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(dramatic orchestral music) - This is Minnesota Orchestra.
(dramatic orchestral music) Good evening, everyone, from here at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis.
I'm your host, Sarah Hicks, and what a delight it is to welcome you to tonight's concert by the Minnesota Orchestra.
And we have some delights in store for you this evening.
A program that highlights the vivid hues and propulsive rhythms of music from Spain and Latin America, from multiple perspectives.
In the first half, we'll hear a work that draws upon both the musical traditions that have shaped the composer, and the spirit of the broader South American continent.
Gabriela Montero's Piano Concerto No.
1, "Latin", with a composer as soloist, something we don't see frequently in the modern concert hall.
After intermission, we'll be immersed in the sonorities inspired by music from indigenous tribes from the western states of Mexico.
Carlos Chávez's Symphony No.
2, "Sinfonía india".
And the evening will be rounded out by buoyant ballet music from Spaniard Manuel de Falla's "Three-Cornered Hat".
We begin our musical journey tonight with Spanish music with a distinct Gallic twist, Maurice Ravel's "Rapsodie espagnole".
His first published orchestral work is set in four movements, and it's a masterclass of orchestral writing.
At the same time, sensuous, elegant, and dazzling, with exquisite colors.
I'm particularly looking forward to hearing the the third movements, Habanera, which despite many famous European iterations, is a dance from Cuba.
The work opens with a languid prelude, and continues with the pointed rhythm of a malagueña, one of the traditional styles of Andalusian music.
Ravel brings the work to a brilliant close with a fleet movement, capturing the energy of a Spanish fair.
Our guest conductor for this evening is Carlos Miguel Prieto.
A champion of Latin American music, he's recognized both as the preeminent Mexican conductor of his generation, and is a highly influential cultural leader.
He has, to date, conducted over 100 world premieres of works by Mexican and American composers, and we are so eager to hear the orchestra play repertoire, for which Prieto is so well known.
In a few moments, Prieto will be leading the Minnesota Orchestra on this musical journey across continents, beginning with Ravel's "Rapsodie espagnole".
But first, our concert master Susie Park takes the stage to tune the orchestra.
(audience claps) (grand orchestral music) (audience claps) ("Rapsodie espagnole" by Maurice Ravel) (dramatic orchestral music) (audience claps) A thrilling performance of "Rapsodie espagnole".
Applause continuing for the Minnesota Orchestra and guest conductor, Carlos Miguel Prieto.
You'll recognize Marni Hougham on English horn, Gabriel Campos Zamora and David Pharris on clarinet, and Fei Xie and Christopher Marshall on bassoon.
It's an audience favorite, capturing the essence of Spanish and Cuban music through a distinctly French impressionist lens.
Our next work has no such filter.
It was written as an homage to the enormous spectrum of Latin American culture, by pianist and composer Gabriela Montero.
Venezuelan-born Montero is known for her talent for improvisation, and both her heritage and her skills are reflected in her Piano Concerto No.
Let's hear from her now.
- I'm from Caracas, Venezuela, and I'm a composer, performer, and also improviser, which kind of encapsulates all of these things together.
I began playing the piano when I was just seven months old.
It sounds a bit crazy, but my parents gave me a little toy piano, and my parents were very surprised when they noticed that all I wanted to do was play with the piano, and also try and pick out the tunes that my mom would sing to me at night to put me to sleep.
So by the time I was 18 months old, I had a repertoire of lullabies, Venezuelan songs, the national anthem of Venezuela, and it was pretty clear that this was what I was born to do.
I kind of struggled with finding my own reasons for being an artist.
I think when you're born with a very obvious ability for one thing, it's very easy to get channeled into a life doing that.
But I think you have to come to a point where you really assess what it means to you, and what you want to create with that talent, and also how you want to live.
So, I had many detours.
Totally zigzag kind of road.
But I think that basically it's kind of enriched the way that I not only feel with the instrument, but also the way that I use music to communicate stories about my life and other's lives as well.
I am so Venezuelan, even though I didn't live there for most of my life, and I think it permeates into everything that I do, everything that I feel, and everything that I compose, and the way that I play as well.
