Review: LA Phil’s “Rite of Spring,” paired with Ginastera’s “Estancia” and Alex Nante’s “El Rio de Luz”

Posted on: May 11, 2022

After the 1913 world premiere of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, “rhythm and meter took on new consequence in European music that went on to revolutionize music of all sorts just about everywhere, Latin America very much included,” writes Mark Swed in Tuesday’s (5/10) Los Angeles Times. “That is the point of Gustavo Dudamel’s two-week Stravinsky ballet cycle, in which he is pairing the composer’s great Ballets Russes scores—‘Firebird’ and ‘Petrushka’ along with ‘The Rite’—with a classic Latin American ballet or film scores. The cycle also includes new pieces from Latin American composers written for the occasion…. Dudamel graphically unleashes uncontrollable disastrous forces in us and then demonstrates the musical mastery needed to control those superhuman and dehumanizing forces…. On Thursday, Dudamel presented the full ballet score [of Alberto Ginastera’s Estancia]…. Dudamel found an expansiveness that went beyond dance rhythms, exciting though they were…. The new piece, Alex Nante’s ‘El Rio de Luz’ (The River of Light), which opened the program, is a modest six-minute sweep of cloudy orchestral color that ends with a swift bang. Rhythm and meter for this young Argentine composer can, with pleasure, wait.”