Flores Argentinas: Canciones de Ginastera & Guasta[CD]
CD Notes The gauchos (Argentinean cowboys), the European dance forms brought over by the Spanish in the 17th century and the traditions of the African slaves and indigenous Indian populations have influenced culture and music of Argentina. The country's folk music has a very rich tradition with distinctive, complex 2 against 3 polyrhythms using 3/4 and 6/8 meters simultaneously, with characteristic variations of forms and dances in each region. The guitar plays an extremely important role in the music of Argentina, being the core instrument for the folk music from around the country. Despite the tango being the most famous and internationally recognized music from Argentina, it by and large represents one region of the country, the greater metropolitan area of Buenos Aires. Folk music influences are heard often in the classical composers of the country, Alberto Ginastera (1916-1983) being perhaps the most famous. He was part of the nationalistic movement in the Americas that includes the work of Aaron Copland in the U.S., Carlos Chavez in Mexico, and Heitor Villa Lobos in Brazil, who were looking for the means to break from the European tradition by searching for their own sonority and creating a recognizable musical language for their respective countries. Ginastera did not use the tango, which was the rage internationally, as the basis for his musical nationalism, but used rhythmic, melodic and structural elements of the folk music that represents the Argentine countryside. The music of his nationalistic compositional periods is perhaps his most famous, including his Concerto for Harp and his ballet Estancia, quoting actual folk tunes as Copland did in Rodeo and Billy the Kid. The polyrhythm that Ginastera employs in his music is immediately recognizable for it's complexity, joviality and power. Nonetheless, the rhythms were not the only folk influence that he used in his music - the sonority of the guitar can be heard. The strings of the guitar are tuned at the interval of a fourth, unlike other string instruments, like the violin that is tuned in fifths. By using fourths in his harmonies and melodies, Ginastera invokes the spirit of the guitar in his music, despite the fact that he only composed one solo piece dedicated to the six stringed instrument - the Sonata Op. 47 for guitar. The Cinco Canciones Populares Argentinas with traditional texts, Canción al árbol del olvido and Canción a la luna lunanca with texts by Fernán Silva Valdés (1887-1975) were all originally written for voice and piano. The arrangements of these songs by Pablo González Jazey for two guitars, some of which are played with the baritone guitar tuned a fourth below the regular guitar, maintain the rich harmonies of the original, while highlighting the folk elements within the songs. The Latin American art song is very rich throughout the region and songs are influenced by the traditions and music from each particular country, with the composers creating songs that reach the heights of the great Lieder composers with a flavor from their own traditions. Carlos Guastavino (1912-2000) from the northeast province of Santa Fé is considered the Schubert or Fauré of Argentina, having composed well over 200 songs for voice, most with piano accompaniment. He is celebrated for the beauty of his melodies, spun with such simplicity. His music is influenced, as was Ginastera's, by the folk rhythms as well as the musical forms of the folk music. Throughout his long life, Guastavino maintained his identity as a classical composer with his particular harmonic sonority. The texts that Guastavino selected for his songs reflect the beauty and simplicity of his melodies and he collaborated often with the celebrated poet, León Benarós (1915-). Two complete songs cycles, as well as many other pieces, came from the collaboration between Guastavino and Benarós. Flores Argentinas is a song cycle that includes twelve songs about different native flowers from around the country. The poetry evokes the botanical beauty and characteristics of each flower from the heights of the Andes Mountains to the plains of the Pampas. Guastavino has taken these twelve poems and used the musical characteristics of the regions from which each flower comes, melding the words with his often jovial, sometimes melancholic melodies. The songs, originally for voice and piano, lend themselves very naturally to the guitar, as the instrument is able to bring in the rhythmic and strumming effects (rasgueos) of the folk music that the songs evoke. Luis Víctor Gentilini (1931-) is a leading figure in the Argentine folk music genre. His music has been performed by Mercedes Sosa, Buenos Aires Ocho and Alfredo Abalo, among others. Vidala para una tarde was composed during the summer of 1953, in the province of Catamarca with texts by the poet Luís Sánchez Vera (1928-). About the Inca Rose Duo for voice and guitar The Inca Rose Duo, comprised of American soprano Annelise Skovmand and Argentine guitarist Pablo Gonzalez Jazey, is dedicated to building cross-cultural understanding through music, bridging the divide between classical and popular music by melding elements from both worlds into new musical expressions. The "song", marrying text with music, makes up the repertoire of this unique multi-cultural duo with it's unique acoustic sound and original arrangements. Praised for it's warm communicative power in concert, the Inca Rose Duo takes audiences on an auditory and emotional journey with diverse programs that include a selection of original interpretations of traditional repertoire for guitar and voice and popular songs from around the world. The unique sound of this pairing combines the spirit and depth of folk and popular songs with a background in classical repertoire and training. The Duo's repertoire includes a vast range of songs spanning from English renaissance songs of John Dowland to today with songs of the Beatles and traditional and contemporary folk songs from the Americas. Since it's formation in 1998, the Inca Rose Duo has been featured in the programming of major music festivals and venues in Argentina and the United States, highlighting performances at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC, Instituto Cervantes and Queens Theatre in the Park in New York, "Guitarras en Concierto" International Guitar Festival, Museo de Arte Hispanoamericano Isaac Fernández Blanco, Salon Dorado de la Legislatura, Teatro Alvear and Centro Cultural Borges in Buenos Aires, among others. La Nación (Buenos Aires) remarks that the Inca Rose Duo achieves a "musically brilliant atmosphere, in which song and accompaniment are unified into one melodic breath." Their CD recording Things We Said Tomorrow, featured in a documentary program broadcast throughout Latin America on Canal (á), received critical acclaim for it's originality and sound quality.
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