FIESTA Dudamel Simón Bolívar Youth Orch.


Werke von / Works by
Bernstein · Carreño · Castellanos
Estévez · Ginastera · Márquez
Revueltas · Romero
Simón Bolívar Youth
Orchestra of Venezuela
Gustavo Dudamel
Int. Release 02 May. 2008
1 CD / Download
0289 477 7457 0
CD DDD 0289 477 7457 0 GH
Live recording · Konzertmitschnitt


Silvestre Revueltas (1899 - 1940)

Inocente Carreno (1919 - )

Antonio Estevéz (1916 - 1988)
Arturo Márquez (1950 - )

Aldemaro Romero (1928 - 2007)
Suite para cuerdas

(version for orchestra)

Alberto Ginastera (1916 - 1983)

Danzas del Ballet

Evencio Castellanos (1915 - 1984)
Leonard Bernstein (1918 - 1990)
"West Side Story" - Symphonic Dances


Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela, Gustavo Dudamel

Gesamtspielzeit: 1:15:43

. . . these guys are great . . . What makes it remarkable, apart from the wonderful performances, is that the Latin American repertoire is so unfamiliar yet so appealing . . . Audiences members seemed literally galvanized, as if electrical currents were running up their legs and spines . . . They make a huge sound, yet it is not imprecise, diffuse or unruly . . . this is the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela's fiesta, too, and we the listeners have been invited to join in. Invitation accepted! The engineering captures the live occasion brilliantly.

Dudamel paces it beautifully, slow enough for the energetic strings and forthright brass to have maximum effect as it builds up.

. . . the dynamic young Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel and exceptional Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela also catapult and caress music by compatriots Inocente Carreno, Antonio Estevez, Aldemaro Romero and Evencio Castellanos and Mexico's Silvestre Revueltas and Arturo Marquez. It's a wondrous earful. Grade: A

Here is confirmation of a pulsating talent and, perhaps, a glimpse of the future. Dudamel's charisma beats through every bar of this scintillating survey of Latin American music. His Venezuelan players . . . play as if their hearts are fit to burst with pride as well as passion. And they sound magnificent, textures sharp and clean, driven on with rhythmic momentum. It's an enormous orchestra and at full-throttle the sound they make is awe-inspiring . . . I couldn't believe what I heard -- the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra's percussion section strike up the band with the swing, push and individuality of a dozen great jazz drummers and the brass section riff like they're plugged into the Venezuelan national grid. The visceral impetus with which Dudamel plants firecrackers under his orchestra outplays anybody else -- out-Lennying Lenny even -- who has approached the piece. It's that good, completely unheralded in fact . . . their rhythmic nous and heightened melodic expressivity override the longueurs . . . inevitably it's the infectious hardcore Latin spirit that, once sampled, stays embedded in your imagination.

. . . it's a stirring collection of strong, moving works resounding to a tropical beat . . . the amazing, 27-year-old Dudamel, who catches the throb of this mighty, slashing music and passes it on to the equally extraordinary youngsters of the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra . . . has honed his youthful charges to a responsiveness, a sheen in the string tone, an ebullience in the winds and brass, that elevate the Bolivar to a level far above any youth band in recent memory . . . Inherent in the new disc, therefore, are multiple levels of pride. Consider first the triumph of the young conductor and the orchestra he has developed out of the cream of Venezuela's youthful talent. Consider then their music: the rhythms and orchestral colors of composers nurtured on these homelands, carving a musical language from beloved surroundings. Consider finally the man in charge, diminutive, dimpled, a phenomenally talented bearer of the message of rebirth for this whole business of classical music.

Selections by Alberto Ginastera, Silvestre Revueltas, Inocente Carreno and others yield combustions of raucous woodwinds and frantic percussion, rapturous swells of string sound and alarmingly thunderous brass. Dudamel's instinct for high drama, diaphanous textures and incisive details is distinctive and unmistakable . . . Dudamel is constitutionally incapable of an unexciting performance.

. . . the exuberant Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela under their equally charged young conductor brings us the brightest Latin American disc in many a year: a stunning achievement. As with the other releases in this list, the recording quality is first-class . . . well worth "wanting".

Gustavo Dudamel's disc of Central and South American goodies is party material supreme, and yet much of the music will be unfamiliar to most listeners. "Fiesta" is like discovering and then gorging yourself on a rack of super-delicious snack foods in the aisle of your local Latin American supermarket. After you've been impressed by the music, you'll be doubly impressed by the polished and incredibly exuberant playing of the Venezuelan youth orchestra.

