October 19, 2008

The Night of the Mayas

'Retiring by degrees'

Knowles to let go of role as conductorIn his probable last season as music director, Knowles calls the opening concert of the 2008-2009 season—“Viva Mexico!”—an intriguing and adventurous leap into music from south of the border.

“It’s a great piece of music and very difficult to play. I’m even a part of it in a strange way,” Knowles said of the concert.

It is the first time the orchestra will play a concert of exclusively Latin-American music. The major work of the program will be the cinematic suite “The Night of the Mayas” by Mexican composer Silvestre Revueltas. The concert opens at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18.

The music originally was written for a 1939 Mexican movie, shot on location, about a white hunter who stumbles across a tribe of people in the Yucatan who are living exactly in the manner of their Mayan ancestors. He falls in love with a native girl, but the story turns tragic when the two are accused of witchcraft (causing drought and the subsequent crop failure), and she is sacrificed.

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