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Carlos Guastavino: The Complete Piano Music
     

Carlos Guastavino: The Complete Piano Music

by Martin Jones
 
Argentines, it is said, are Italians who speak Spanish and think they're British but wish they were French. The country's concert music accordingly has quite a mixture of influences that coalesce into a distinctive nationalist viewpoint. Argentine musical nationalism remained strong enough through the twentieth century to resist the modernist onslaught. Its foremost

Overview

Argentines, it is said, are Italians who speak Spanish and think they're British but wish they were French. The country's concert music accordingly has quite a mixture of influences that coalesce into a distinctive nationalist viewpoint. Argentine musical nationalism remained strong enough through the twentieth century to resist the modernist onslaught. Its foremost exponent was Carlos Guastavino, a composer who has been ripe for rediscovery by non-Argentines since the explosion in the popularity of Astor Piazzolla's music began a quarter century ago. Among Argentines themselves he required no rediscovery; his music was and remains well known, and he made a living from it without recourse to academic or aristocratic sinecure. As with Cuba's Ernesto Lecuona, his fame rested on a group of songs that crossed over to mass popularity, but (again as with Lecuona) his piano compositions give a better sense of his musical mind. Apart from an early flirtation with a rather dense neo-classicism, heard in the large compositions on CD 1, he specialized in short pieces rooted in but not restricted by Argentine popular styles, more often the country dances known by the adjective "creole" than the urban tango. Many of them are musical portraits, often quite subtle: hear the 10-piece set "Mis Amigos" of 1966 (CD 3, tracks 9-18), in which each work depicts not only a person but also the person's musical surroundings. The "Diez Preludios" that make up the first half of CD 2 are not the Bach- or Chopin-inspired cases one might expect, but are subtle adaptations of children's songs. They are unique in that they draw on children's music without really being for children at all. Throughout, Guastavino has a talent for elaborating simple material in unexpected ways, and it is here that Argentina's cross-cultural character comes in: what keeps his Romantic nationalism from seeming conservative or nostalgic is that he absorbed a good deal of music from different European traditions and made it his own in an Argebtuba wat. A little tune can go off in an Impressionist direction, may draw on Fauré, can sound like Albéniz, or can display contrapuntal expertise, all without losing its local flavor. This three-disc set is a worthwhile item for libraries and large collections of Latin American music. Pianist Martin Jones is confident and competent throughout, although he tends to underemphasize the popular rhythms in Guastavino's music. For the casual listener, three discs of Guastavino is a lot, but with luck this disc will inspire focused programs -- Guastavino's portraits could easily be juxtaposed with those of Leonard Bernstein, for instance -- that will illuminate his music still more.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/08/2008
Label:
Nimbus Records
UPC:
0710357581823
catalogNumber:
5818
Rank:
19383

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Gato, for solo piano
  2. Bailecito, for piano
  3. Tierra Linda, for piano
  4. Sonatina for piano in G minor
  5. Piano Sonata in C sharp minor
  6. Sonatinas (3) for piano ("Sobre ritmos de la manera popular argentinas")
  7. Estilo (a la manera popular), for piano
  8. La Siesta, preludes (3) for piano
  9. Pampeano, for piano
  10. La Tarde en Rincón (Afternoon in Rincón), for piano
  11. La niñas, for piano
  12. Romance de Cuyo, for piano ("La Zamacueca")
  13. Preludios (10) sobre Temas de Canciones Populares Argentinas, for piano
  14. Cantilenas Argentinas (10), for piano
  15. Tres Romances Nuevos, for piano: 1. La niña del rio dulce: Sherzando, un poco vivo
  16. Tres Romances Nuevos, for piano: 2. El chico que vino del Sur: Allegretto
  17. Pueblito, mi pueblo, for piano
  18. Las Presencias, 5 pieces for piano
  19. Mis Amigos (My Friends), for piano
  20. Cantos Populares (10), for piano

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