Rarely heard in concert or on disc, 20th-century Mexican composer Carlos Chávez’s spectacular Piano Concerto, completed in 1940, receives an insightful and compelling performance from Mexican-born pianist Jorge Federico Osorio, with his native country’s flagship orchestra, the Orquestra Sinfónica Nacional de Mexico and its music director, the dynamic young conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto.
For performers and audiences alike, Chávez’s powerful Piano Concerto is a thrill ride of surprising tempo changes amid a whirlwind of styles. Legendary pianist Eugene List, who gave its world premiere in New York in 1942, marveled at its “immense rhythmic complexity, great technical difficulty and unrelenting thrust and pressure.” Reviewing the premiere, The New York Times called the work “imaginatively scored” and praised its “elemental strength and the originality of its orchestral coloring.”
Chávez (1899–1978) wrote “extraordinarily varied works of Mexican character,” notes Grove Music Online. In addition to Chávez’s epic concerto, Osorio plays three works for solo piano on the new CD: Chávez’s early Meditación; Mexican nationalist composer José Pablo Moncayo’s Muros Verdes (Green Walls), from 1951; and contemporary Mexican-born American composer Samuel Zyman’s Variations on an Original Theme (2010)