Last night's Inter-American Festival concert in the Kennedy Center brought forward on new work and three others by composers well-known to musicians in this hemisphere. The evening's novelty was Paul Turok's Danza Viva, a short work running just under four minutes, in which the composer has done his best to make a symphony orchestra recall sounds currently popular is discos.
That he cannot succeded is due, among other things, to the far lower volume in our concert halls - for which thanks may be given-the violent disparity in the origins of sounds in, say Studio 54, and the Concert Hall of the Kennedy Center, and probably also due to the absence of the ceaseless roving strobe lights that increase the disco's feeling of being rather out than any place else. The ultimate effect is that of a nice, pale attempt.
Camargo Guarneri's Suite Vila Rica and Juan Jose Castro's Corales Criollos, reminders of the sambas and rumbas and other native rhythms that thrive in Rio and Buenos Aires, dress characteristic ideas in svelte orchestral clothes.
It was only with Leonard Bernstein's exquisite Serenade for solo violin, strings, harp and percussion that the concert's musical level reached unusual heights. This work, which may be the most neglected of all Bernstein's symphonic compositions, is also one of his most personal and flawlessly worked out pieces.
Its five movements derive their inspiration from five of the philosophers who debate the subject of love in Plato's "Symposium." The solo volin speaks eloquently in different styles and moods over and against a background of richly woven harmonic and contrapuntal textures.
Under the baton of Argentine conductor Julio Malaval most of the playing was competent, though there were intonation problems scattered around the stage in the Berstein, whose soloist was Ruben Gonzalez.