I think it kind of affords a certain spontaneity and also a very, very rhythmical backbone.
For me, music is not only melodic, but the rhythmical, let's say, column of music, is always very clear in what I perform and what I compose.
And I guess in that way, being Venezuelan and being Latin American, it really influences how I perceive music and how I also, you know, share it.
I will be playing my Latin Concerto.
It's a three movement piece.
The first movement is a mambo, the last movement is an Allegro Venezolano, and the second movement has a beautiful duet with a clarinet.
And it's kind of an homage to Argentina in a way.
And you hear influences of Cuban music or Venezuelan music.
You know, music from the whole continent.
But more than anything, it's a statement as an Latin American about how what we hear and what seduces us of Latin America is very much the surface.
And underneath that, there are so many dark elements that don't allow us to fulfill our potential, that people tend to not want to look at that.
So, it's a piece that initially you might think is quite fun, and it's very virtuosic, and it is fun, and it is virtuosic, but at the same time, it's kind of juxtaposed with these shadows that lurk behind that beauty, and that, you know, exotic color of Latin America.
So, it's a bittersweet piece.
Carlos Miguel Prieto and I have known each other for a very long time.
He's a real ally in so many ways.
An amazing musician, an amazing human being.
We have already the Latin Concerto several times around the world, and we have many other concert programs with my piece, and I'm super excited to play it with the Minnesota Orchestra, because it's such a great orchestra and it's wonderful to go there.
I really look forward to bringing some of this Latin American heat waves, let's say, to the cold of Minnesota.
(Gabriela chuckles) - Now, while I love the idea of a heat wave right about this time in winter, it's this line, "The shadows that lurk behind beauty."
That really caught my attention, as it's easy for us as listeners to focus on the virtuosity and surface brilliance of what we hear.
But opening our ears as we experience this music may help us plumb the depths of complexity and contradictions that Montero shares with us in the three movements of her work.
Longtime collaborators, Montero and Prieto recorded her "Piano Concerto No.
1" in 2019, with the Orchestra of the Americas.
And what a treat it is to experience this partnership at work tonight here with the Minnesota Orchestra.
The orchestra will tune, and Gabriela Montero and conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto will perform Montero's Latin Concerto with the Minnesota Orchestra.
(dramatic orchestral music) (people clapping) ("Piano Concerto No.
1, Latin" by Gabriela Montero) (tense piano music) (dramatic orchestral music) ("Piano Concerto, Andante Moderato" by Gabriela Montero) (soft dramatic piano music) (dramatic orchestral music) ("Piano Concerto, Allegro Venezolano by Gabriela Montero) (uptempo orchestral music) (audience claps) - The "Piano Concerto, No.
1, Latin" by Gabriela Montero, who is making her Minnesota Orchestra debut tonight.
And as you may have noticed, there was pretty much zero downtime for her in that concerto.
The conductor is her friend, Carlos Miguel Prieto, and those two have worked together for many years.
In fact, they recorded the concerto in 2019.
Beautiful duet for clarinet and piano in the middle movement of that concerto.
Principal clarinet Gabriel Campos Zamora took a bow for that.
And the conductor also pointed to the back of the stage where there are six percussionists playing an array of instruments.
Brian Mount played the marimba, and he got a solo bow.
A live broadcast from Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis.
As you just heard, Gabriela is a composer and pianist.
She also has this amazing skill at improvisation.
It's something she's done since she was a little girl, and it comes so naturally to her that she has a hard time explaining just how she does it.
(audience cheers) And the two are back on stage now.
I spoke with Gabriela on Wednesday afternoon, and I asked her, "Is this a concerto that you keep in your fingers?"
And she laughed and said, "You know, there are pretty much a million and a half notes per page, so it's pretty hard to do that."
But she really loves playing it, and she's so honored that many people are interested in hearing her music.
She has quite a few engagements playing this concerto, and she just played it about a week ago in Naples, Florida.
(crowd cheers) The crowd here at Orchestra Hall is standing, all our players are as well, and lots of fondness between this soloist and the conductor.
I'm so glad you've joined us for this live broadcast from Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, the Minnesota Orchestra.
