The Westerville Symphony, under the direction of Maestro Peter Stafford Wilson, presents a concert devoted to music by Mexican composers. Included on the program are two of the “unofficial anthems” of Mexico: Danzon # 2 by Arturo Márquez and Huapango by José Pablo Moncayo. Featured is Columbus-based guitarist Karl Wolhwend with his performance of Manuel María Ponce’s Concierto del Sur. The orchestra also performs the exuberant El Salón México by the great American composer Aaron Copland.
Mexican culture is as rich and diverse as the people who live there. Musicians build musical bridges to the cultures of the music we perform and bring our insight to audiences. A shared experience of diverse cultures through musical experience. Of his first trip to Mexico Aaron Copland wrote: “In some inexplicable way while milling about in those crowded halls, I had felt a live contact with the Mexican people--that electric sense one gets sometimes in far-off places, of suddenly knowing the essence of a people--their humanity, their shyness, their dignity and unique charm. I remember quite well that it was at just such a moment I conceived the idea of composing a piece about Mexico and naming it El Salón México.” This trip took place in 1932 and Copland’s objective was a search for local culture, not popular tourist destinations.. “For a couple of months I lived in a village where there were no tourists and somehow I managed to get the ‘feel’ of the country.” What emerged was El Salón México, a fanciful work loosely based on popular Mexican themes. As a “gringo” composer, Copland was worried about how his work would be received as he travelled to Mexico City for its premiere. Of this reception he wrote: “As I entered the hall the orchestral players, who were in the thick of a Beethoven symphony, suddenly stopped what they were doing and began to applaud vigorously. What they were expressing, I soon realized, was not so much appreciation for one composer’s work, as their pride in the fact that a foreign composer had found their own familiar tunes worthy of treatment.”