I play this piece on the Day of the Dead. This is my personal way of commemorating this event. I don’t an erect an altar, because not all Mexicans do, but I remember buying an album of Silvestre Revueltas’s music about a decade ago at the Tower Records that used to be at the Tustin Marketplace. The cover of that album had a portion of Diego Rivera’s mural Sueño de una tarde dominical en la alameda, featuring La catrina. This album with the catrina on the cover was the second recording of La noche de los mayas that I heard. My very first exposure to this work and the music of Revueltas came over ten years ago. I bought a CD at Samara Musical, which is no longer in business, on 1st & Broadway in Downtown Santa Ana, where else? The album was Nacionalismo Musical Mexicano and I was greatly impacted after hearing this work and discovering Revueltas.
La noche de los mayas by Silvestre Revueltas is one of my favorite symphonic works and it is arguably the single greatest work of Mexican symphonic music. It was originally composed for a film of the same name dating to 1939. The music was so great that it was arranged as a symphonic suite because the music stood on its own.
Here is a version with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. This is a very fine interpretation of it with the LA Phil’s former conductor Esa Pekka Salonen. I have this recording too.
This is the fourth movement: Noche de encantamiento
Here’s an old picture of me with Ruby Castellanos as “La Catrina” back in 2005. $5.