Samuel Zyman: 3 Conciertos / Marisa Canales, flute, Mercedes Gomez, harp / Echenique


Mexico's leading classical music label, Urtext Digital Classics, offers a catalog of well over a hundred titles, most of which feature artists and composers from The Americas. This recent release titled 3 Conciertos from March of 2014 offers a trio of concertos by Mexican composer Samuel Zyman, one each for flute, harp, and a double concerto with the two instruments combined. The flute soloist is Marisa Canales, co-founder and CEO of Urtext. She, along with harpist Mercedes Gómez and conductor Benjamín Juárez Echenique with the Orquesta de las Américas have long been involved in the performance and support of Zyman's music.

Samuel Zyman, born in 1956, is among the most prominent Mexican composers working today. His compositions include film scores, concertos, orchestral works, chamber music and solo piano pieces. On faculty at the Julliard School in New York City since 1986, this award-winning composer has been performed in the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Europe and South America.

Samuel Zyman's music is an interesting synthesis of contrasting influences. There is no question, a sense of his Mexican heritage is audible, but the music is also characterized by such diverse influences as Baroque styles and structures, French impressionism, modal harmonies and jazz. It's music marked by rhythmic vigor, fresh melodies, brilliant colors and sometimes, a cinematic sweep. It is often highly chromatic, but more on a melodic level than a harmonic one, so the tonal center is rarely ever in question. This is music written to draw its listener in, to engage, challenge, thrill, and to entertain.

The album sample I have for you to hear is the third and concluding movement, Presto, from Zyman's Flute Concerto No. 2 "De Mineria". From the opening measures, the composer's flair for writing dramatic and mysterious music is evident. These performers, immersed for so long in Zyman's music, provide completely idiomatic performances.

Samuel Zyman: Concierto for flute and orchestra/Marisa Canales, flute