Eduardo Mata - Collection - Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela COLLECTION - LATIN AMERICA LIVE : THE EDUARDO MATA SESSIONS - SIMON BOLIVAR SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA OF VENEZUELA (6 CDs) - VOCAL SOLOISTS : Rafael Suarez Polyphonic Choir, Schlola Cantorum de Caracas, Orfeon Universitario Simón Bolívar - Dorian DSL-90914

Antonio Estévez: La Cantata Criolla, Mediodia en el Lliano
Heitor Villa-Lobos: Chôros No 10, Bachiana Brasileira No 2, Uirapuru
Silvestre Revueltas: Redes, Sensemaya
Julián Orbón: Concerto Grosso for String Quartet and Orchestra, Tres Versiones Sinfonicas
Alberto Ginastera: Pampeana No 3, Estancia
Carlos Chávez: Sinfonia India, Horse Power Suite
Manuel de Falla: La Vida Breve, El Amor Brujo, Siete Canciones Populares Espanolas, Homenajaes, Dances from the Three-Cornered Hat

Made in Venezuela: The meteoric ascent of conductor Gustavo Dudamel put Venezuela on the musical map in what seemed like a very short time. Two features on the CBS current affairs programme, 60 Minutes and an award-winning documentary have spread the fame of Dudamel and his youth orchestra along with a clutch of recordings. It was while auditioning a track from his best-selling 'Fiesta' album that your reviewer winced over a slurred transition and thought, "Poor old Mata would have nailed that…" It is 'poor old Mata' because the conductor was killed in a plane crash in his native Mexico fourteen years ago. Mata was only 52 when he died. He personified the gold standard in the interpretation of serious art music from Latin America and this bargain box furnishes ample proof of his prowess. The recordings were made in Caracas during the early 1990s in stereo of the highest Dorian quality.

Mata Magic:If the loveable, gyrating mop-top Dudamel has captured hearts around the world, Mata can claim the minds and souls of those fortunate enough to hear the contents of this box. The vocal, choral and orchestral performances of the works presented here can be regarded as definitive. Well known and admired by concert audiences worldwide (including Ottawa’s National Arts Centre), Eduardo Mata was a patrician of the podium. And there was a special chemistry in the mix when he worked in Latin America. Compare this account of the Sinfonia India (Second Symphony) by Carlos Chávez and Mata’s 1981 recording with the London Symphony Orchestra. The LSO is good but twelve years later the Simón Bolívar SO takes this tiny perfect work into orbit. At the price, no collector with 20th century sensibilities should be without this box.

More Mata:Eduardo Mata was the Music Director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra from 1977 to 1993. In 2010, Dorian will be releasing a commemorative box of his recordings in Dallas.

More Latin:If the Mata box ignites interest in Latin American music, a follow-up album from the upstart Urtext label is sure to please. It is entitled, Tres Siglos, and features cellist Carlos Prieto in three superb concertos by Joaquin Gutiérrez (b. 1927), Samuel Zyman (b. 1956) and Ricardo Castro (1864-1907). The prize-winning documentary referred to above is now available on DVD. El Sistema was produced by Paul Smaczny. The film examines the unique educational methods devised by José Antonio Abreu which brought music into the lives of hundreds of thousands of Venezuelan children (including Master G. Dudamel) over the past three decades. The film has been released by EuroArts (2056958).

Stephen Habington