Program 154
"The Pleasures of Ponce"


MUSIC: Ponce: excerpt from Gavota performed by The State of Mexico Symphony Orchestra conducted by Enrique Bátiz [ASV Digital CD DCA 926, track 4] [under the following]

Hello and welcome to Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman, and for the next hour let’s enjoy the “Pleasures of Ponce” together.

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Manuel Ponce, who lived from 1882 until 1948, was a Mexican composer, music educator and scholar of Mexican popular and folk music who made use of this tradition in his concert works.

He studied in France, Italy and Germany, in addition to Mexico. He met the Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos in Paris in the 1920s, after which Villa-Lobos wrote: “I remember that I asked him at that time if the composers of his country were as yet taking an interest in native music, as I had been doing since 1912, and he answered that he himself had been working in that direction. It gave me great joy to learn that in that distant part of my continent there was another artist who was arming himself with the resources of the folklore of his people in the struggle for the future musical independence of his country.”

Ponce is an unabashedly romantic composer, which is undoubtedly what attracts me to his music. A very good example of this is his Piano Concerto, a youthful work written in 1910 and first performed two years later. Let’s listen to an all-Mexican performance of that entire 20-minute work to begin this hour. The pianist is Jorge Federico Osorio, and the State of Mexico Symphony Orchestra is conducted by Enrique Bátiz.

MUSIC: Ponce: Piano Concerto performed by pianist Jorge Federico Osorio, and the State of Mexico Symphony Orchestra conducted by Enrique Bátiz [ASV Digital CD DCA 926, tracks 1 - 3] [20:12]

Manuel Ponce’s Piano Concerto. The pianist was Jorge Federico Osorio. The State of Mexico Symphony Orchestra was conducted by Enrique Bátiz.

Another work for piano and orchestra by Ponce, now, this time showing a bit more Mexican folk influence: his 1914 Balada Mexicana / Mexican Ballad. This is from the same ASV Digital recording with the same orchestra and conductor, but the pianist this time is Eva Suk.

MUSIC: Ponce: Balada Mexicana, performed by pianist Eva Suk and the State of Mexico Symphony Orchestra conducted by Enrique Bátiz [ASV Digital CD DCA 926, track 6] [11:25]

Manuel Ponce’s Balada Mexicana. The pianist was Eva Suk. The State of Mexico Symphony Orchestra was conducted by Enrique Bátiz. My thanks to ArkivMusic.com for supplying this imported ASV Digital compact disc recording.

We are enjoying “The Pleasures of Ponce” on this hour of Compact DIscoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman.

[optional one-minute break not included in total timing]

Two more pieces from from this same recording now, after which we’ll conclude with some of Ponce’s gorgeous piano music. The first of these pieces reminds me of the music of Grieg. I don’t hear anything Mexican about it. But the second piece is a short work called Dance of the Ancient Mexicans - which is very well named. First here’s Gavota / Gavotte with the State of Mexico Symphony Orchestra conducted by Enrique Bátiz.

MUSIC: Ponce: Gavota, performed by the State of Mexico Symphony Orchestra conducted by Enrique Bátiz [ASV Digital CD DCA 926, track 4] [6:18]

MUSIC: Ponce: Danse des Anciens Mexicains, performed by the State of Mexico Symphony Orchestra conducted by Enrique Bátiz [ASV Digital CD DCA 926, track 7] [1:45]

Two orchestral pieces by Manuel Ponce. First we heard Gavota, then Dance of the Ancient Mexicans. Both were performed by the State of Mexico Symphony Orchestra conducted by Enrique Bátiz.

Ponce wrote many beautiful piano pieces, and I have in front of me a recording of 24 of them by Jorge Federico Osorio on a Cedille compact disc. This is such a superb collection that I’m having great difficulty in picking out just four of them for you to hear in the time we have left in this hour.

I’ll start with Ponce’s biggest international hit: a short piece called Estrelita / Little Star

MUSIC: Ponce: Estrelita performed by pianist Jorge Federico Osorio [Cedille CDR 90000 086, track 1] [2:36]

Estrelita by Manuel Ponce, played by Jorge Federico Osorio.

Have you ever heard of a Mexican mazurka? Well Ponce wrote just about as many mazurkas as Chopin, and they show Chopin’s influence. Here, for example, is his Mazurca No. 23 in A Minor.

MUSIC: Ponce: Mazurca No. 23 in A Minor performed by pianist Jorge Federico Osorio [Cedille CDR 90000 086, track 19] [3:27]

Manuel Ponce’s Mazurca No. 23 in A Minor, performed by pianist Jorge Federico Osorio.

Next one of Ponce’s Estudios de Concierto / Concert Studies: Number 7: Juventud [who-wen-tud] / Youth.

MUSIC: Ponce: Estudios de Concierto performed by pianist Jorge Federico Osorio [Cedille CDR 90000 086, track 4] [2:09]

Manuel Ponce’s Estudios de Concierto / Concert Studies: Number 7: Juventud [who-wen-tud] / Youth. The pianist was Jorge Federico Osorio, as it will be on our final two selections, both from Ponce’s Trozos Romanticos / Romantic Pieces. First Souvenir, then Quimera.

MUSIC: Ponce: Souvenir from “Trozos Romanticos” performed by pianist Jorge Federico Osorio [Cedille CDR 90000 086, track 7] [1:50]

MUSIC: Ponce: Quimera from “Trozos Romanticos” performed by pianist Jorge Federico Osorio [Cedille CDR 90000 086, track 8] [2:07]

Two pieces from Ponce’s Trozos Romanticos / Romantic Pieces. First we heard Souvenir, then Quimera. The pianist was Jorge Federico Osorio. This was on a Cedille compact disc recording from the Chicago Classical Recording Foundation.

MUSIC: Ponce: excerpt from Gavota performed by The State of Mexico Symphony Orchestra conducted by Enrique Bátiz [ASV Digital CD DCA 926, track 4] [under the following]

And that brings to an end this hour of Compact Discoveries devoted to “The Pleasures of Ponce.” I hope you enjoyed it. If you missed any of this hour or would like to hear it again, go to www.compactdiscoveries.com on the internet where you’ll find links to stream most Compact Discoveries programs on demand without charge. Look for program number 154. At the web site you’ll also find scripts for every Compact Discoveries program with complete information on every selection. There are some other features there as well, including my lists of recommended orchestral music, concert DVDs, and CDs and DVDs of classics for kids.

This is Fred Flaxman thanking you for listening and for supporting your local public radio station. It is that kind of support which makes the broadcast of this program possible in your community.

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ANNOUNCER [Steve Jencks]: Compact Discoveries is made possible in part by grants from an anonymous donor, Isabel and Marvin Leibowitz, the Puffin Foundation ("continuing the dialogue between art and the lives of ordinary people"), and Barry and Florence Friedberg. It is a production of Compact Discoveries, Inc., a nonprofit, tax-exempt corporation located at 36 Pickens Lane, Weaverville, North Carolina, and on the web at compactdiscoveries.com. These programs are distributed to public radio stations nationwide through PRX, the Public Radio Exchange. [0:30]

Program Ends at 58:00

 
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