Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Latino Music, From Tango Back to the 16th Century

Many thanks to journalist Vivien Schweitzer and The New York Time Music section for this nice review of Wall to Wall Sonidos.

Since their founding in 1978, the annual Wall to Wall 12-hour marathons at Symphony Space have focused on a single composer; a genre, like opera; or a region, as did last year’s survey of music from behind the Iron Curtain. On Saturday the Wall to Wall Sonidos program explored Latino culture, with performers and composers from Spain and Central and South America representing myriad styles, including 16th-century vocal polyphony, tango, contemporary string quartets and Latin jazz.

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That segment, which concluded after midnight, also included the premiere of Arturo O’Farrill’s “Still Small Voice,” with the composer conducting the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra and the LaGuardia High School Senior Chorus.

Mr. O’Farrill was inspired by the idea of conscience, using biblical and Eastern texts and concepts to illuminate his work. No libretto was provided, and diction wasn’t always clear, but there were plenty of colorful moments throughout, including the babble of voices narrating the story of the Prophet Elijah at Mount Horeb, jazzlike choral writing and a lively instrumental movement. Both chorus and orchestra performed with panache.



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