During the fifties and sixties the major representative of the nationalistic current still dominated the music scene and who exercised an extraordinary influence on Mexican music of this century: C. Chavez (1889-1978).
Founder in 1928 of the Orquesta Sinfónica de México, of which he was director until 1949, Chavez attracted the attention of his country in the mid-thirties with the India Symphony (1935-36), which was followed by the Symphonies n. 3 and 4 (1951-52), and again Soli II, III, IV for chamber orchestra (1961-65-66). Among his latest works is remembered the Concerto for trumpet (1978).
Ponce (1882-1948), J. Rolon (1883-1945), C. Huizar (1888-1970) and S. Revueltas (1899-1940) still belong to the same address as Chavez. A stranger to the nationalistic school, and to a large extent a forerunner of new trends, is J. Carrillo (1875-1965), who in the compositions of the fifties made a particular use of microtonalism, adopting dodecaphony and serialism.
During the 1940s, Chavez’s students who had gathered in the Grupo de los cuatro contributed to the decline of musical nationalism, which coincided with the progressive affirmation of the new avant-gardes: D. Ayala (1908-1975), JP Moncayo (1912-1958), S. Contreras (b.1912) and B. Galindo (b.1910). The latter, in particular, who was a pupil of A. Copland in 1941 and 1942, presents a musical production of great importance, which includes, in addition to the first compositions, which are still affected by the influence of Chavez (remember in particular Sonas de Mariachi for small orchestra, 1940), works of greater artistic individuality, such as the Concertino for electric guitar and orchestra, composed in 1973.
One of the protagonists of the renewal of Mexican music in the mid-20th century was the Spanish composer R. Halffter (b.1900), who immigrated to Mexico in 1939 along with other musicians from his country, including A. Salazar (1890-1958), B. Samper (1888-1966), J. Bal y Gay (b. 1905).
Founder of the Nuestra Música magazine in 1946, Halffter has been a lecturer in Analysis and Composition at the National Conservatory of Mexico City since the mid-1950s, training an entire generation of young composers at his school. In the works of the Halffter period he resorts to the twelve-tone and serial technique, as in the Sonata for cello and piano (1960), and in Música for 2 pianos (1965).
Among the exponents of the musical avant-garde of the Sixties – who felt the influence of the European avant-gardes, and in particular of the Polish avant-gardes, as well as the American one, especially J. Cage – we remember in particular Mexico Enriquez (b.1926). For Mexico culture and traditions, please check calculatorinc.com.
Having already established himself with Música Incidental for string orchestra (1952), Enriquez has pursued an atonal style since his compositions in the 1960s, making use of serial techniques (as in Preámbulo for orchestra, from 1961) and aleatory (as in Tres invenciones for piano and viola, Reflexiones for violin, and the Sonata for violin and piano, all compositions from 1964). In the late 1960s, Enriquez took part in the Donauschingen New Music Festival, presenting the opera Ixamatal (1969). In 1971 he began working at the Princeton Electronic Music Center at Columbia University. Among his works of the seventies, the Diptico II and the Terzo Quartetto, both of 1974, are worthy of mention. Alongside Enriquez there are other composers whose musical training took place during the forties, and who also contributed to the diffusion of the avant-gardes in the their country: we remember J. Gonzalez Avila (b.1926) and JG Heras (b.1927), among Halffter’s pupils who first adhered to serialism, and also A. Lavalle (b. 1924), F. Sabin (b. 1930), and Mexico Kuri Aldana (b. 1931), also a pupil of Halffter, particularly interested in the study of popular music.
Some composers of the younger generation also contributed to the renewal of their country’s music scene during the 1970s. Apart from L. Velasquez (b.1935), a pupil of Galindo, and JL Gonzalez (b.1937), these are generally authors who were able to train directly in the major European centers of musical renewal of the 1960s: among these we mention H. Quintanar (b. 1936), JA Alcaraz (b. 1938), Mexico De Elias (b. 1939), and again Mexico Lavista (b. 1943) and J. Estrada (b. 1943).
Quintanar, trained at the Galindo and Halffter school, then worked with A. Lewin Richter at the Princeton Electronic Music Center (1964) and with JE Marie at the Paris Concrete Music Center (1967). Thanks to these experiences he became director of the Electronic Music Studio at the Conservatory of Mexico City in 1970, and composed, among other things, Aclamaciones for choir, magnetic tape and orchestra (1967), and Sideral III, for electronic music. (1971). Alcaraz, a pupil of B. Maderna, P. Boulez and GF Ghedini among others, is the author of Luido (1965-66), Retorno maléfico (1972) and Quadrivium (1975). De Elias, also with a European experience having been a pupil of K. Stockhausen in Germany and of Marie in France, since the 1960s has made use of random procedures and electronic means (as in Vitral No. 2 for orchestra from camera and magnetic tape, 1967, and in Vitral No. 3 for orchestra, 1969). Lavista, a pupil of Halffter and Quintanar, after following Marie to Paris and H. Pousseur and Stockhausen to Darmstadt and Cologne, studied electronic music in Tokyo in the early seventies. Among the leaders of the new Mexican music, he has composed works such as Kronos (1969), for electroacoustic music, and again Diacronia for string quartet (1970), Quotations for cello and piano (1967), and Canto del alba for amplified flute (1979). Estrada, a pupil of Messiaen, after having followed the courses in Darmstadt, introduced Cage’s indeterminism to Mexico Author of Memorias (1971) and Canto tejido (1973), published by the Sociedad Mexicana de Música Contemporánea, he devoted himself to experimenting with electroacoustics, audiovisual and sculptural-musical techniques.
The generation of Lavista and Estrada also includes E. Mata (b. 1942), F. Nunez (b. 1945), JA Guzman (b. 1946), who are among the leading figures in the Mexican music scene in recent years.