Monday, January 28, 2008

OAYO Youth Symphony: Winter Concert

OAYO Symphony: Winter Concert
Sunday, February 03, 2008
at 3:00 p.m.

This Sunday, the Omaha Area Youth Orchestra's Youth Symphony will present its second concert of the season at the UNO Performing Arts Center. This is the Winter Concert featuring music Sibleius' Symphony No.2 as well as Sensemayá by Mexican composer Silvestre Revueltas.

I've played Sibelius a number of years ago so it wasn't too much of a surprise to hear the Youth Syphony play it again. However, I didn't know anything about Revuletas so I did a quick search on him online. Born Dec. 31, 1899 into a family of renowned artists, he would become a violinist, conductor, and composer of classical music.

Reveultas' music comes during a time when Mexico was experiencing major political and creative upheaval in its society. In the first half of the 20th century, major events such as the Mexican Revolution and Spanish Civil War influenced a generation of of artists (painters and writers as well as musicians) who grounded their work in social issues and in the newly emerging Mexican nationalism (source).

What happens when Reveultas takes these broad zeitgeists of the time and creates music? A similar technique to what previous European composers were doing with folk dance and ethnic music in their pieces. Igor Stravinsky comes to mind, but in Reveultas case, his music reflects the indigenous Mexican culture. He took elements from the mestizo culture (a mix of European and native traditions such as Mariachi bands) and the "Aztec Rennaissance" (classical evoking Pre-Columbian music).

Sensemayá is a great example of Reveultas' music. The piece was adapted from Afro Cuban poet Poet Nicolás Guilln of the same title. However, the orchestral work was subtitled “Song to kill a snake”. I've previewed some clips on various parts of the web and can say that the title certainly matches the theme. No happy huntings here but imageries of a primordial anxiety to slay the slithering nemesis of the jungle. If you think you may have heard his piece before, you're probably right. The piece was used in Director Robert Rodriguez's film Sin City.

No comments:


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.