I'm Melissa Ousley in the MPR radio booth.
My favorite place to be on a Friday night.
Sarah Hicks is hosting the video stream on the orchestra's website also for our viewers at Twin Cities PBS.
Sarah, Happy New Year.
It's good to see you.
It's been a while.
(Sarah chuckles) - It has.
Happy New Year, Melissa.
It's great to be back with you.
- I've been to so many Minnesota Orchestra concerts, and I think this is the first time that I've heard a composer play her own piece.
And as I've mentioned, she's worked with Carlos Miguel Prieto many times, so we know this was just a spot on interpretation.
- Oh, I would definitely say so.
But I would also add that working with close collaborators is really wonderful because there's that comfort with each other that allows for so much freedom, and it's just really fabulous to see it on stage.
And I love watching Gabriela play.
There's such a directness with which she approaches the instrument.
It just feels so right and natural.
- It does.
And one of the things she'll tell you about her music is that there's this very strong connection to her Venezuelan roots.
And there is almost always a rhythmic backbone to the music.
We certainly heard that in this concerto, that rhythm in the last movement I'm gonna be thinking about all weekend, I'm sure.
- Me too.
I think so.
That cha-cha-cha-cha, it's just great.
Those propulsive dance rhythms really do create the sense of inner structure, because the rhythm itself is foundational, and that foundation creates a platform for infinite invention.
And the consistency of the rhythm allows the melody and the emotion and the character to constantly change and transform.
It's a great combination of stability and freedom.
- Yeah, and we should add one more thing, and that is this sense of unrest and disruption, excuse me, that we heard in the concerto.
And I would say that's the activist side of Gabriela, and she's been very outspoken about the situation in Venezuela for a long time, and she wants the rest of us to become aware of that too.
- Yes, I mean, she wears so many hats.
Composer, pianist, improviser and activist.
Really a remarkable artist.
Melissa, thanks so much for checking in.
- Thank you, Sarah.
It's always good to talk with you.
- It's really unique that our live TV broadcast and live streams connect with your Classical MPR live radio broadcasts.
We really value our more than 50 year partnership with MPR.
Minnesota Orchestra concerts have been on the radio for 100 years.
The first program broadcast on March 2nd, 1923.
Melissa recently spoke with colleagues about this incredible milestone.
- I'm so excited to talk to the three of you about the 100th anniversary of Minnesota Orchestra broadcast.
John Michel, Brian Newhouse, Michael Osborne.
Is it okay if call you Ozzie?
- That's fine.
John Michel, let's start with you, because you really know about the history.
When was the first radio broadcast?
- Well, I wanna say, I wasn't there.
(Melissa laughs) It was 1923.
March 2nd, 1923 to be exact.
So we're, you know... A hundred years ago.
And radio was so different than it is today.
It was like a brand new thing.
Think, you know, like iPhones or the internet.
People were just gaga about radio.
There was just like a handful of radio stations, and then suddenly there were hundreds.
And one of them was a startup called WLAG, that broadcast the Minnesota Orchestra on March 2nd, 1923.
(dramatic orchestral music) - Maybe you could just paint quickly a picture of what the technology was like back then?
- First of all, of course, it's AM broadcasting.
FM wouldn't come in for decades.
This was a 500 watt station.
You could hear it practically across the country, 'cause there weren't a lot of stations on the air, and that was powerful enough.
(dramatic orchestral music) The station was started up by a group of wealthy Minneapolis businessmen who kind of bought time on the station to pitch their goods, and one of them was the Donaldson department store.
They spent a fortune, $80,000 in our money, it was $5,000 back then, to lay cables from their broadcast studio in the Oak Grove Hotel in Loring Park, to basically here, 11th and Nicollet, where the old Minneapolis Auditorium stood, and that was where the Minneapolis Symphony played.
We're talking five months after they first went on air, they do this live broadcast.
It's like insane, but you know, why not?
(Melissa laughs) - And what do we know about that broadcast?
What did they play?
Who was conducting?
- Oh, we know quite a lot.
It was an odd year for the Orchestra because their founding music director, Emil Oberhoffer, had resigned.
