Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel is one of the most admired conductors of his generation, chiefly because of his energetic and exciting concerts and eagerly sought recordings on Deutsche Grammophon. Yet a new side of Dudamel emerges with this original soundtrack album for the film, The Liberator (Libertador), for which he composed and conducted the score on this 2014 release. The historical drama, directed by Alberto Arvelo, presents Simón Bolívar as the hero of numerous battles to free Latin America from Spanish rule, and the film's epic subject is conveyed in Dudamel's somber and brooding score. He paints scenes effectively with delicate folk-like themes on ethnic instruments and vigorous dance or martial rhythms, though there is a dominant current of wistfulness that mingles with melancholy, adding dimensions of human feeling to the music. In this recording, Dudamel leads the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, an orchestra fully versed in his manner of communication, and their work together in performing Latin orchestral music has prepared them for this effort. The sound of the recording is quite open, deep, and spacious, giving a cinematic feeling to the music, and the orchestra's tone colors are vividly reproduced.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson