Eduardo Mata

Aaron Copland: Symphony No. 3; Danzón cubano; El Salón México

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Eduardo Mata's splendid recordings of Aaron Copland's Symphony No. 3, Danzón Cubano, and El Salón México with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra are perennials in EMI's catalog, deservedly so for their remarkable energy, splendid orchestral color, sympathetic interpretations, and wide dynamic range. Mata's renderings of Copland's music -- whether brusque and angular, or smooth and serene -- feel natural, authentic, idiomatic, and as hardy as Leonard Bernstein's popular performances or Copland's own authoritative readings. Since fans still have their pick of their legendary versions on Sony, there is little reason to argue that Mata's recordings are in any way superior. However, they are perhaps equivalent in value, balancing both Bernstein's rawness and Copland's softer touch, and yet never sounding derivative or false. In a blindfold test, it might be difficult to distinguish Mata's recordings from either, so faithful is he to the scores and to their brash spirit. Originally recorded in 1986, this Angel/EMI reissue holds up remarkably well for its time, even by contemporary digital standards. Without any indications of remastering or other enhancements, this disc appears to be identical with the first release, and sounds extraordinarily detailed and vibrant, no doubt because of exceptional engineering.

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