Angel Sánchez Enríquez x Athens Philharmonia Orchestra – À Laura, Op. 1: II. La mer et les étoiles (Spotify)

“If music had a soul, it would be enclosed in this classical composition. Its sound flies like a free bird in the clear sky. Deep sound of symphonic instruments for your favourite playlist.”

“Если у музыки есть душа, то она заключена в этой классической композиции и словно огненная птица вырвалась на свободу, чтобы порадовать нас. Глубочайшее благоговение, настоящее наследие симфонической классики в вашем плейлисте.”

Navona Records proudly presents PRISMA VOL. 4, the fourth installment in the acclaimed PRISMA series showcasing the best of American contemporary composition.

Brian Belet's three-movement string orchestra work Stellar Nebulae starts off the album. The multi-layered I. Emergence is aptly contrasted with the calm II. Contemplation, before culminating in the animated finale of III. Expansion. The structure is classical, the tonal language modern, but with influences reminiscent of Baroque concertos. Mara Gibson strives to paint an impression of a small island's ecology in Secret Sky. Completely novel and original in its concept, this work is based on the migratory patterns of birds on Beaver Island MI. A similarly nature-themed inspiration is the background of Rain Worthington's Shadows of the Wind. It graphically evokes the changing silhouettes of leaves and branches cast on walls during a storm, mirroring the workings of the human subconscious.

Next up is Angel Sanchez' symphonic poem À Laura, a three-movement dedication to a beloved woman. I. La petite Princesse is a feisty characterisation of the heroine, II. La mer et les étoiles aptly portrays the beauty of the dedicatee's beloved sea and stars, while III. Feu is an uninhibited declaration of passion. There is an air of martiality to Adrienne Albert's Courage for Winds, its beginning centered around a recurring snare drum beat. Commissioned by the Inland Empire Youth Wind Symphony Commissioning Consortium, it reflects the battle against adversity in a tonal language that is decidedly American. John Franek's Mithridates epically closes the album with a punch of Dvořákian opulence: its unbridled energy remains profoundly reminiscent of the highly dramatic Slavic musical tradition of the late 19th Century.

PRISMA VOL. 4 seamlessly takes up on the quality listeners have come to expect from this series. In its diversity, this apposite cross section has something to satisfy not only every mood, but also every taste.

Angel Sánchez Enríquez was born in Mexico City in 1971. He graduated from the Superior School of Music which belongs to the National Institute of Fine Arts in Mexico City, with a Bachelor of Music in Percussion. He also studied piano and orchestral conducting with Yulia Vischnevetskaia and violin with Guela Dubrova. As a conductor, he studied orchestration with composer Héctor Quintanar, Carlos Chavez’s pupil, and conducting with Yuri Simonov in Moscow, Russia.

Sanchez was Associate Conductor since 1997 for several Broadway musicals such as Beauty and the Beast by Disney (1997), The Phantom of the Opera (2000) by Lloyd Weber, and Les Misérables (2005) by Cameron Mackintosh. He was the musical conductor in Fiddler on the Roof (2006) with the brass section of the Mexico City Philharmonic Orchestra under the supervision of Kristen Blodgette. He currently conducts symphonic orchestras in Mexico, Berlin, and Moscow.

In 2019, he recorded his Op. 1 A Laura for orchestra, a work describing the life of his beloved Laura in music. “This music is aimed at understanding without words the most delicate nuances of feelings in a universal language.” His work Op. 2 Vercingétorix was selected to be performed by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. This work has a strong character, describing in music a historical event with traditional Celtic music. Recently he composed his Op. 3 Jeanne d’Arc which narrates the life of the Maiden of Orléans.

Reviewed by Nagamag on March 1, 2022