Dudamel and his Venezuelan youth orchestra caused a stir with this program in 2007, both in New York and in Europe . . . Here, in music they must know better than most, their virtues of precision and detailed expressivity are put to perfect use . . . "Fiesta" is a joyous, fabulously recorded disc. Most of the selections are available in other performances . . . but Dudamel's versions equal if not surpass all competition, certainly in terms of excitement and clarity.

This documents the phenomenon that is the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela . . . the orchestra has memorized a good deal of this music, and it sounds it. The notes leap from the players' pores . . . Given the number of players, the tight ensemble and good intonation are impressive. Dudamel's gestures are restrained, despite the complexity and rhythmic nature of the music. His beat is clear, gestures are to the point, and his hands transmit rhythm like a conjurer . . . This music is colorful, entertaining, and played with visceral enthusiasm and skill. It's thrilling, really, and the sound is every bit as good. The notes supply some interesting observations from Dudamel . . .

"Fiesta", recorded live in Caracas, Venezuela, presents Mr. Dudamel and his players in an appealing mix of Latin American works, including a few staples of the international repertory. In well-trodden works like Revueltas¿s "Sensemayá" and Ginastera¿s "Estancia" dances, the Simón Bolívar players match all comers in finesse and power, and outdo all in sheer exuberance. Some of the less explored byways here are just as compelling, including Antonio Estevéz¿s impressionistic "Mediodía en el Llano" and Arturo Márquez¿s seductive "Danzón No. 2". The sound quality, vivid and detailed, befits the exotic, colorful contents . . . the youth orchestra plays with all the style and precision of a professional institution. And "Mambo", the closing track, remains a barnburner; just close your eyes and imagine the spinning trumpets.

Fiesta should not only be considered the Best Classical Album, but also the Album and Record of the Year. The reason is as compelling as it is exciting: No other record brings together the elements that make music so important in our lives.

A superb showcase of Latin American music . . .

"Fiesta" rockt -- obwohl es hier um lateinamerikanische Rhythmik geht. Die kurzen Werke von Revueltas, Carreño, Estévez und Ginastera haben die einstigen Problemkids wirklich im Blut. Das klappert und knallt, als ob der Küchenschrank herunterkracht. Und sogar der Gefahr der Überfütterung durch lauter Zugabenstücke ist man durch einen geschickten Mix entgangen. Der obligatorische Finalkracher der Venezolaner unter Starkstrom, Bernsteins Mambo, darf natürlich auch nicht fehlen.

Mit Beethoven und Gustav Mahler hat er sich bei der Deutschen Grammophon eingeführt -- ein spektakuläres Debüt . . . Mit dem Simón Bolívar Jugendorchester steht Gustavo Dudamel ein erstklassiges Ensemble zur Verfügung. Niemand käme auf die Idee, dass es sich um Amateure handelt -- es sei denn, man nimmt das Wort "Amateur" wörtlich: Liebhaber . . . "Fiesta" [zeigt] . . . , dass die lateinamerikanische Kunstmusik des 20. Jahrhunderts eine überraschend große Palette an Klangfarben, Stimmungen und Rhythmen zu bieten hat . . .

. . . er entführt mit kompromisslos begeistertem Elan den Zuhörer in die Welt seiner eigenen musikalischen Wurzeln . . . Die Stückauswahl ist abwechslungsreich breit gefächert . . . Die Begeisterung des jungen Dirigenten für die Schönheit und den Reichtum der Musik seines Heimatkontinents ist ansteckend. Und die jugendlichen Orchestermusiker . . . stehen ebenfalls ultimativ zu ihrer Freude an Musik. Die junge Klassikbewegung aus Süd- und Mittelamerika . . . bereichert das europäische Klassikgeschäft vor allem durch eines: ihre mitreißende und uneitel wirkende Unbefangenheit, mit der sie sich immer wieder neugierig und offen auf die Suche nach der individuellen Seele der Musik begibt.

Gustavo Dudamel wirbelt die Klassikwelt durcheinander wie kein Pult-Youngster vor ihm . . . Die drei gängigsten Werke des Programms -- Revueltas' rhythmischer Höllentrip "Sensemaya", Ginasteras "Estancia"-Tanzsuite und Bernsteins schmissiger "Mambo" -- habe ich nie besser gehört als in dieser Aufnahme. Das klingt herrlich vital und zugleich beseelt, elegant und präzise, funkensprühend und transparent . . . Eine Entdeckung ist "Danzón Nr. 2" von Arturo Márquez: das könnte in den Konzertsälen der Welt ein echter Hit werden . . . Dank Dudamel und der fantastischen venezolanischen Orchesterkultur ist "Fiesta" ein wunderbarer Einstieg in die bunte Welt der lateinamerikanischen Musik -- zumal die leuchtenden Farben der Musik in dem runden, knackigen Klangbild prima zur Geltung kommen.

