything but happy, and remarkable for the intensity with which it was lived,” writes Sudip Bose in Thursday’s (9/7) American Scholar. “With the exception of Carlos Chávez, Revueltas was the most important Mexican composer of the 20th century, the creator of red-blooded, pictorial, hyper-rhythmic music, much of it written to accompany films…. His music may call to mind Stravinsky at certain times, Mahler at others, as well as Bartók and Edgard Varèse, yet pulsing through its pages are the soulful sounds of the bands playing across the Mexican countryside…. [A] late masterpiece [is] the tone poem Sensemayá…. Sensemayá could be a musical cousin of Stravinsky’s great sacrificial dance [The Rite of Spring]. In 1947, Leopold Stokowski recorded the piece…. This was, alas, seven years after the composer had died at the age of 40….  Erich Kleiber, Leonard Bernstein, Eduardo Mata, and other conductors have all promoted Revueltas’s music over the years…. Gustavo Dudamel has taken up the cause with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. If we are in the midst of a Revueltas revival, so much the better: music this poetic, this visceral, this memorable cannot have too many evangelists.”

Posted September 12, 2017