Don's Classical Picks

Carlos Chavez

Carlos Chavez was a Mexican composer, much of his output is modern and therefore meaningless to most people however I know of two really good pieces: a ballet called The Four Suns I have on an out-of-print LP and his more popular Sinfonia India.

Sinfonia India (Second Symphony)
London Symphony Orchestra
Conducted by Eduardo Mata
Vox CDX 5061, DDD

Sinfonia India is not a typical symphony, its more like a Mexican Bolero, a piece that builds as you go along. It comes in a two-CD set containing all of Chavez's symphonies, the others are fairly bland and meaningless and thus you get a great contrast between meaningless modernism and a celebration of life. (Why do people write the meaningless stuff? Says something about our culture doesn't it?) The price is really low so you won't feel cheated by getting the short 12 minute 41 second long Sinfonia India and lots of meaningless stuff. I came to like the piece by hearing the Bernstein/NY Philharmonic version of it. That version is now on CD as well (Sony SMK 60571). The treatment is a little harsher and faster in spots (total time is 11:58) and as of now I prefer the Mata version. On the other hand the Bernstein version comes with a lot of other good Latin American pieces.

If you have any questions or comments, write me.

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