Symphony No. 2 (Sinfonía India) (1935)
The indigenous music of Mexico is a reality of contemporary life. It is not, as might be thought, a relic to satisfy mere curiosity on the part of intellectuals, or to supply more or less important data for ethnography. The indigenous art of Mexico is, in our day, the only living manifestations of the race which makes up approximately four-fifths of the country's racial stock.
The essential characteristics of this indigenous music have been able to resist four centuries of contact with European musical expressions. That is, while it is certain that contact with European art has produced in Mexico a mestizo (mixed) art in constant evolution, this has not meant the disappearance of pure indigenous art. This fact is an index to its strength.
The force of indigenous art is rooted in a series of essential conditions. It obeys a natural creative impulse of the individual toward an expression at once legitimate and free of affectation. In musical terms, the great expressive strength of indigenous art is rooted in its intrinsic variety, in the freedom and amplitude of its modes, and scales, in the richness of its instrumental and sound elements, and in the simplicity and purity of its instrumental and sound elements, and in the simplicity and purity of its melodies.
There is never, in this music, a morbid or degenerate feeling, never a negative attitude toward other men or nature as a whole. The music of America's immediate ancestors is the strong music of a man who constantly struggles and tries to dominate his surroundings. Imported manifestations opposed to the feeling of the music have been unable to destroy it because they have not succeeded in changing the ethical conditions of individuals.
-- Carlos Chávez