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Silvestre Revueltas

Publisher: G. Schirmer

Sensemayá (for orchestra) (1938)
G Schirmer Inc
Year Composed
7 Minutes
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Programme Note
Silvestre Revueltas Sensemayá (for orchestra) (1938)
Silvestre Revueltas' Sensemayá was written in 1937 for chamber ensemble; one year later, the composer transcribed it for full orchestra. The rhythms are laid out precisely and have considerable visceral impact, very much in a manner that recalls Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring. However, Revueltas' masterful orchestration, and ability to evoke the ancient Maya civilization with decidedly modern music are uniquely his own. It is a unique orchestral spectacle, something only Revueltas could have written, and in its way it is one of the most brutal works of its time.

The work begins with a low note in the bassoon as the percussion plays the sinuous, syncopated rhythm that drives the work. Soon a solo horn enters playing the first of this work's two major themes, a muscular, ominous motif. Other horns join the first one to play the theme, growing louder and more emphatic, but rigorously yoked to the underlying rhythm. Eventually the horns blast as loudly as they can, with obsessive trills on the bassoon far underneath, and the violins enter with the slashing second theme. The horns take up this new theme and bring it to a climax, after which the music returns to its opening texture. This recapitulation brings with it a mood of foreboding. The rhythm becomes even more obsessive, and finally the music reaches a massive climax during which both themes are played, overlapping, sometimes in part and sometimes in whole, by woodwinds, brass and violins in what sounds like a musical riot. The coda feels like the final dropping of a knife.

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    Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia Beach, VA
    Governor’s School for the Arts
    Jeff Phelps/Daniel Myssyk, conductor
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    The Whiting, Flint, MI
    Flint Symphony Orchestra
    Enrique Diemecke, conductor
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    University of Southern Mississippi, Bennett Auditorium, Hattiesburg, MS
    University of Southern Mississippi Symphony Orchestra
    Marcos Machado; Jorge Perez-Gomez, conductor
  • 04 NOV 2018
    Varner Hall, Rochester, MI
    Oakland Symphony Orchestra
    Gregory Cunningham, conductor
  • 03 NOV 2018
    Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, NY
    Empire State Youth Orchestra
    Carlos Agreda, conductor

    Other Dates:
    7 November - Proctors Theatre, Schenectady, NY
  • 21 OCT 2018
    Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, Dallas, TX
    Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra
    Richard Giangiulio, conductor
  • 16 OCT 2018
    Templeton-Blackburn Memorial Auditorium, Ohio University, Athens, OH
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  • 12 OCT 2018
    Music Hall, Cincinnati, OH
    Cinncinnati Symphony Orchestra
    Louis Langrée, conductor

    Other Dates:
    13,14 October - Music Hall, Cincinnati, OH
  • 29 SEP 2018
    Dennison Theater, University of Montana, Missoula, MT
    Missoula Symphony Association
    TBA; Darko Butorac, conductor

    Other Dates:
    30 September - Dennison Theater, University of Montana, Missoula, MT
  • 29 SEP 2018
    Libby Gardner Concert Hall, Salt Lake City, UT
    Salt Lake Symphony
    Robert Baldwin, conductor
  • 28 SEP 2018
    BBC Hoddinott Hall, Cardiff, UK
    BBC National Orchestra of Wales
    Carlos Miguel-Prieto, conductor
  • 26 SEP 2018
    Jordan Hall, Boston, MA
    New England Conservatory Philharmonia
    Hugh Wolff, conductor
  • 14 AUG 2018
    Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, CA
    Los Angeles Philharmonic
    Gustavo Dudamel, conductor

    Other Dates:
    16 August - Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, CA
  • 13 JUL 2018
    Playa de las Arenas de Valencia, Spain
    Orquesta de Valencia
    D. Ramón Tebar, conductor
  • 15 JUN 2018
    Laatzen, Switzerland
    Jugendorchester des Musikkreises Laatzen
    Matthias Grützmacher, conductor
  • 20 MAY 2018
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    Stefan Sanders, conductor
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    Salzburg, Austria
    Sinfonieorchester der Universität Mozarteum
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    Other Dates:
    17 March - Salzburg, Austria
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    Frankfurt Am Main, Germany
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    Other Dates:
    9 March - Frankfurt Am Main, Germany
    10 March - Gießen, Germany
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    7 March - Blennerhasset school, Parkersburg, WV
  • 25 FEB 2018
    München, Germany
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    Other Dates:
    17,25 February - Dell Hall at the Long Center for Performing Arts, Austin, TX
  • 13 JAN 2018
    The Washington Pavilion, Sioux Falls, SD
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    Delta David Gier, conductor

    Other Dates:
    14 January - The Washington Pavilion, Sioux Falls, SD
  • 18 NOV 2017
    Middlelton Performing Arts Center, Madison, WI
    Wisconsin Youth Symphony
    Randall Swiggum, conductor
  • 13 NOV 2017
    Magale Recital Hall, Natchitoches, LA
    Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony
    Douglas Bakenhus, conductor
  • 04 NOV 2017
    Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco, CA
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    Alondra De La Parra, conductor
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    Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, MI
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    Teatro Cervantes, Málaga
    Orquesta Filarmónica de Málaga
    Alejandro Posada, conductor

    Other Dates:
    6 October - Teatro Cervantes, Málaga
  • 24 SEP 2017
    Sheely Center for the Performing Arts, Northbrook, IL
    Oberlin Orchestra
    Raphael Jimenez, conductor
  • 15 SEP 2017
    Finney Chapel, Oberlin College, OH
    Oberlin College
    Raphael Jimenez, conductor

    Other Dates:
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