This cd pretty much has all of Revueltas' major works including his most known one: Sensemaya. That piece has been conducted by Bernstein and Stowkowski with the latter being on this disc. There is two performances of Sensemaya which includes the one mentioned above and a new version.
The best piece I believe is Janitzio. If you are Mexican you will be reminded of Mexican big bands because Revueltas incorporated the sound into this piece as well as imitations of a Mariachi band. It is a very abstract piece but very remenicent of Mexico. Excellent cd as a whole.The cd includes a booklet with information on Revueltas and the pieces on this cd.
This current CD is part of the Centennial celebration of Revueltas. It consists of a compilation of orchestral recordings by Eduardo Mata, chamber recordings by David Aetherton and the Jalapa Orquestra Sinfonica under Herrara de la Fuente. The results are quite stunning, with enough material to keep you listening for quite some time!
The first CD contains exclusively orchestral music under the baton of Maestro Mata. This is prime stuff indeed. The CD begins with Revueltas' most renowned piece, Sensemaya, a dense, barbaric orchestral fantasy inspired by a Cuban poem that details a traditional snake-killing ceremony in the Santeria religion. The piece is dominated by short pithy melodic statements which are gradually layered over each other to create greater and greater tension. The result is deeply compelling, Stravinsky's Rite is combined with Varese's Arcana...with native Mexican rhythms and instruments thrown in.
The other works on the album are also extremely compelling. They can be broken down into abstract orchestral works, chamber pieces and music for film. In addition, Revueltas shows two definate sides, one is the convinced modernist, who shows a lot in common with Varese, and even Scriabin. The best work in this vein is the Danza geometrica (and it's chamber version Planos). The other big vein is the "nationalistic" vein, of which Revueltas was a greater exponent than his compatriot Chavez. Many works on this CD, Itinerios, Homage to Garcia Lorca, and others display a sense of wild abandon present in traditional fiestas. And yet, even here, Revueltas is a formalist and modernist, treating his material less as color and more as another structural element.
The other really wonderful work on this disc is La Noche de los Mayas. Culled from a film score, this is beautifully written film music and quite ahead of it's time. It's not hard to imagine these Revueltas strains as an inspiration to Bernard Herrmann, Elmer Bernstein and the like. The work is structured as a large symphony, dominated by a broad, tonal but dissonant theme in the brass. There is a wealth of detail in this work that I come back to over and over.
Much of this material has very little competition. The chamber works have been basically neglected on CD and many of the orchestral works are only available on this disc. Sensemaya has significant competition however. Salonen has done a really wonderful disc of this material, which also includes a great reading of Noche. Bernstein has perhaps the best reading of Sensemaya available on his Latin American Fiesta album (which also includes a wonderful rendition of Chavez' Sinfonia India)But Mata's reading is nearly as good as Bernstein and just as good as Salonen. Overall, for breadth and depth of music covered, this is a superlative disc and the one to get.