- Colorines, for chamber orchestra - Silvestre Revueltas - English Chamber Orchestra - Gisele Ben-Dor
- Itinerarios, for orchestra - Silvestre Revueltas - Gisele Ben-Dor - Santa Barbara Symphony Orchestra
- La Coronela, ballet for orchestra (completed by Hernández Moncada) - Silvestre Revueltas - Gisele Ben-Dor - Santa Barbara Symphony Orchestra
Revueltas: La Coronelaby Santa Barbara Symphony Orchestra
The ballet "La Coronela" (The Lady Colonel) has one of the most frustrating rites of passage for any 20th century work; its progress interrupted by the death of its composer, the work was completed by other hands in time for its premiere on November 23, 1940, in Mexico City. Then that version was lost, and another was raised in the 1950s by José Limantour and Eduardo Hernández Moncada, which pulled in some material from other Revueltas scores to cover for music that could not be retrieved at all. A third version was created by Enrique Arturo Diemecke in the 1990s and this was recorded by him for the Mexican Spartacus label in 2000. This recording by Uruguayan conductor Gisèle Ben-Dor leading the Santa Barbara Symphony was made in 1998 and originally appeared on the Koch label; it makes use of the earlier, Limantour/Hernández Moncada score. As Gisèle Ben-Dor's other recordings, the performance is marvelously exciting, retaining a little roughness that is in keeping with Revueltas' own idiom. The ballet is filled out with a hair-raising account of a lesser-known Revueltas piece, "Itinerarios" (1938), which mixes heroic gestures with immeasurably sad ones and may be a personal reflection of the defeat of the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War. Ben-Dor's recording of "Colorines" (1932) is still the only one of this relatively early work in which Stravinskïan neo-classic gestures collides with Revueltas' typically noisy brand of nationalism. Those who follow Revueltas closely who may have missed the first issue of this disc on Koch will not want to do so again now that it has a second lease on life; in regard to his lesser-known works, it is essential and includes very strong performances of all three pieces.
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Performance CreditsSanta Barbara Symphony Orchestra Primary Artist
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Silvestre Revueltas left the ballet La Coronela unfinished when he died in 1940. There's a complicated story about how the version recorded here was reconstructed, explained in the valuable liner notes by Ken Smith and the conductor Gisele Ben-Dor. But it's clear that the final results are worth any amount of trouble. La Coronela is billed as a World Premiere Recording, and it is, though this CD is actually a re-release of a recording made in 1998 for Koch International Classics. I missed the disc then, but am so pleased to have picked it up on the rebound on the more accessible Naxos label. I know Gisele Ben-Dor and the Santa Barbara Symphony from their superb 2000 Koch disc of Villa-Lobos's Symphony #10, a revelation at the time. This music is just as dramatic, and this performance just as convincing. The programme of Revueltas's ballet provides a powerful forward movement to the music. After a witty and scornful portrayal of Los Privilegiados in the first section, Revueltas paints a pitiful picture of Los Desheredados (The Disinherited). He then shows a relentless disintegration of the former social order in the third part, Don Ferruco's Nightmare. The battle of the revolution ushers in The Last Judgement, whose middle piece (The Fallen) is too sad and wistful to make the final piece (The Liberated) any kind of positive apotheosis. Revueltas's musical portrait of the revolution shows more pessimistic rage than any feeling of the inevitability of victory. It's a sad, but still a musically satisfying, ending for a great composer's much too short life. Two additional symphonic works round out the CD: the solemn Itinerarios from 1938 comes from the same California session as La Coronela. The 1932 Colorines, a fine piece with complex rhythms, is very well played by the English Chamber Orchestra, under Ben-Dor's capable direction.