And so they had a whole season of guest conductors.
And by chance, the guest conductor for the first live broadcast of the Orchestra was Bruno Walter.
That's a legendary name.
A German conductor, a friend and protégé of Gustav Mahler.
You know, Bruno Walter conducted the premiere of Mahler's Ninth Symphony, for example.
Anyway, he was one of the guest conductors, and by chance, he was on the podium for the first broadcast.
- [Melissa] Were any other orchestras broadcasting in the early 20s?
- I think the very first was in 1921.
So, two years before our Orchestra.
That was actually in Madison, Wisconsin.
It was a super experiment.
The physics department of the Madison University set up an amplifier in the the UW Madison Armory, because the Cincinnati Symphony was on tour, and they were giving a performance there.
And they go, "Well, what the heck?
Why don't we just like see if we could broadcast this orchestra on this new gizmo?"
And sure enough, they did.
It was a big success.
- And did people have radios?
Were they pretty common?
- It just took off like crazy.
I mean, if you look at old newspapers back then, there's like full pages in the newspaper advertising radios, and how to set up your equipment, and where to put your antenna, and where to buy pickle tubes.
- So Ozzie, when you hear these stories from John Michel, are you thinking, "Oh, I wish I would've been there back in the 1920s?"
- Mm, yes and no.
(John chuckles) I mean, it would've been exciting probably to be able to say that you were gonna do the first broadcast of a major symphony on your radio station, but the technical feats to do that, as John had mentioned about laying that cable, and to think about the reliability of the equipment in that era, I mean, a lot of that equipment was being built basically by hand.
So these engineers were incredibly talented in being able to produce things probably on the spot that they were gonna use in a month or two to do something like that.
- [Speaker] The Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra is assembled today upon the stage of its home theater.
Northrop Memorial Auditorium on the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis.
(dramatic orchestral music) - Ozzie, so much of what you do is behind the scenes.
Setting up the microphones, then there's creating this beautiful mix that you do.
Can you say a little bit more about that?
- Well, one of the things about mic-ing a symphony orchestra that you have to think about is that, it's all acoustic, by and large.
Most of the orchestra these days is still almost an entirely acoustic genre.
Violins, violas, you name it.
And the conductor is the one who really sets the sound of the Orchestra in terms of the dynamics and the volumes.
And what I'm there to do is to try to capture the...
Some people refer to it as the "best seat in the house".
And so I have some microphones that are at the front of the stage, which get the overall sound of the strings.
And then I work further back towards the woodwinds, and back to the brass and the percussion.
And then there's other instruments that sometimes need just a little extra sweetening as we say, just to bring them out a little bit, like the harp and maybe bass or something that needs to come out.
And then if it's a piano concerto, then we'll put a set of mics on that instrument, just to kind of add a little bit of presence.
My mind is always thinking about balance, because that's what the conductor's thinking about.
I'm always thinking about that in the same realm.
- The hoops that a great engineer like Ozzie would do, some of which I knew about, and some of which I just never learned until after the fact.
He'd tell me like, "Did you know what happened?"
And it all happens seamlessly and visibly, and with no drama, 'cause that's one of the key things of live broadcast.
You cannot have drama in the control room and on the broadcast booth, 'cause it has to be about the audience experience.
And you can't have somebody freaking out in the background, especially the guy with his hands on the controls.
(Brian laughs) - So, when was the first MPR broadcast?
And I think Arthur Hayne, or the late Arthur Hayne, sadly, an old colleague of some of us, was the host of the first broadcast.
And notoriously he said, you know, "Ladies and gentlemen, our national anthem."
And then instead, Skrowaczewski went straight into the Flying Dutchman Overture by Wagner, so- - [Melissa] Oh, for his first broadcast that's what happened?
- Things happened, you know?
It was live.
- What about television?
- There were some very early TV broadcasts in the 1950s.
Just like radio, TV was hot.
Just as radio in the 1920s was the thing, so TV suddenly became the thing in the early 1950s.
So, the Minnesota Orchestra got involved, or Minneapolis Symphony as it was back then, and there were several TV broadcasts with Antal Doráti conducting in the 1950s.
