by Amy Dennison

If you’re like me, you like your food spicy and wishing that the next good restaurant that comes to town will be an authentic Mexican restaurant  where the food has an extra kick and excites all your senses. Well, welcome to our salute to Cinco de Mayo and a bevy of musical selections that will spice up your evening and leave you wishing for a plateful of tacos or whatever is your fave combination!

So what will you hear at our May 3 concert that will perk up your ears? Two of the works on the concert hail from non-Latin American countries; that is the Cuban Overture by George Gershwin and the Capriccio Espagnol by the Russian giant, Rimsky-Korsakov. I suspect they were paying homage to the exotic colors and sounds of these countries. The rest of the composers you may not have heard of. They hail from Mexico, Spain, Brazil, Argentina, and Cuba.

So what makes this music spicy? Lively driving tempos, exotic and languid melodic lines that favor chromatics, incessant repeated and syncopated rhythms that create tension – but in a good way – , lots of unusual percussion sounds and most of all the conjuring up of romantic visions. Images of smoky dance floors, hot climates, lovely ladies, well dressed men and beautiful locations. Remember that scene in Guys and Dolls?

Margarita anyone?

Amy Dennison is an oboist for the Cincinnati Community Orchestra. You can find her blog at