Latin Fiesta! is firing up to be the most evocative concert on the main stage this year.

With the concert a slight departure from some of the more traditional programming in the WASO subscription series, we spoke with Alan Tyrrell, Artistic Planning Manager here at WASO, to get his take on this exciting performance.

It’s always nice to break the mould once in a while. When we were planning for 2021 we wanted to invite James Crabb back to WASO, and we knew that Jessica Gethin would be a good conductor for this program, and so the stars started to align!”

The program starts with Alberto Ginastera’s Estancia: Four Dances. Originally written for a ballet score, when the ballet was unable to be staged Ginastera extracted four movements to form the Four Dances concert suite. The ballet was inspired by Argentinian poem El gaucho Martin Fierro, which depicts a day in the life of an estancia or cattle ranch.

“A lot of the pieces in this concert are driven by pulsating and syncopated rhythms, so you’ll notice a lot more percussionists than usual. There are six alone required for the Ginastera work!”

James Crabb

James Crabb then brings Piazzolla’s sultry sounds of urban Buenos Aires to the stage, performing the Concerto for Bandoneón (the accordion’s smaller button-key cousin).

“There is no conductor for the Bandoneón Concerto and James Crabb will play/direct this himself. The orchestra gets stripped right back in size for this work and the piano will be wedged in-between the violins. The rhythmical and harmonic importance of the piano is central to the sound picture of this work, so James will need a sharp focus and clear sightline to the pianist.”

Márquez fuses classical methods with Mexican influences in Leyenda de Miliano, a symphonic poem commemorating Emiliano Zapata, key figure in the Mexican Revolution.

Then Grofé captures the vast North American landscape with vivid detail in the epic Grand Canyon Suite. Inspired by a holiday in Arizona, this work brings back many memories for Alan.

“I did a 10-week tour of North America back in 1998 with my old band. I was lucky enough to take a helicopter tour over the Grand Canyon whilst I was there and it was the most spectacular sight and an experience that I’ll never forget. This Suite brings it all back!”

“Alongside experiencing the breathtaking moments brought to life by Grofé, look out for the wind machine and thunder sheet that are used to whip up a storm in the second movement, Cloudburst.”

Alan at the Grand Canyon in 1998 – snow and all!

Though the Grand Canyon Suite may bring Alan’s memories to life, Revueltas’ Sensemayá is arguably the most visual of all the works in the concert. Displaying African rhythmic influences in a modern orchestral setting, Sensemayá viscerally depicts the ritualized killing of a snake. The incantatory text of the poem from which the piece takes its name acts as a springboard for propulsive and primal rhythms.

Moncayo’s Huapango brings the concert to an energetic close.

“This one is guaranteed to get your toes tapping or even dancing in your seat. It’s bursting at the seams with energy and a great finale.”

“The music is so passionate and seductive this concert could be the most fun of the year. The last time we had a program like this back in 2008, I had just joined WASO and I remember the audience and orchestra alike went wild. I can’t wait.”


Latin Fiesta!

Friday 28th May 2021, 7.30pm

Perth Concert Hall