El Salon Mexico is one of the first works in Copland's so-called populist style. Traveling in Mexico, Copland visited a dance hall of the same name. Impressed by the spirit and character of the its common patronage, he composed a 10-minute work that contains fragments of more than nine different Mexican tunes from two separately published collections.
Though Copland once called the work an "exotic travel souvenir," the manner in which the Latin American rhythms and distinctive timbres conjoin to form a highly individual, exuberant synthesis points to the work of a master composer.
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