Chile’s Enrique Soro: Local Talent

Review by: David Hurwitz


Artistic Quality: 7

Sound Quality: 7

Enrique Soro (1884-1954) may have been Chile’s first major composer of “classical” music, but he was a decidedly local talent. His music is attractive and well-wrought, but also derivative and lacking memorability. The short works sound best. Danza fantástica and Andante appassionato both date from 1916, and even if we feel we’ve heard this music before it still has plenty of charm. Tres aires chilenos belong to an endless line of pieces based on folk music. They are typical of their type, pretty and tuneful, but by 1942 composers as diverse as Copland, Chavez, Revueltas, Villa-Lobos, and Ginastera had found ways to explore their folk heritage in a more personal and contemporary idiom.

The Sinfonía romántica lives up to its name, though not entirely in a good way. The rhythms of the first movement recall Schumann’s “Spring” Symphony, while the finale displays its romantic pedigree by indulging in vast stretches of pointless sequential repetition. The Adagio is sweetly lyrical, and there are some dramatic climaxes in the outer movements; but the scherzo is surprisingly bland. It’s not bad music by any means–just not hugely compelling.

The performances, by José Luis Domínguez with the home town team, are vigorous and committed, the sonics somewhat cavernous. They certainly show the composer in a positive light, even if the music itself isn’t as interesting as we might have hoped. For the curious.

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Recording Details:

Reference Recording: None

    Danza fantastica; Tres aires chilenos; Andante appassionato; Sinfonía romántica

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