Suite Huasteca and Suite Tarasca by Jesús Echeverría

At least once a week, I like to skim the list of new additions to the Naxos Music Library, listening to a few tracks that pique my interest. (You can pay for the Naxos Music Library, but you might have free access to it under certain circumstances).

One day last year, an album with the Suite Huasteca and the Suite Tarasca by Jesús Echeverría, performed by the Cuarteto de Cuerdas Ruso-Americano on the Quimdecim label, caught my eye.

I listened to the Suite Tarasca first, but the Suite Huasteca is first on the album, so I’ll talk about that one first. The tremendous rhythmic vitality is obvious right off the bat, and there is even one shout in the opening “Obertura” to emphasize the excitement of the music.

The “Sonecitos por menor” relax things a bit but still teem with vitality. The following “Trotados” are called that, I’m guessing because the music suggests riding a horse.

There is a slight melancholy in the “Peteneras“, though overall the mood is quite cheerful. The concluding “Atravesado” starts off like it’s going to be a fugue.

The Suite Tarasca is rather laid-back by comparison. I listened to this one first, on account of its slightly shorter timing, I admit. There were other things in the list of new releases I wanted to at least sample that day.

But after it was over, a bit too soon perhaps, I made a mental note to myself to listen to the Suite Huasteca the next day. I can’t really remember what else I checked out those two days.

In trying to cast a wide net, to not just listen to your favorites over and over again, you’re going to run into music that doesn’t leave much of an impression. It’s worthwhile to find just a few gems like Echeverría’s suites, music that I would not find if I just stuck to the narrow confines of what music appreciation considers “great” music.

There is at least one other composition by Echeverría available on the Naxos Music Library worth checking out: the Misa Mexicana, my second favorite non-Latin setting of the Roman Catholic mass (my favorite such mass being Mša glagolskaja by Leoš Janáček). I have several quibbles with the Spanish translation Echeverría uses, but these get more into theology and for now I will assume Echeverría used someone else’s translation.

Like Zoltán Kodály with with his Missa Brevis adding a “Missa ita est,” or Janáček adding an organ cadenza and processional and recessional, Echeverría has his own eccentricity by having a “Communion” and “Thanks be to God” after the “Agnus Dei“.

I can’t find much information on Echeverría. He’s got his share of Google-gängern, most of them athletes, it seems, and that’s even after accounting that his name uses the syllable “ve” rather than “va.” But if you Google “Jesús Echeverría composer” you might find his official website, where I learned that he’s also a conductor and an instructor of analysis, composition, conducting and “technological studies” at Musikene.

There are a few more compositions by Echeverría available on the Naxos Music Library, which I’ll get around to checking out. And also the Orquesta Sinfónica de Navarra will premiere a new percussion concerto of his, with soloist Javier Odriozola, next year if not this year. If you happen to be in Navarra, it would be a concert worth attending.

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