And I think some visual record of those still exists over in the Elmer Andersen Library.
So, might be fun to look at those one of these days.
(people singing upbeat) - These stories make me think a little bit of what I've heard the two of you, Brian and Ozzie, talk about when you went to Cuba, not all that long ago in 2015.
Brian, can you describe what that was like?
(Brian chuckles) - Yeah, well first off, the context for it, 2015, we have no diplomatic relationship between these two countries.
The two presidents say, "Let's try to thaw these relations."
So, it was really a kind of a fraught and new moment.
There was this energy and excitement and nervousness about the whole enterprise, the orchestra going to Cuba.
And right up until the downbeat of the first concert, it was a question, would the Minnesota Orchestra play the national anthems of both countries live on that stage?
Live in an international broadcast?
And would the Cuban authorities...
Remember, this is a communist country.
Would they allow it?
Would they completely just pull the plug on it?
Good evening, everyone.
This is Brian Newhouse at the Cuban National Theater in central Havana.
2,600 seat hall at the edge...
I got word about 20 minutes before the broadcast that Osmo had decided, and our board chair at the time had supported this decision, that they were indeed going to start the concert, the downbeat was going to be the American Orchestra from Minnesota playing the Cuban national anthem.
That applause for Osmo Vänskä, here in front of the sold out house, the Cuban National Theater, as our concert begins live from Cuba.
(orchestral national anthem music) When that happened, I just happened to look over to our translator, who was Cuban-American, and she burst into tears.
And she just said over and over again, "I cannot believe this is happening."
(orchestral national anthem music) So that moment will always stay with me.
That instant of... "This is history being made."
You just feel awfully lucky to have been there.
(orchestral national anthem music) (people clapping) - So, you tell that story as someone who was working for Minnesota Public Radio at the time, and now you're working for Minnesota Orchestra, and I wonder how your experience in those concerts impact the work you do now?
- Yeah, so I work in the development department along a really wonderful team of folks who help raise philanthropic revenue for the Orchestra.
It's fascinating in that all the years that Ozzie and I were doing broadcasts, there was nobody else in the room.
It was just him and me.
And you know, the task of the host is to imagine a listener, imagine a bunch of listeners, but at least imagine one, and then talk to that person.
But, you know, they were never there in the room.
So I got used to thinking, "Is anybody listening?"
(Brian laughs) Because it was just Mike and me.
- We had a joke sometimes that we knew our mothers were listening.
- Yeah, yeah, mom.
(Brian and Mike laughing) And then in the years since, now that I'm talking with folks who are fans of the orchestra, almost every conversation starts with, "Oh, I loved Friday nights when I listened to you, and now I listen to Melissa."
The Orchestra broadcast, especially during the pandemic, and these TV broadcasts, and they used the word "lifeline" a lot.
(people clapping) - Welcome to Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis for a live broadcast with the Minnesota Orchestra.
I'm Melissa Ousley.
The house is full tonight, and the program looks great.
We have music- - In our careers, we have watched city after city, broadcaster after broadcaster, stop doing its live broadcasts of its local orchestra.
There's very few doing it now.
But these Friday night broadcasts haven't stopped since the mid 70s.
And I think there's something about that, that in Minnesota, that we have this statewide network that gets the signal out to Walker and Nevis, and Grand Marais and all over.
And there's an appreciation for that that I hear about all the time.
"Yeah, we were listening up at the lake!"
Or, "We were listening at our daughter's home down in Rochester."
There's a value in being able to share this experience that is perhaps uniquely Minnesotan.
(wondrous intense orchestral music) - The privilege to, you know, work on the Minnesota Orchestra broadcast every week, there's nothing quite like it.
It's one of the finest orchestras in the country, maybe the world, and to hear it in a great concert hall like that, it's a privilege.
- For a hundred years.
(John chuckles) (people clapping) - 100 years.
And since 2020, we've expanded our broadcasting to include live television and live streaming.
We are proud to provide our audiences opportunities to experience the Orchestra here at Orchestra Hall, or wherever they can tune in.
