Review by: David Hurwitz
Artistic Quality: 8
Sound Quality: 8
Silvestre Revueltas’ score for the 1935 film Redes (“Nets”) remains one of his greatest works, full of captivating rhythms, vivid instrumental color, and characteristic melodic inspiration. It is splendidly performed here by the PostClassical Ensemble conducted by Angel Gil-Ordóñez, newly synchronized to a lovely restored version of the original film. The movie itself isn’t much. Although cinematographer Paul Strand’s work is gorgeous as visual art, the story is a leftist morality play at its most primitive.
Villagers in small Mexican fishing community vainly struggle against the evil rich guy (complete with waxed mustache). At the start, the poor fisherman Miro begs for money to take his sick son to the hospital. Evil rich guy refuses. The child dies and is buried in a lavishly decorated coffin that makes one wonder why they didn’t invest the funeral funds in medical care in the first place. The grieving dad organizes the villagers and they go fishing, determined to resist the exploitation of the town’s wealthy business class. They catch fish. As they return with their catch there’s a rumble with the rich guy’s team. Soldiers are called in and the villagers flee, but Miro gets shot in the scuffle. He nobly ignores the pain, but dies anyway. End of story.
The entire film takes about an hour. There are fabulous shots of the Mexican seaside, lots of macho posing, and of course, fishing sequences. Thrilling it is not, but Revueltas’ score is sensational. Not being terribly into visuals, I would hope that Naxos will release a complete soundtrack album. The music is certainly worth hearing beyond the already familiar suite. Indeed, the film is scored almost throughout. Dialogue is minimal. For the last fifteen minutes or so in this new version the dialogue had to be abandoned in favor of the new soundtrack’s continuous music (English subtitles remain). If you want to hear the (few) spoken bits, the original film with its original soundtrack is thoughtfully included.
You also get several bonus features: discussions of Revueltas, his work in film, his politics, and the music, all produced by PostClassical Ensemble Executive Director Joseph Horowitz. I didn’t watch these, as I general ignore all such things. As a matter of principal, I believe that musical works stand or fall on their own merits, as entertainment, and nothing bores me more than being preached at or having the pleasure of listening turned into an academic symposium. I do recognize, however, that there is a time and place for such things, and other listeners/viewers may feel very differently. To see how Revueltas’ music enhances this visually beautiful film is worth experiencing just for itself, and requires no special pleading.
Buy Now from Arkiv Music
Recording Details:Reference Recording: None
- REVUELTAS, SILVESTRE:Redes ("Nets") Complete Score with Film