<< -- 3 -- Carson P Cooman COMPELLING LISTENING
Also included on this disc are Balada's Homage to Sarasate (1975) and Homage to Casals (1975) -- works that began his explorations into employing folk elements in his work. The final composition on the disc is Zapata: Images for Orchestra (1984), a suite of four extracts from his opera Zapata about the life of the Mexican revolutionary. Traditional Mexican tunes, such as La Cucaracha are used in the suite. It is warm-blooded and life-affirming, containing a Waltz, March, Elegy, and Wedding Dance
[listen -- track 8, 0:00-1:02].
There are few composers today who integrate avant-garde orchestral textures and effects with the warm ethos of tonal folk music as well as Balada does. It is music that appeals on every level -- to both the brain and the heart. Balada is also a superb orchestral colorist which, even in the bleakest moments of any of these pieces, always makes for compelling listening.
At Naxos's bargain prices, this disc is a must have, and if one has not begun to collect the other discs in Naxos's ongoing Balada series, this is an ideal one with which to start.