Gustavo Dudamel
Fiesta: Works by Revueltas, Carreño, Estévez, Márquez, Romero, Ginastera, Castellanos & Bernstein
(Deutsche Grammophon)


It was only a matter of time before Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel and the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra devoted an album to their heritage, said Matthew Rye in the London Daily Telegraph. Fiesta is a “celebration” of Latin America and a love letter to their homeland, recorded during a live performance in Caracas. Starting with Revueltas’ Sensemaya, they charge through a program of regionally inflected works with electric intensity. This “irrepressible” troupe features a stunning array of “youthful talent” ages 12 to 25. Dudamel himself, who is only 27, will become the chief conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic next year. Dudamel and his “wonder band” go beyond hitting the notes, said Philip Clark in Gramophone. The continent’s feel and flavor “flows through their DNA and takes them directly into the marrow of the music itself.” They bring Latin American–inspired compositions, like West Side Story’s “Mambo,” back to their roots while working up the “swing, push, and individuality of a dozen great jazz drummers.” If only you were there to experience it live, said Geoff Brown in the London Times. In concert, Dudamel and his orchestra are “exuberance times 10.” This album is enjoyable, but a recording can never quite capture the life of this party.