Latin music

Carlos Chávez’s Sinfonía India Carlos Antonio de Padua Chávez y Ramírez (1899-1978) is probably the most noted and celebrated composer/conductor of Latin music. He was an educator, pianist, composer, music theorist, conductor and the founder/director of the Mexican Symphonic Orchestra (Parker 4).
Born in Tacuba, Mexico, Carlos was interested in music from a very young age. In 1916, he started the well-known cultural journal Gladios and in 1924 he joined El Universal, a Mexican newspaper (Parker 36). Carlos worked with all of the leading symphony orchestra in the United States, Latin America and Europe and had an active conducting career. He founded the country’s first permanent orchestra the Orquesta Sinfónica de Mexico (1928) and the National Symphonic Orchestra (1947) (Parker 115). As the director of Mexicos National Conservatory of Music, Carlos headed projects for assembling aboriginal folk music. He wrote a book about electronic music “ Toward a New Music,” (1937) and conducted a series of concerts with the NBC Symphony Orchestra in 1939 (Parker 9).
He composed six symphonies out of which symphony no. 2 Sinfonía India (1939) is amongst his best and most frequently performed works. Hearing the symphony is an exotic experience. It turns out that Carlos was an expert of blending folk with contemporary because this symphony offers a variety of flavors. Usually symphonies involve pauses or breaks because these are layered according to the composition of instruments but Sinfonia India is different. Upon hearing this symphony it becomes obvious that there are no breaks despite that it is a three movement composition. This informs about Carlos’s intention of breaking the norms and moving beyond the conventional style of composing and conducting for forming his own trademark style.
This symphony has a Mexican feel probably due to the very empowering use of conventional Mexican instruments like drums and strings. A striking feature of Sinfonia India is the clarity of sounds and rhythmic attribute but the most enjoyable aspect is the folk element because it gives the symphony a nationalist aura for which Carlos is noted for. The symphony’s mood is pleasant and uplifting. It begins vibrantly but the meters change rapidly encouraging a soft and soothing somewhat melancholic melody by the middle and again mood becomes cheerful when the entire piece from the opening gets repeated. Last part is quite accelerated one and this is the most exciting part because a variety of instruments are introduced. Repetition turns out to be a much preferred style of Carlos in symphonies after hearing Sinfonia India.
Works Cited
Parker, Robert L. Carlos Chávez: A Guide To Research. Abingdon: Psychology Press, 1998. Print.
Schwarm, Betsy. Sinfonia India | Symphony By Chavez. Encyclopedia Britannica. N. p., 2014. Web. 2 Mar. 2015.