Aus kurzen Sätzen lateinamerikanischer Komponisten zaubert er einen fulminant musizierten Bilderbogen. Bei Silvestre Revueltas lässt Dudamel archaische Tänze der Mayas wiederaufleben, bei Alberto Ginastera malt er grandiose Panoramen mit wogenden Weizenfeldern. Kein nettes Einschmeichel-Album, sondern eins mit vollem Risiko, wild, ekstatisch, furios.

. . . ein Fest ist es tatsächlich, wenn diese hungrigen jungen Wilden mit der rhythmusbetonten Musik ihres Kontinents den Konzertsaal in einen Hexenkessel verwandeln. Live aus Caracas. Wenn ein Orchester tanzen kann, dann dieses!

Nach einem euphorischen Beethoven und einem tapferen Mahler haben die jungen Musiker unter ihrem charismatischen Chef nun Musik ihres Kontinents live eingespielt. Ein echter Kracher! Dampfende Rhythmen, schäumende Bläser, schmachtende Streicher: Nichts klingt hier lau, alles prall von Enthusiasmus. Ein konstantes CD-Crescendo hin zum entfesselten "Mambo" von Bernstein.

Le foisonnement rythmique, les couleurs flamboyantes (jamais vulgaires), le sex-appeal de Dudamel et de son orchestre sont placé sous l'égide hautement revendiquée de la danse. La violence des affects se double toujours de nuances subtiles -- écoutez la sensibilité des phrasés du très impressionniste "Mediodia en el Llano" d'Antonio Estevez . . . le jeune prodige vénézuélien prouve à tout instant qu'il est d'abord un grand interprète . . . Dudamel est-il un chef "classique"? Accueillons ce vent de fraîcheur épicée avec délectation.

Ces jeunes musiciens ont un tempérament qui leur est propre et leur interprétation fait rebondir les rythmes avec une saveur toute particulière. C'est le cas dans les extraits du ballet "Estancia" d'Alberto Ginastera. Le côté populaire prend le pas sur le raffinement purement symphonique. D'autres pièces d'un aspect plus cinématographique . . . sont jouées avec autant de lyrisme . . . Ce disque distrayant, festif jusque dans le Mambo de "West Side Story" de Leonard Bernstein jouée à un train d'enfer ravit le public.

    Dudamel's Fiesta

    Recording a selection of Latin American pieces after a Beethoven and a Mahler disc is not as far-fetched as it may seem. Indeed, for Gustavo Dudamel the distance between Beethoven and the Venezuelan composer Carreño is only as great as a dance step. “My father played in a salsa group," he remembers, “so I started to dance when I was really small - a baby. You know, learning to dance is part of our culture - dancing is in our blood ... Latin music is all about dance, about rhythm. And we try to put this spice into all of our music. With Mahler - the second movement of the Fifth Symphony is so full of energy - or the last movement of Beethoven 7, or the first movement - there is a feeling of dance."

    It was logical, then, that Dudamel's third recording for Deutsche Grammophon would be a disc of Latin American music. “Often in a concert we will play a Beethoven or Mahler symphony, but in the first half we might perform Castellano and Ginastera. To us, there is a close connection, because music is first of all energy and movement. Mahler and Beethoven are important, but it's also important to have the opportunity to present our own music. For this recording we decided to choose small pieces by different composers, to show the beauty of Latin American music. We created a little mosaic of the best. It's like a party, a fiesta."

    Dudamel's selection includes four Venezuelan composers, two Mexicans and an Argentine. Leonard Bernstein's spirited Mambo, a nod to Latin exuberance from the North, which the Venezuelans have made their own, rounds off the collection.

