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4.3 out of 5 stars
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4.3 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 29 April 2009
Setting aside the justifiable hype associated with Gustavo Dudamel, this, on all counts is an outstanding CD. The Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela, product of their El Sistema music programme introduces us to unfamiliar Central and South American composers writing orchestral music in a western style, as well as the piece, 'Mambo' by Leonard Bernstein.

The high quality of the musicianship of the young players is very evident in this CD, and one can almost sense their enthusiasm, so evident in their peformance at the 2008 BBC Proms.

Among much excellent music I would pick out 'Danzon No 2' by the Mexican composer, Arturo Marquez. It's so popular that it has been dubbed 'Mexico's second national anthem'. A bit like 'Bolero' the short piece (9'46) starts quietly but with a catchy rhythm. This rhythm becomes insistent, eventually driving the music to a superb crescendo. My instant reaction is to go to the player to start it again!

Now, don't delay - if you're interested in unfamiliar classical orchestral music, get this CD today. You won't regret it!
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on 4 February 2009
This recording is what it suggests a real cracker of a CD I have given it to all my friends. I was introduced to new Latin American composers, all huge fun. I cannot praise it too highly and it is more than time England followed Venezuela's example and had a music system in place in our schools. BRAVO!
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on 4 February 2009
This is a terrific live recording, full of energy and enthusiasm from this great Youth Orchestra. We have not heard enough of these composers in the West and they deserve greater audience coverage. It would be wonderful if the Orchestra make it back to the Proms in the near future - their concert in 2007 was electric. It was marvellous to see so many talented young musicians and congratulations to Venezuela for such a successful and enjoyable venture.
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on 6 March 2010
I bought this CD after hearing a track on the radio - Danzon # 2 by Arturo Marquez - and really enjoy listening to the energy and passion of the young orchestra. Wonderful music and a great introduction to this South American genre.
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This live concert showcases the considerable skill and enthusiasm of this remarkable youth orchestra in a program that finds them very much in home territory.

The program, with the exception of the encored Bernstein 'Mamba' is all original Latin American and is obviously completely natural to these players. The orchestra is a very large one with doubling of the woodwind and brass sections as well as an accompanying increase of the strings so the textures we hear are slightly inflated and not the same as those one would hear with a standard professional orchestra. This is of no concern in this concert as the atmosphere generated counts far more than worrying about such niceties as size of orchestra and the inevitable sonic consequences. It is doubtful if this very festive concert could be reproduced by any other ensemble with this level of sustained excitement.

The final 'Mambo' steals the concert as it often does with this group, having become something of a party piece. Fortunately the recording does the occasion full justice.

Comparisons are pointless in this case. For anyone interested in the program, or indeed the players, I would suggest that this disc must warrant very serious consideration indeed. It is truly a unique experience.

Two further considerations for purchase:
There are two outstanding Euroarts DVDs which I would suggest would appeal to anyone interested in the Fiesta disc as above. They are:
1 Gran Fanfare played by the Venezuelan Brass Ensemble - equally exhilarating
2 Sao Paula 'Samba' - the 2008 New Year's Eve concert, Brazilian style!

...........................................

A response to the anonymous negative voter of the previous version of this slightly modified review:

Goodness knows what you find to be unhelpful about this review
The voting system is specifically only about reviews being 'helpful' or 'unhelpful'

A negative vote without reason is not helpful to anyone. It does not contribute in any useful way to discussion so no-one can learn from you.

If you have a different view or find the review 'unhelpful' then explain, giving your reasons, and share your views in the comment option as intended.

Your opinion might then add to the total useful advice.
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on 13 November 2015
Well, this took me by surprise. I am a rampant musical snob, and when I first saw the title and all the orchestral members wearing the Venezuelan flag I thought 'Uh Oh, this is a must to avoid!' But my curiosity overcame me as a looked at the names of the composers: Revueltas, Ginastera, some intriguing unknowns. So I walked out of the shop with this, and - within minutes - began playing it. And I thought, 'Not bad. Not bad at all'. The recorded orchestral sound sounded rich and detailed, and I found the music a delight until (nearly) the end. What was nice about it was that it wasn't a relentless in-your-face Fiesta. There were a huge variety of moods and rhythms, from the primitivistic to modern Latin American dance rhythms, there was soft and wistful as well as loud and joyous. So, overall, a well balanced mix of Latin American orchestral music (the only piece that overstayed its welcome was 'Santa Cruz de Pacairigua' by Castellanos).
A very refreshing and invigorating collection. It's possible that Gustavo Dudamel and his Simon Bolivar Yourth Orchestra of Venezuela has a new fan!
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on 14 November 2014
Such lively music. Very enjoyable though works not by main stream composers. Dudamel fast establishing himself as on of the World's leading conductors. Highly recommended and very good in-car entertainment.
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on 2 April 2015
Only rates 4 stars because I only ever play track 4! Characteristic of Classic FM, you only ever hear played on their programmes the best tracks from albums (or indeed classical works in general; for example, have you ever heard anything other than 'Jupiter' and 'Mars' from 'The Planets' played??). Well worth the purchase-price for the one 'star-track' alone.
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on 11 April 2016
Great CD full of vigour and vitality as expected from Dudamel and the Simon Bolivar Orcestra.
Sadly the Conga del Fuego is not on the physical disc but is avaiable to play as a download through Prime.
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on 14 January 2016
Bought this after hearing the orchestra on Classic FM. However, the selection of music on this CD is not really my cup of tea. Maybe I should have bought the more classical, later album, as this is a bit too discordant for my taste.
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