Founded three years ago, the Post-Classical Ensemble has made an impressive addition to the Washington musical scene. The group's enlightening, adventurous programs have introduced an ethnic repertoire touching on a broad band of musical cultures from folkish Transylvanian bands and Sephardic songs to works of Iberian mystics, and the ensemble's unorthodox fare has attracted large audiences.
On Thursday the group performed music by three composers grouped as "Mexican revolutionaries": Silvestre Revueltas, Manuel Ponce and Carlos Chavez. Held in the Mexican Cultural Institute's elegant hall, the concert opened with Revueltas's "Planos" for wind-string octet, then moved on to piano pieces by Ponce, Chavez's String Quartet No. 1 and Revueltas's String Quartet No. 4. Identified with socio-political causes championed in Mexico's 1910 revolution, these composers' "revolutionary" tendencies actually lie in their stylistic integration of indigenous Indian and imported Hispanic popular music into works crafted on European neoclassical models.
Angel Gil-Ordonez led an intriguing reading of "Planos," a piece engulfed in tonal dissonance and rhythmic dance innuendos. The other works were played industriously by students not yet up to the Post-Classical's usual standards. Silvana Santinelli offered expressive versions of the Chavez, but the string players have yet to perform as one ensemble.
-- Cecelia Porter