Mexican Song Cycles After 1920

Roberto Bañuelas, Rodolfo Halffter, Eduardo Hernández Moncada, Manuel Ponce, José Rolón


Vocal rarities rediscovered



"Tenor Juan Carlos Mendoza and pianist Jessica Monnier serve up a beautiful selection of post-Mexican revolution songs..."
Pan Pipes (SAI) [Winter 2022]
"This collection of songs...contains some lovely works. 'Desciende al valle' is a lyrical gem... [Mendoza] sings [the songs] with feeling an obvious committment... Jessica Monnier's piano accompaniments are proficient, and ther recorded sound is quite satisfactory""
Henry Fogel, Fanfare [March/April 2022]
"This program of seven cycles of songs from that period by Mexican composers shows how the musical style of Mexico, influenced strongly by European styles, shaped a new Mexican musical identity. The influence of modality, impressionism... romanticism is readily evident in these songs... Mendoza is a fine singer and performs these songs with both tenderness and ardor. Monnier handles the various demands of the music decisively, including an effective guitar simulation of harping in Ponce’s `Granada’. This is a significant cultural-expanding program of music all-too-unfamiliar to North American audiences performed and recorded very well."
Moore, American Record Guide [January/February 2022]
"Neither this music nor these composers will likely be familiar to the vast majority of potential listeners, which means the 33 songs on the CD – ably sung by Juan Carlos Mendoza with piano accompaniment by Jessica Monnier – must stand or fall almost entirely on their own... To varying degrees, these seven song cycles by six composers are Impressionistic, expressive, Romantic, dissonant, folkloric and straightforward... Mendoza sings all the works with feeling, and Monnier’s pianism contributes significantly to the effects of the songs, the keyboard often taking an equal and sometimes even more-prominent role than does the voice."
Mark J. Estren, InfoDad [December 2021]
"...the songs speak very eloquently for themselves, and they could not have asked for better interpreters than Juan Carlos Mendoza and Jessica Monnier."
Phil Muse, Atlanta Audio Club [October 2021]
This recording focuses on song cycles composed in the decades following the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920), a period in the country’s history that drastically changed the political and cultural climate in México. The included composers expanded on European compositional styles to create their own identity as Mexican composers. They infused modality, harmonic dissonance, and polytonality into impressionism and romanticism to highlight the meaning of the poetry they chose to set.

Juan Carlos Mendoza, Tenor, is a native of Muscatine, Iowa. Stage roles include Aarón/Javier in the world premiere of Tienda by Reinaldo Moya with The Schubert Club, Freddy in My Fair Lady with the Muscatine Symphony Orchestra, Tigranes in the North American premiere of Cavalli’s La Doriclea, Gloster Hemming in The Mother of Us All, and Bill in A Hand of Bridge at The Juilliard School. As a concert soloist, Mendoza has performed the Tenor Evangelist in Pärt’s Passio, and the tenor soloist in Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem, the Magnificat and Mass in G minor by J.S. Bach and Bolts of Melody by Ford. As a choral performer, Mendoza has performed in Wagner’s Tannhäuser with Lyric Opera of Chicago, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, Haydn’s Harmoniemesse, Orff’s Carmina Burana, MacMillan’s Quickening and Elgar’s The Kingdom with the Grant Park Music Festival. As a recitalist, Mendoza has appeared in New York City and throughout the Midwest, regularly performing under-represented works in Spanish and English. He was a two-time finalist in the Schubert Club’s Bruce P. Carlson Student Scholarship Competition in the Graduate and Pre-Professional divisions. Mendoza received a Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Arts degree from The University of Iowa, a Bachelor of Music degree from The Juilliard School and additional studies at the Aspen Music Festival and School. His research interests include Spanish-language art song from Latin America, particularly those of México. In addition to performing, Mendoza has served on the voice faculties of Augustana College, Drake University, Kirkwood Community College, Knox College and Monmouth College. Additional recordings by Mendoza include Five Masefield Songs on Songs By Me, For You: A Selection of Art Songs by Thomas F. Savoy. [ www.jcmendozatenor.com ]

Jessica Monnier holds a Masters of Arts in piano performance from the University of Iowa and a Bachelor of Music from the University of Northern Iowa. Her study has focused on Hungarian folk music, particularly as used by Franz Liszt and Bela Bartok. Her music has taken her world-wide including performances in Brazil with the Northern Iowa Symphony Orchestra, performances in Spain with the UNI Varsity Men’s Glee Club, and solo work in Germany. She won the People’s Choice Award at the UNI Performance Competition Finals and placed in the UNI Concerto Competition Finals. Jessica has held positions at Kirkwood Community College and the Southeastern Iowa Symphony Orchestra. She is currently a piano instructor and accompanist at Cornell College. Along with being an active  collaborator, Jessica also teaches and judges at area festivals.

Recorded 30 December 2019 to 29 January 2020 in the Voxman Music Building Concert Hall at the University of Iowa. Recording and post-production: Christopher Jensen, Pui-Yan Ronald Lau and James Edel.

TRES CANCIONES ESPAÑOLAS | Texts: Federico García Lorca
Es verdad
Las seis cuerdas
Romance de la luna, luna

MANUEL PONCE (1882-1948)
Más quiero morir por veros… | Text: Juan del Encina
Zagaleja del casar… | Text: anonymous
De las sierras… | Text: Pedro Juan Aldomar
Sol, Sol, Gi, Gi… | Text: Alonso
Desciende el valle… | Text: anonymous
Tres morillas… | Text: Diego Fernández and anonymous

LUIS SANDI (1905-1996)
La hora tranquila | Text: anonymous
La batalla | Text: anonymous
Y pensar que pudimos | Text: Ramón López Velarde
Pregón submarino | Text: Rafael Alberti

TRES POEMAS DE M. BRULL | Texts: Mariano Brull
Por el ir del río

Tropical | Text: Agustín Delgado
Dame papiro de luna | Text: Jorge Ramón Juárez
Es de noche. Te estoy viendo | Text: Librado Basilio
Madrugada | Text: Jorge Saldaña
Canción costeña | Text: Carlos Mc. Gregor Giacinti

JOSÉ ROLÓN (1876-1945)
DIBUJOS SOBRE UN PUERTO | Texts: José Gorostiza
El alba
La tarde
El faro

MARINERO EN TIERRA | Texts: Rafael Alberti
Qué altos los balcones
Siempre que sueño las playas
Gimiendo por ver el mar

MSR Classics