The Argentinian Album
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Label: Channel Classics
Cat No: CCSSA33014
Number of Discs: 1
Release Date: 17th November 2014
WorksConcerto for Strings, op.33
Last Round, for double quartet and bass
The Four Seasons (Las cuatro estaciones portenas)
‘I can’t imagine a more diverse palette of sounds, styles and colours than the three composers on this recording. They are unmistakably Argentinian yet tantalisingly different. Between them they represent the vibrant fusion of cultures that exist in Argentina today. In order to give full justice to their music, we researched their personal tastes, sources and sound worlds, looking for the influences that shaped them.’- Candida Thompson, artistic director/violin (from liner notes)
Amsterdam Sinfonietta performs ingenious programmes featuring well-known repertoire, combined with commissions, new arrangements or rarely performed works.
On this brand new recording, they combine Ginastera’s unique masterpiece ‘Concerto per corde’ with Golijov’s effectively written showpiece ‘Last Round’ and Piazzolla’s ‘Four Seasons’ in Leonid Desyatnikov’s arrangement. Candida Thompson listened to Piazzolla’s own recordings of this work and decided to mirror the flexibility of his band by using a small string group consisting of 6 violins, 3 violas, 2 cellos and bass for their performances.
1Piazzolla - 4 Seasons of Buenos Aires - I.Summer
2Piazzolla - 4 Seasons of Buenos Aires - II.Autumn
3Piazzolla - 4 Seasons of Buenos Aires - III.Winter
4Piazzolla - 4 Seasons of Buenos Aires - IV.Spring
5Ginastera - Concerto for String Orchestra - I.Variazioni per i solisti
6Ginastera - Concerto for String Orchestra - II.Scherzo fantastico
7Ginastera - Concerto for String Orchestra - III.Adagio angoscioso
8Ginastera - Concerto for String Orchestra - IV.Finale furioso
9Golijov - Last Round for Double Quartet and Bass
The centrepiece is Ginastera's masterly Concerto for Strings (1965), a work which can stand comfortably alongside Bartók's Divertimento and Berg's Lyric Suite as a highpoint of twentieth-century writing for string orchestra. In this recording – made in 2008, some six years earlier than the other pieces here – the orchestra is larger and the sound-palette deeper, but with no loss of virtuosity or vividness. There's a richness of timbre to the opening Variations, and a remarkable expressive intensity to the Adagio third movement, while the various dazzling special effects in the Scherzo second movement have a truly fantastic quality to them, and the Finale has real energy and bite. Indeed, it's worth acquiring the disc for the Ginastera alone, a stunning performance that's unlikely to be bettered or even equalled.
Osvaldo Golijov was just five years old when Gianstera's Concerto was written. His Last Round for double string quartet and double bass, was composed in 1996 in homage to Piazzolla: the title – from a short story by Julio Cortázar – is a boxing reference, a metaphor for Piazzolla's spirit in the wake of the 1991 stroke that would claim his life the following year. The music has a suitably combative edge to it, but its two connected movements also mimic the violent compression and subsequent sighing expansion of the bandoneon – Piazzolla's own instrument – as it is being played. It all dissolves away to a meltingly beautiful conclusion, a fine tribute from younger composer to older one.
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