Alexis Aranda is a composer whose star is rising — and not just in his native Mexico. Aranda’s style incorporates native folk traditions into a post-tonal classical language. The blend is exciting, accessible, and yields music of real substance.

This release features three concertos by Aranda; a concerto for flute, another for piano, and a double concerto for flute and guitar.

Flutist Marisa Canales matches her performance to Aranda’s language. In his flute concerto, her playing is quite breathy. The effect emulates the sound of Mexican pan pipes and accentuates the connection between Aranda and his roots.

That connection is further reinforced in the double concerto. Guitarist Jaime Marquez’s performance, though classically based, leans towards flamenco.

Aranda performs his own piano concerto. He knows exactly what he wants to achieve with this music. And as the work unfolds, so does the listener. The work is quite rhythmic, with the piano delivering short, percussive bursts throughout.

And yet it’s melodic structure continually pulls the listener along to its quite logical and satisfying conclusion.

Aranda may reference folk elements, but he knows his business. The harmonies are quite sophisticated. And the fugue in the flute concerto finale shows Aranda’s skill as a classical composer. The counterpoint is sure-footed in a style that could only have been written in this century.

Highly recommended.

Alexis Aranda: Conciertos
Concerto for Flute and Orchestra; Concerto for Flute, Guitar, and Orchestra; Concerto for Piano and Orchestra
Marisa Canales, flute; Jaime Marquez, guitar; Alexis Aranda, piano; Camerata de Coahula, Ramon Shade, conductor
Urtext JBCC3306/7   2 CD Set