The Inter-American Festival moved along at a spirited clip last night with Maestra Carmen Moral on the podium, making her Washington debut. This dynamic and highly capable Peruvian artist was made music director of her country's National Symphony in 1970, the first woman to become permanent conductor of an orchestra in Latin America.
Moral brought purpose and confidence to a vidid program, which opened dramatically with the work "Eagles," a Pulitzer Prize-winning Ned Rorem. Inspired by a Walt Whitman poem, the music was tightly written and possessed considerable inner force.
Argentinian composer Gerardo Gandini appeared as soloist in the world premiere of his Concerto for Piano and Orchestra. Hypnotic in effect, the concerto was full of complex textures and unusual sonorities that unfolded with almost frenetic energy. Gandini's performance was compelling.
Peru's Edgar Valcercel was on hand to acknowledge the applause given to his "Anti Memorias No. 2," another world premiere. Like the Gandini, it, too, was a work of complex texture used, in this case, to create a fractured world of sliding sounds and distorted visions. Held together by a strong unity of mood, the music proved almost surrealistic in effect.
The program closed with the Concerto for Orchestra by Venezuelan Antonio Estevez. Stylish and well written, it explored strong, simple themes of folk nature.