Carlos Chávez – A Program of Mexican Music

For once i actually have plenty of stuff that i’m pretty excited about but i’m sticking with the chronological order of things. And this has been laying around since before the summer so i figured it’s time to post it and then get to move along to more exciting things…

Carlos Chávez – A Program of Mexican Music (Columbia Records Masterworks – ML 2080)

When i started my record/cover collection this was selling for quite high prices and didn’t show up on ebay all that often. Lately both of these things have changed. Even though great looking copies still generate high prices i would say that in general prices has dropped quite a bit. It’s also not uncommon to see it on ebay, right now there are a few copies available there and a couple of discogs as well. As with the Alexander Nevsky i don’t care too much for this cover so i’ve been a little hesitant to try and get it even though prices are now within my range. But seeing as it (probably?) is the first recognized Warhol cover i’ve still always wanted to get a copy. Usually i’m clued to the screen at the end of an auction that i’m watching but if i remember correct i didn’t follow this auction with that much interest, i placed my bid early and then ended up as the winner.

I’ve rean on both Frank Edwards blog and Richard Forrest’s list on rateyourmusic that there supposedly are three variations of this cover – basically green, blue and yellow. I’m not convinced this is the case though. I’ve been looking at images on popsike and i have a hard time distinguishing a difference between the possible green and yellow version. As far as i can tell the difference in color is most likely due to lighting and the age/condition of the cover. One thing that is certain though is that the blue version is much more scarce and still sells for quite high prices. Personally i also like the blue version better but this will do, for now…

I was trying to find an acceptable copy without it costing me too much and i think i got a pretty good condtion vs. price ratio on this, if i remember correct i payed about $40-50 for it. I’m not that concerned about the condition of this but it does have some issues. There is some general discoloration to both the front and back, some small markings next to the names of the songs, various stickers and things on the back and also the bottom seam is split maybe 1-2 cm at the opening. So… taking all of this into account i still think it’s an OK copy and seeing as i don’t really like it i’m not at all bothered by these issues.

From what i’ve been able to piece together the music is a recording of one or more concerts that was held in connection with an exhibition in 1940 at The Museum of Modern Art in New York. The exhibition was called Twenty Centuries of Mexican Art and from what i’ve read in this quite interesting old article Carloz Cháves conducted the first three evening concerts on the 16-18th of may in 1940. There is also a program/booklet from this exhibition that has sometimes been included in the auction for the record. The funny thing was that as i was browsing ebay this morning preparing to make this post i actually found a copy of this program. It was listed with a BIN price of just $10 and i though it would make a nice complement to the record. Once again i took the liberty to ship it to my personal postal worker in the US…

There were not that many images of the inside of the booklet in the listing but looking at one of them i would say it’s quite clear what Warhol was asked to draw or where he got his inspiration from…

AProgramOfMexicanMusic1 AProgramOfMexicanMusic2
AProgramOfMexicanMusic3

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11 thoughts on “Carlos Chávez – A Program of Mexican Music

  1. We seem to share the same idea here, Niklas. I also believe there are only 2 colors of the Mexican Music cover; and that the perception of a ‘yellow’ cover originated by photographic circumstances on internet. Through the years I bought 2 copies on eBay that appeared yellow, but when my purchase arrived turned out they both had the same green color. So until someone can provide a picture that has three covers in different color in it, I believe there only are two.

  2. Great post, by the way. Also about the 1940 booklet. Sometimes you’ll read about this cover that Warhol did it on demand of the Museum of Modern Art. This of course is not true. Exhibition and concerts took place in 1940. At that time the music was issued on 4 records 78rpm. Cover art was by Alex Steinweiss. Just like the Alexander Nevsky, Warhol’s 1949 version was part of a serie of reissues by Columbia on the brand new LP format.

  3. Great post, Niklas – as usual! Congratulations on getting the “Program of Mexican Music” LP. I agree with you that it is not a very beautiful cover, but as it is (like the Nevsky cover) a combinaiton of a Warhol illustration on a basic Alex Steinweiss design, I think it essential.
    Now, can anyone tell me whether the booklet was included in copies of the 1949 LP or was it only available from the 1940 MOMA exhibition? My (green) copy of the LP does not include a booklet.

    • At the back of the booklet it says: “Ten thousand copies of this book have been printed for the trustees of the Museum Of Modern Art in May, 1940 (…)” It’s a very nice 32 pages book, with elaborate notes on each musical piece in the concert, and an introduction by Carlos Chavez. It was not included with the LP in 1949, nor with the boxset of 4 records in 78 rpm. I have no idea in which that one was issued.
      AW used an illustration in the booklet to make his drawing. He probably copied it with tracing paper, and then did his blotted line thing.

    • Thanks Richard! And it was quite the coincidence that it happened to be on ebay that day. I haven’t looked for it really but if 10 000 copies were made as Guy says i would assume this is quite possible to find.

  4. Pingback: Highs and lows of 2014 | ratfab

  5. Pingback: A Program of Mexican Music | Andy Earhole

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