Jean-Pascal Hamelin / Youth Orchestra of the Americas

From the New World

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Fidelio Music's album From the New World not only assembles a program of music from the New World, but even an ensemble made up of musicians from across the hemisphere. The Youth Orchestra of the Americas 2009 consists of young artists from both North and South America and is led by conductor Jean-Pascal Hamelin. As would be expected from such a title, the program perfunctorily includes Dvorák's Symphony No. 9. This can be a hard sell for even the best youth ensemble, not because it is a terribly difficult piece to put together, but because practically every major orchestra in the world has recorded the piece many times over. This makes little errors and blemishes not only more noticeable, but less easily overlooked. Hamelin ensures that his orchestra puts forth a valiant effort, though there are still some intonation issues in the upper register of the violins and the brass are at times inexcusably loud, drowning out much of the orchestra. More successful, perhaps, are the lesser-known works by Mexican Arturo Márquez and Canadian John Estacio. The rhythmic intensity and crisp articulation in both Márquez's Danzón No. 2 and Estacio's Bootlegger's Tarantella play a big part in keeping listeners attentive. Fidelio's super-high fidelity is superbly clear and rich.

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