    It was with Aldemaro Romero's Fuga con Pajarillo (1990) that the 23-year-old Dudamel sealed his fate as winner of Bamberg's inaugural Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition in 2004. “His joyful identification with the piece elicited some of the orchestra's best playing of the weekend", commented Andante observer Eric Valliere. “You had to bring a piece from your own country", says Dudamel. “This one is wonderful: difficult to put together, but beautiful. I met Maestro Romero five years ago at a party, and when I decided to play his music, he was very happy. “A pajarillo is a typical Venezuelan dance - perhaps the most famous one, alongside the joropo. It's like a waltz, but with the accent on the weak beat - not 'one two three, one two three,' but 'one two three, one two three'. It's not a comfortable dance!" Romero is best known as the creator of Venezuela's “New Wave" (Onda Nueva) school of music, derived from the Brazilian bossa nova and the Venezuelan joropo, and for his skill at combining folkloric forms, popular song and traditional symphonic techniques.

    “The piece is a pajarillo, but in combination with a complex fugue", Dudamel explains. “The pajarillo pervading the melody and the rhythm gives a sense of improvisation and contrasts with the predetermined fugal form. This is what makes this piece so fascinating."

    Folk dances are similarly important for Inocente Carreño. His Margariteña (1954) is one of his most direct settings of traditional Venezuelan melodies in an output, which tends towards a more European approach. Its title is drawn both from the popular song “Margarita es una lágrima" (“Margarita is a tear") and the rhapsodic Venezuelan Margariteña form. “Carreño was a horn player, which you can feel in all the horn solos of Margariteña", says Dudamel. “He is also a conductor, and I have conducted for him and with him. You can feel the beach in this piece. You can feel the air and smell the water. It's full of life, but also nostalgic - one of the songs he uses is a children's song, a tune we sing when we play games."

    Like Carreño, Evencio Castellanos was a pupil of Venezuelan musicologist, pedagogue and composer Vicente Emilio Sojo (1887-1974), who collected and documented Venezuelan folk music, wove its influence through his many major works of church music, and founded the Venezuelan Symphony Orchestra in 1930. Castellanos' Santa Cruz de Pacairigua (“Holy Cross of Pacairigua") from 1954 is named after a small church near Caracas, which owes its fame to the raucous festivities at its annual Feast of the Cross. “It's a day of religious parties, where the Devil fights to gain possession of the Cross and has to be stopped", Dudamel says. “In Castellanos' piece you can hear both the genteel celebrations of the rich and the rustic parties of the poor, leading up to a climax of drinking, dancing and people enjoying themselves ... For this recording, we had the amazing opportunity of having Castellanos' son, who is also a conductor, playing the celesta in the orchestra. He brought his father's manuscripts of the piece to the rehearsals."

    More elegiac in tone is Antonio Estévez's Mediodía en el Llano (“Noon on the Plain"), a symphonic evocation of Los Llanos, the broad, flat grasslands of Venezuela's high steppes. The plains were inviting to vast herds of cattle brought in during the colonial era by the llaneros, Venezuela's answer to the American cowboy. Estévez composed the piece as the middle movement of his 1948 Suite Llanera, but later jettisoned the outer movements, saying of the Mediodía, “Even though this seems to me the suite's most arid part, it is also the most Venezuelan." “This is one of Estévez's early pieces", Dudamel explains. “It's very impressionistic, influenced by Debussy, slow, with beautiful melodies inside different colours. The composer came from Los Llanos, and the piece pays homage to that place."

    Venezuela's Latin music culture being also strongly influenced by those of neighbouring countries, it was natural that Dudamel's selection would include works from further afield. Arturo Márquez's Danzón no. 2 (1994) is so popular that it has been dubbed Mexico's “second national anthem". Márquez based his Danzones on the music of Cuba and the Veracruz region of Mexico. “Young people here dream of playing the Danzón; they love it", says Dudamel. “He is a young composer, and the piece is a typical Latin American dance of our time."

    A dance of a more archaic nature is the Sensemayá (1938) of Mexican composer Silvestre Revueltas. Based on Afro-Cuban poet Nicolás Guillén's poem Chant to Kill a Snake, the piece is rooted in primitivism. “It is a kind of Latin Rite of Spring, full of the mythological dances of the Mayas and the Aztecs", Dudamel says.

    Argentine composer Alberto Ginastera's Estancia suite (1941) is also a choreographic legend, in his case based on the ancient myths of the Guaraní Indians, narrating the lives of gauchos and farm hands in the Pampas with folkloric and Creole elements. “It's one of his most famous pieces, and also typical for our orchestra", Dudamel says.

    “This music is our identity. Venezuela has a great many orchestras of a high standard. They have something which is very important, which in our world we are losing, and which you can hear when the Simón Bolívar Orchestra plays: the love of music. They love to play. Music changed our lives - music is our life. We give our all with every performance. And all that can be heard in this recording."

    Shirley Apthorp