And we're gonna tune in now to a conversation with one of our musicians from the Orchestra, flutist and piccolo player, Roma Duncan.
- Hi, Sarah.
- Good to see you.
- Good to see you too!
- So, Roma, tonight's program brings focus to Latin American music, and I was struck by the Cuban influences in both the Ravel and the Montero.
It seems particularly apropos, because the Minnesota Orchestra has some deep ties with Cuba from the 2015 tour.
So I'm wondering, could you give us some insights about your experiences in Cuba?
- Yeah, of course.
You know, the Cuba tour was such an incredible experience for all of us.
And you know, whenever we tour, you know, we know what we're going to deliver.
We're trying to give our very best concert.
And we knew that the Cuba experience was going to be different, that it was going to be more of an exchange.
We were gonna be working particularly with these young Cuban musicians in high school and college, and playing together with them.
But I don't think any of us were really prepared for just how much they were going to give to us.
You know, we were playing together and mentoring, and working on classical pieces, and then we played some Cuban music with them, and you know, we played the rhythms correctly, but they were really getting it right.
This rhythm, this music, it comes from the heart and from the soul for them.
And I don't think anything really prepared us for sitting in the middle of that, and these students playing their own music.
I mean, what a gift.
- Well, it is.
And what a wonderful exchange of musical ideas.
- So, I know as a conductor, knowing about a country and the region's culture and its people, gives me a much deeper and more informed entry point into the music.
So I'm wondering if this experience in Cuba sort of changed your approach to Latin American music?
- Yeah, yeah, absolutely.
I mean, you, you hit it on the head.
The more that you know about a culture, the more that you've experienced it, the more you can put into it.
And I think the most challenging part of our job here, and part of what really makes it the most fun, is we're playing different music all the time.
You know, a week ago, we were celebrating Lunar New Year on this stage, and tonight we have all this incredible Latin music.
So as I'm preparing it and doing my best to represent the composer well, I think again for me this week, I'm really focusing on the rhythms, and when we start the second half in a couple of minutes here, the Chávez, it really embodies that.
There's this incredible momentum, and even though the rhythms are pretty complicated, there's this natural feel.
And I think for me, I'm just trying to stay out of my own way, and let the music play itself.
- And let the groove take over, right?
- Yeah, yeah.
- Yeah, yeah.
- So, speaking of the Chávez, what are you looking forward to in the second half of the program?
- Yeah, well, the Chávez and then the de Falla, when we do the suite from the ballet, you know, I've played this music a number of times, but it's been so interesting this week.
Maestro Prieto has conducted the ballet so many times, and he's been very generous sharing his experiences of audience traditions, and what the dancers are doing.
So, I can't wait to play it with all these new ideas and images in my head.
- Well, we can't wait either.
That's gonna be exciting.
- Thanks so much for joining us, Roma.
- Thanks, Sarah.
- It's always illuminating to hear from our players, and one of the great advantages of these broadcasts has been the opportunity to spotlight individual musicians to give us a better understanding of the personalities and perspectives that help create the musical fabric that is the orchestra.
And I have to say, it's been a chance for me to have the kinds of conversations with my colleagues that I might not have during casual exchanges at work.
So, it's been illuminating for me as well.
The power of an orchestra lies in its players, and it's not just about their musical talents.
As I always like to say, not only is an orchestra a collage of diverse instruments, but it's also a collection of diverse people, coming from different cultures, schools, racial backgrounds, political proclivities, belief systems, languages, often even with wildly different opinions about the music they perform.
The true impact of an orchestra is born of the fact that for the time these musicians are on stage, these divergencies and differences and sometimes even conflicts, they become immaterial.
Because our sole purpose is to create something together that is so much more than the sum of its parts.
For those moments on stage, we leave behind our disagreements, and choose to see eye to eye on the task at hand, which is bringing together these disparate sounds to create a cohesive whole.
And there is something deeply compelling about watching and hearing it happen.
And now, we will move back to the music, and to experiencing these moments of cohesion as the intermission ends and the players, once again, take the stage.
