By Ted AYALA
The Santa Cecilia Orchestra (SCO), which finds its home in Occidental College’s Thorne Hall, closes out its 2010-2011 in a spectacular fashion on Sunday, May 22 at Occidental College’s Thorne Hall at 4 p.m. with a concert honoring two of Mexico’s – and the American continent’s – very greatest composers: Silvestre Revueltas and the late Daniel Catan, who passed away suddenly last month while serving a residency at UT Austin.
The SCO, whose mission has been to bring great music to local audiences, has programmed a powerful concert to end the season. Opening with the music of Catan’s lyrical music and closing with the percussive fury of Revueltas, the concert is already promising to be one of the most exciting to be heard anywhere in Los Angeles this season.
“We’re very excited,” said Sonia Marie de Leon de Vega, the SCO’s music director. “Audiences will be seeing a so many musicians on stage. About 100 of them altogether, plus 14 percussionists for the Revueltas piece.”
La Noche de los Mayas by Silvestre Revueltas is one of the composer’s very finest works, brimming with rhythmic vitality, orchestral brilliance and exuberant melodies. Originally a score for an eponymous documentary film, the work was arranged into a symphonic suite posthumously by Mexican composer and conductor Jose Yves Limantour who premiered this version in the early 1960s with the Guadalajara Symphony Orchestra.
“It’s a fantastic work. A great way to close the concert,” said de Leon de Vega.
However, the SCO’s celebration has now been shot through with the poignant absence of composer Daniel Catan who was expected to supervise the rehearsals and attend the concert.
“I had been in contact with him up until two days before he died,” said de Leon de Vega. “We were expecting him to meet us in late April. It’ll be difficult for us to go on without him. But the greatest tribute we can pay is to go on with the concert.”
Catan’s portion of the program will be made up with his percussion concerto Caribbean Airs (featuring percussionists Jason Goodman who was hand-picked by the composer himself, Bruce Carver, and Brad Dutz), his overture to the telenovela El Vuelo del Aguila, and an intermezzo from his final opera Il Postino, which was met with packed houses at the L.A. Opera last October. At the time of his death, the composer was supervising performances to be staged by Houston Grand Opera. Il Postino has been staged in Paris, Vienna, and Houston, and plans to make a DVD of the L.A. Opera production are in the process.
“He was a big supporter of the SCO, a big part of our family,” explained de Leon de Vega. “Maestro Catan will live on through his great music. Though he may be gone, Catan will speak through his music.”
The concert will be dedicated to Catan’s memory. Catan’s wife, the SCO’s harpist, will be in the audience.
For tickets and information call the SCO at (323)259-3011 or visit the website at www.scorchestra.org.