My latest CD mini-review for the WRTI E-newsletter. You can read all my CD reviews here.

Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela, Gustavo Dudamel
Deutsche Grammophon 477 7457

DudamelFiestaWe may be drawn to Fiesta because Gustavo Dudamel is one hot commodity—hotter than any classical musician right now. And while that’s not a particularly bad reason, I’d like to suggest listening because it’s a sizzling introduction to the world of Latin American classical music. Mexico shows up in Sensemaya, a primal chant by Silvestre Revueltas. Okay, it’s a chant to kill a snake by, but I did say primal. Then there’s the breathtaking Estancia by the Argentine Alberto Ginastera, who always should be heard more. The Venezuelan Dudamel includes attractive and striking works by four of his countrymen, and another Mexican work, the Danzón No. 2 of Arturo Márquez, swirls and shimmies its way through dance halls and cafés.

How unexpected music history can be. The archetypal Broadway love-letter to Latin America, the “Mambo” from West Side Story, completes the disc, and it seems partly indebted to Márquez, until you realize that the Bernstein is older—by about 40 years. What a wide-ranging, surprising, and growing field this is.

So that’s why we might listen. Oh, and the kids will knock your socks off—can they play or what?! Yes, Dudamel is one hot commodity, but there’s so much more here.