Gustavo Dudamel is on a mission to change perceptions of Latin American music. The Venezuelan conductor proves its striking creative and expressive breadth with the world premiere recording of Arturo Márquez’s Fandango, a spectacular new violin concerto written for Anne Akiko Meyers. He underlines the message with the album’s companion piece, Alberto Ginastera’s ballet Estancia in its rarely heard complete version. The results, recorded live at the Hollywood Bowl, celebrate the work of two original voices, one from Mexico, the other from Argentina, both in tune with the rich folk idioms and musical traditions of their homelands. “This music belongs to my DNA,” Gustavo Dudamel tells Apple Music Classical. “And it’s part of my mission to bring Latin American music to where it deserves to be. It’s crucial for me that Latin American music is seen not just as an exotic thing but as part of universal culture, like Beethoven, Brahms, or Stravinsky.” His Márquez and Ginastera album, released to coincide with Latin Heritage Month, conveys the strength of a continent’s music. “Our culture is very beautiful; it can be very expressive. And I would say this is part of the whole of Latin America.” Alberto Ginastera’s one-act ballet Estancia (Ranch), written in 1941 for the American dance company Ballet Caravan, is usually distilled into a suite of four dances. The full work was inspired by and includes extracts from José Hernández’s epic poem Martin Fierro (1872), a hymn to rural Argentina and its famously brave, often rebellious gauchos. Dudamel’s interpretation propels a parade of big emotions with rhythmic precision. He and the Los Angeles Philharmonic are equally on point as partners to Anne Akiko Meyers, who spearheads a commanding performance of Márquez’s fabulous Fandango. Read on, as Gustavo Dudamel takes us on a personal journey of each of the works on this thrilling album. Fandango for Violin and Orchestra (Arturo Márquez) “When we first rehearsed this amazing piece, you could see the fascination on the players’ faces. This interaction of inspiration and joy really gets inside you. Of course, it needs precision. But there must be freedom within that control, a free action of the human spirit. After each note, you feel like you’re touching the beauty of the folk music that Arturo Márquez has written. I’ve been a big admirer of Maestro Márquez since meeting him when I was 12 years old, playing his Danzón No. 2 in the children’s orchestra, and we’ve built a strong relationship. “In Fandango’s first movement, he remembers those Baroque pieces built on the repeated ‘La folia’ chord pattern. In the second movement you have this meditative, melancholic moment of quiet reflection. There’s a very fast Venezuelan dance called Pajarillo, where violinists often improvise something before it begins—I think Arturo Márquez pays homage to that improvisation in his concerto’s final movement. He’s created a wonderful journey through the history of the violin as a Latin folk instrument.” Estancia (Alberto Ginastera) “Listen to the first bars of Estancia, and you’ll feel the spirit of La Pampa, the Argentinean grassland. You’ll sense the soul of this vast, beautiful land, full of joy and full of drama. I think Ginastera deeply understood that landscape. Sometimes in music, sound lets a composer interpret something that’s visual, a flavor, something you can almost touch. “Estancia is a statement about Ginastera’s understanding of his world. I think this music gives you space to contemplate, which is something that our generation and the world we live in is not used to. To really contemplate and take the time to understand the rhythm of the Earth, that’s the great genius of this piece.”

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