Review by: David Hurwitz
Artistic Quality: 8
Sound Quality: 8
Evencio Castellanos (1915-84) was a romantic nationalist who wrote colorful, attractive orchestral music liberally laced with folk melodies and rhythms. There is an over-reliance in all three works on simple ostinatos in the percussion, and form is a sometime thing; but the music is brilliant when fast and loud, sweetly songful in more restful sections.
Santa Cruz de Pacairigua has something to do with a church, but you’d never know it. The first six minutes are exhaustingly, relentlessly loud, sort of like El Salón México on crack. The River of the Seven Stars is more reflective and poetic, but not too much, while the Suite is a Christmas-themed collection of folk-like melodies, once again very colorfully scored (if perhaps a touch kitschy). Never mind, it’s all good fun, and the performances, by the only team in town likely familiar with the music, are vital, confident, and unapologetically gutsy. Jan Wagner wisely keeps things moving and lets the orchestra strut its stuff. The engineering is perhaps a touch constricted, but certainly good enough to stay out of the way of the splashiest textures and climaxes. A nice discovery, this.
Buy Now from Arkiv Music
EVANCIO CASELLANOS: Santa Cruz de Pacairigua; The River of the Seven Stars; Suite Avileña