Ginastera: Popol Vuh

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Eddins
Naxos' 2010 collection of orchestral works by Alberto Ginastera conducted by Uruguayan-born Gisèle Ben-Dor includes both music from previous recordings and performances released here for the first time. Ben-Dor's recording of the complete ballets "Panambí" and "Estancia" the latter a world premiere recording was first released on Conifer in 1999 and reissued on Naxos in 2006. Suites from the ballets are among the composer's most popular and frequently performed works, but these "extended suites" are essentially excerpts drawn from the earlier complete recordings and include a substantial amount of music that will be new to most listeners. These versions include music ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Eddins
Naxos' 2010 collection of orchestral works by Alberto Ginastera conducted by Uruguayan-born Gisèle Ben-Dor includes both music from previous recordings and performances released here for the first time. Ben-Dor's recording of the complete ballets "Panambí" and "Estancia" the latter a world premiere recording was first released on Conifer in 1999 and reissued on Naxos in 2006. Suites from the ballets are among the composer's most popular and frequently performed works, but these "extended suites" are essentially excerpts drawn from the earlier complete recordings and include a substantial amount of music that will be new to most listeners. These versions include music that is frequently more lyrical than the rambunctious dances of the traditional suites and offer a fuller view of the expressive range of each of the ballets. Ben-Dor draws energetic, atmospheric performances from the London Symphony Orchestra. The newly issued works include an orchestration of the piano work "Suite de Danzas Criollas" from 1946, the orchestral triptych "Ollantay" from 1946-1947, and the magisterial tone poem "Popul Vuh," which the composer left incomplete at his death in 1983. Ben-Dor commissioned Israeli composer Shimon Cohen to orchestrate "Suite de Danzas Criollas" in 2002. It's a serviceable arrangement, but it ultimately fails to make as strong an impression as the original because Cohen doesn't seem able to translate the idiomatic piano writing into persuasively idiomatic orchestral scoring. The performance, by the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, is the weakest on the disc, rhythmically hazy in the slow movements and lacking in incisiveness and punch in the fast movements. Ginastera had completed all but the last movement of "Popul Vuh: The Mayan Creation" at his death, but the final complete movement he wrote is so powerful that it brings the work to an entirely satisfactory close. It's a superb summation of his career; he brought to it the full arsenal of contemporary techniques he had assimilated, as well as the visceral rhythmic drive familiar from his early, nationalist period, and it's fascinating to hear it in this context, juxtaposed with his more familiar, populist works. The performance, with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, is fine as far as it goes, but it doesn't capture the work's evocative strangeness or its exhilarating primal explosiveness quite as well as Stefan Asbury's version on Neos with the WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln. The disc literally spans the composer's career, with Ginastera's "Panambí, Op. 1," and "Popol Vuh" his last work, and while it doesn't include examples of his rigorously modernist middle period, it's a good introduction to one of the masters of mid-20th century music.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/29/2010
  • Label: Naxos
  • UPC: 747313099979
  • Catalog Number: 8570999
  • Sales rank: 132,877

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Estancia, ballet, Op. 8: Extended suite from the Complete Ballet. Scene 2: - Alberto Ginastera & London Symphony Orchestra (2:52)
  2. 2 Estancia, ballet, Op. 8: Extended suite from the Complete Ballet. Scene 2: - Alberto Ginastera & London Symphony Orchestra (3:07)
  3. 3 Estancia, ballet, Op. 8: Extended suite from the Complete Ballet. Scene 3: - Alberto Ginastera & London Symphony Orchestra (2:01)
  4. 4 Estancia, ballet, Op. 8: Extended suite from the Complete Ballet. Scene 3: - Alberto Ginastera & London Symphony Orchestra (2:49)
  5. 5 Estancia, ballet, Op. 8: Extended suite from the Complete Ballet. Scene 5: - Alberto Ginastera & London Symphony Orchestra (3:31)
  6. 6–10 Creole Dance Suite, for piano, Op. 15 - Alberto Ginastera & Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra (9:10)
  7. 7 Panambí, ballet, Op. 1: Extended suite from the Complete Ballet. Danza de - Alberto Ginastera & London Symphony Orchestra (1:56)
  8. 8 Panambí, ballet, Op. 1: Extended suite from the Complete Ballet. Juego de - Alberto Ginastera & London Symphony Orchestra (2:09)
  9. 9 Panambí, ballet, Op. 1: Extended suite from the Complete Ballet. Invocació - Alberto Ginastera & London Symphony Orchestra (1:17)
  10. 10 Panambí, ballet, Op. 1: Extended suite from the Complete Ballet. Danza del - Alberto Ginastera & London Symphony Orchestra (2:10)
  11. 11 Panambí, ballet, Op. 1: Extended suite from the Complete Ballet. El Amanec - Alberto Ginastera & London Symphony Orchestra (5:01)
  12. 16–18 Ollantay, 3 symphonic movements, for orchestra (also arrangement for band), Op. 17 - Alberto Ginastera & BBC National Orchestra of Wales (12:26)
  13. 19–26 Popol Vuh, for orchestra, Op. 44 (7 of 8 movements completed) - Alberto Ginastera & BBC National Orchestra of Wales (24:07)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Gisele Ben-Dor Primary Artist
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A useful collection of Ginastera orchestral music

    It's interesting how many of the orchestral scores of the very greatest Latin American composers were written for the ballet. The Brazilian Villa-Lobos wrote more than a few, as did the Mexicans Carlos Chavez & Silvestre Revueltas, and most of these works are of very high quality. But perhaps the most impressive ballet scores come from the Argentine composer Alberta Ginastera. This disc includes a wide range of ballet scores, from the first, Panambi, op. 1, to his very last work, Popol Vuh, left unfinished at his death in 1982. As well, this fine new Naxos disc includes an extended suite from one of Ginastera's finest works, Estancia, a nostalgic evocation of the fast-disappearing gauchesco world; the Suite de Danzas Criollas, in a new orchestration by Shimon Cohen; and Ollantay, a post-war score based on an Incan poem.

    As with the recently-released Naxos disc of Revueltas music, we have here a collection of fairly recent and older recordings from various orchestras, all conducted by the excellent conductor Gisele Ben-Dor. Naxos has packaged 1997-2006 recordings made in Wales, Israel, and Abbey Road, though there are unfortunate overlaps with other CDs. Still, at a bargain price this may not be a major disadvantage.

    For me the most interesting work here is Popol Vuh: The Mayan Creation. The original commission for the work, from Eugene Ormandy & the Philadelphia Orchestra, goes back to 1957, though Ginastera didn't begin work on the piece until the early 1980s. It's interesting that Ginastera should have set Popul Vuh for his ballet, since this is the same text used by Edgard Varese in his avant-garde classic Ecuatorial (1933). While Ginastera's music isn't as cutting edge, these creation stories have called forth some of his most impressive orchestral sounds. That's saying a lot, since Ginastera is a master of the orchestral palette.

    Once again we tip our hats to Gisele Ben-Dor, and hope that she's in the recording studio again soon, with more premiere performances of such great Latin-American music.

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