Composer Carlos Chávez once remarked that, quote, "The great expressive power of indigenous art lies in its rhythmic variety, in the freedom and scope of its scales and modes, in the richness of the sonorous instrumental element, in the simplicity and purity of its melodies, and in its moral condition."
Chavez's "Sinfonía india" was inspired by music by the indigenous people of Mexico, and incorporates several actual folk melodies from the Seri Indians and the Yaqui people.
He goes even further in introducing more than half a dozen indigenous percussion instruments, creating timbres and colors, and rhythms that transport us into a unique sound world, full of driving rhythms that will give our percussion section quite a workout.
The orchestra will tune, and then Carlos Miguel Prieto will lead the Minnesota Orchestra in Chavez's "Symphony No.
2, Sinfonía india".
(dramatic orchestral music) (audience claps) - Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.
Thank you for being here.
Means a lot to me that we can play this fabulous music.
Carlos Chávez wrote this wonderful, short symphony in 1935, 1936, with the objective of putting into music, the music of pre-Hispanic times in Mexico, and chose some melodies from places that were not really represented in music from Mexico.
One thing that makes this piece unique, and I need to introduce this, because I actually sent these instruments, and I'm proud of these instruments, and they're characters in this piece, in this incredible work, are the percussion instruments.
And they are some pre-Hispanic percussion instruments.
The first one I want to introduce is a big bass drum called teponaztli in Nahuatl.
That's the one right there.
(drum bangs) Then there's another drum, that's a log drum.
That's called huehuetl.
The other one is called teponaztli, which is that one.
(drum sounds) Right next to that, there is a water gourd.
That's also unique.
(water gourd thumps) Also, close to that, there are butterfly cocoons.
(cocoon rattles) (people laughing) Deer hoofs.
(hoof rattles) And one of the most unique... Rattlesnake.
(rattlesnake rattles) If you hear that, just keep going.
(people laughing) ("Symphony No.
2, Sinfonía india" by Carlos Chávez) (uptempo bright orchestral music) (intense traditional orchestral drum music) (calming orchestral music) (dramatic bright orchestral music) (tense orchestral horn music) (dramatic orchestral music) (calming orchestral music) (dramatic orchestral music) (intense orchestral music) (audience claps) - Applause for the Minnesota orchestra and conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto, after their performance of Chávez's "Symphony No.
2, Sinfonía india."
You may have heard the big bass drum, the log drum, the butterfly cocoons and deer hooves, the water gourd and the rattlesnake stick.
Chavez was a prolific composer whose output displays incredible stylistic diversity.
But "Sinfonía india" is considered to be one of his most Mexican works, which seems ironic, because he wrote it during a stay in New York in 1935.
And it was premiered by the CBS Symphony during a live broadcast in 1936.
You caught a glimpse of some of those unusual percussion instruments.
The percussion section, as I said, was originally conceived for a group of indigenous Mexican Indian instruments, with suggestions for their Western counterparts should those original instruments be unavailable.
Principal percussionist Brian Mount told me that our conductor, Carlos Miguel Prieto, has a collection of instruments for the piece that was sent to our section in advance of the first rehearsal.
Brian also noted that both the Chávez and the Montero required a lot of concentration, because they call for a high level of precision between multiple instruments.
He told me, quote, if one person is slightly off in rhythm, the whole groove gets lopsided and wonky.
Well, I don't think I've heard a wonky groove yet.
Well done, percussion section.
With the final selection of tonight's program, our evening comes full circle.
Our opening piece, Ravel's "Rapsodie espagnole", was a work that was very much admired by Manuel de Falla.
His ballet, "The Three-Cornered Hat", about a corrupt magistrate, an honest miller, and his beautiful wife, became a memorable ballet roost production.
The sets and costumes, striking in black and white, were designed by none other than fellow Spaniard, Pablo Picasso.
Here now is Falla's suite, El sombrero de tres picos, "The Three-Cornered Hat".
(dramatic orchestral music) (audience claps) ("The Three-Cornered Hat" by Manuel de Falla") (intense orchestral music) (orchestra chants) (whimsical orchestral music) (lighthearted orchestral music) (intense orchestral music) (dramatic orchestral music) (audience claps) (audience cheers) (upbeat orchestral music)