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Multimedia Performance Celebrates 103rd Anniversary of Mexican Revolution

On November 19 and 20, 2013, the UNM Latin American Music Center (LAMC), alongside community partners, will celebrate the 103rd anniversary of the Mexican Revolution by presenting a multimedia presentation of Silvestre Revuelta's "La Coronela."

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The UNM Symphony Orchestra, under the guidance of Dr. Jorge Pérez-Gómez, will perform the original score as images by Mexican XIX Century visual artist José Guadalupe Posada (creator of La Catrina) are projected on two giant screens. Also in the program is "Son de la bruja," an arrangement for woodwind quintet of the traditional Mexican folk song from the State of Veracruz, and "Sobre las olas" by Mexican composer Juventino Rosas. Profits from ticket sales will go to support future artistic projects, research, academic, and cultural exchanges between the University of New Mexioc and Latin American artists and institutions. Tickets are available online or at the Popejoy Ticket Office. For more information, see the LAMC website.

According to Peer Music, "Silvestre Revueltas, the 'great free spirit of Mexican music,' was born on the very eve of the 20th century, on December 31, 1899. After early training as a violinist, he concentrated his talents on conducting and composition. At Carlos Chávez's invitation, he became Assistant Conductor of the Mexico Symphony Orchestra (1929-1935) and taught violin and composition at the National Conservatory of Music in Mexico City, also conducting the Conservatory Orchestra. In 1937 he conducted several of his orchestral works in Spain, lending his support to the Republican cause during the Spanish Civil War. In October 1940, barely 40 years old, he succumbed to pneumonia aggravated by alcoholism. In his last decade, Revueltas was astonishingly productive, writing almost 40 works - including 6 for full orchestra and 8 film scores - in a mature, vitally individual voice. Recent performances and recordings have helped address the lack of attention given Revueltas' music in the decades since his death."

"For Revueltas, growing up admist the Mexican Revolution, music was inextricable from national identity, much the way Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo approached painting....this is no more apparent than in his ballet La Coronela. Written for the choreographer Waldeen (the single-named pioneer of Mexican modern dance), La Coronela follows a scenario of skeleton figures by the Mexican engraver José Guadalupe Posada depicting the overthrow of the decadent bourgeois by the working class, a theme dear to Revueltas' heart. Following the composer's death from bronchial pneumonia, the unfinished work was turned over to the composer Bas Galindo to compose and Candelario Huízar to orchestrate. The premiere went on as scheduled on 23 November, 1940, at Mexico City's Palacio de Bellas Artes" (Naxos)

"As a concert work, La Coronela (The Lady Colonel) arranges the ballet episodes in four unbroken movements. The first, The Upper Crust of 1900, further divides into three sections, each constantly shifting duple and triple metre. The second, The Disinherited, is more plaintive, recalling working class life under dictatorship. The next movement, Don Ferruco's Nightmare, opens with The Party, where a steady waltz tempo binds discordant harmonies, clearly revealing cracks in the social facade. The party begins to turn sour with the appearance of The Scoundrel and the Simple Girl, and The Middle-Class Lady, as the waltz alternates with an increasingly complex Mexican song that slowly dominates the proceedings. The movement finishes with The Lady Colonel surrounded by her military theme, harkening back to the days of the Revolution. The fourth movement, The Last Judgment, begins abruptly with an appropriately violent passage entitled The Battle. The military call of a solo trumpet then honors The Fallen, and the piece concludes with a reprise of The Lady Colonel theme with full orchestra" (ibid).

Image: Print of "El jarabe de ultratumba" by José Guadalupe Posada, ca. 1910.

--Posted Monday, November 11, 2013.