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The Buffalo Chamber Players

The Buffalo Chamber Players present a Latin American program of music

The second concert in this season’s Buffalo Chamber Players series at the Buffalo Seminary on Bidwell Parkway takes place on Wednesday, November 2, at 7:30pm, and features an entire evening of music by Latin American composers—or, almost. French composer Maurice Ravel’s Piece en Forme d’un Habanera is not, of course, by a Latin American composer, but it is written as a habanera, a hugely popular dance in 19th-century Cuba that eventually crossed the Atlantic to Europe, where it featured prominently in the opera Carmen, composed by another Frenchman, Georges Bizet. The Buffalo Chamber Players have gained a reputation for eclectic programming, so it’s not surprising that the other habanera on the program, the Habanera for String Trio, is by the contemporary Cuban jazz composer Paquito D’Rivera.

Silvestre Revueltas, along with Carlos Chávez, with whom he worked, was one of the most prominent and influential Mexican composers of the first half of the 20th century. His composition Ocho Por Radio exemplifies Revueltas’ borrowing of popular Mexican musical styles and turning them into his own. Revueltas worked for the Republican side during the Spanish Civil War, returning to Mexico after Franco’s victory, where he fell into poverty, dying at the age of 40. In a 1937 article for the New York Times, Aaron Copland praises Revueltas’ music, writing that it “leaves one with a feeling of the abundance and vitality of life.”

The very prolific Heitor Villa-Lobos is Brazil’s best known composer, and his best known compositions are the nine pieces composed between 1930 and 1945 that he called Bachianas Brasileiras (Brazilian Bach pieces). Villa-Lobos felt that the traditional classical music forms, like the sonata or the quartet, were not well suited to convey a sense of Brazilian musical impressionism, so he attempted to freely adapt Baroque contrapuntal and harmonic and procedures to Brazilian music, reflected in the title of the series. The best known of these pieces is the Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5, for soprano and eight cellos, and soprano Sebnem Mekinulov will join the members of Buffalo Philharmonic cello section, led by her husband, principal cellist Roman Mekinulov, in a performance of this haunting work.

Alberto Ginastera, one of Argentina’s most distinguished composers, went through three creative periods, first using Argentine folk music in his compositions, then a period where he featured folk-like melodies and rhythms without actual quotation, much like Bartok had, before becoming a modernist, serial composer. “I composed my Pampeana No. 2, Rhapsody for Cello and Piano, without using any folkloric material,” Ginastera writes, “but it recalls the rhythms and melodic trends of the Argentine pampas.” He dedicated the work to his wife, the cellist Aurora Natola-Ginastera, who premiered it in 1950. It will be performed by BPO associate principal cellist Feng Hew and Eastman School of Music pianist Alison D’Amato.

The Argentine composer Astor Piazzolla, a one-time student of Ginastera at the Center for Advanced Musical Studies in Buenos Aires, is probably the single composer most responsible for the ongoing worldwide revival of interest in the most popular traditional Argentine dance form, the tango, infusing it with elements of both jazz and classical music. Piazzola’s composition, Invierno Porteño (Winter in Buenos Aires), was written as a separate work, but later incorporated into the composer’s The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires.

Tickets are $15 general admission, $5 for students, available at and at the door.

And the Winner Is…

The Freudig Singers of Western New York will present a concert on Saturday, October 29, at 7:30pm in the Buffalo Seminary on Bidwell Parkway, featuring the winning composition of the Second Freudig Singers International Choral Composition Competition, in which composers were invited to submit original compositions arranged for four-part choir. A total of 63 works were submitted from around the world—three continents, eight countries, and 21 states in the US. The three-member jury consisted of published composers Roland E. Martin, director of the Freudig Singers; Persis Vehar, Canisius College composer-in-residence; and Martin J. Wimmer, Depew Public Schools music teacher, radio host on Classical 94.5 WNED, and competition coordinator. Wimmer says, “We’re thrilled that we can offer this wonderful opportunity to composers, performers, and our beloved audience members, and we hope that our competition will continue to grow with each passing year.”

The first-prize winner, Steve Murray, a Massachusetts-based composer, received $1,000. Three additional works, in no particular order, received honorable mention: The Everlasting Voices by Ivan Bozicevic (Croatia), Sunrise by Valerie Showers Crescenz (Pennsylvania), and Samson by Jeffrey Cobb (Michigan). All the works will be performed at the concert and recorded.

Tickets are $12 in advance, $10 for seniors and students. At the door: $15/$13. For more information, call 667-7088.

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