Our friend Celeste got a chance to see the show, and sent in this report...
The Tiempo Libre show at the National Arts Centre on Friday proved to be a great success - at least from my seat at the "Grande Dame." I'm not a regular there, but my guess is that it's rare to find folks dancing in the aisles, and just about the whole audience clapping along. That was during Part III, when Tiempo Libre performed all by itself - mostly dynamic, timba-jazz arrangements of Cuban classics such as "Guantanamera" and "A Bayamo en Coche." (There was little from the band in the way of actual original pieces).
II consisted of Ricardo Lorenz's Rumba Sinfónica, a sort of
conversation between a symphony orchestra and the timba band - just how
the composer described it prior to the performance. It was neither a
timba band with an orchestra in the background, nor an orchestra with
the band as an exotic decoration. A tumbao portion especially added to
the build up and finale of the 25-minute piece.
came as a nice surprise right at the start (i.e. Part I) was Gershwin's
'Cuban Overture' - I hadn't even heard of it before. Apparently,
Gershwin was taken aback with Cuban music during a vacation in the
1930s on the Island, and wrote the piece upon return. I'm not a classical or pops music expert, but the
snippets of popular songs like "Échale salsita" were nicely woven in to
the piece. It occured to me that it could be (or perhaps has already
been?) part of a great soundtrack for a film about Cuba. For that
matter, the same could be said of Rumba Sinfónica, but the latter has
yet to be recorded.