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Alberto GINASTERA (1916-1983)
Obertura para el Fausto Criollo Op. 9 (1943)
Ollantay Op. 17 Three symphonic movements (1947)
Pampeana No. 3 Op. 24 Symphonic pastoral in three movements (1954)
Dances from the Ballet Estancia Op. 8a (1941)
Odense Symphony Orchestra/Jan Wagner
Recorded in the Carl Nielsen Hall of Odense Koncerthaus, May 2001
BRIDGE 9130 [56.55]


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Bridge is recording a great deal with the Odense Symphony Orchestra and its conductor Jan Wagner. This is welcome news because this flexible ensemble rises to the challenge of Ginastera’s colour and animation with commendable spirit and, in the more treacherously introspective waters, they prove themselves to be an orchestra of depth. The Obertura para el Fausto Criollo his 1943 gaucho-inspired overture positively bristles with colour and evocative sense of space. The brass are full of fresh air drama and the references to Gounod’s Faust are subsumed into the fabric of the score with self-evident skill; the frolicsome little fugue is followed by the re-appearance of the brass in a peroration of rousing drama. Ollantay followed four years after and is cast in three movements. Inspired by an Inca poem it takes mythic subject material as its basis and utilises it in an intensely passionate way. The opening movement is saturated in melancholy, before dramatic punctuation and intensely hieratic brass writing. Ginastera builds a vast, flowing declamatory edifice here, and one that fuses folk elements with precision of scoring to great effect. The strong ostinati of the second movement, with the mordant high voicings and percussive interjections, evoke the warriors (Los guerreros) of the myth – framing the outer movements as well with this supercharged scherzo. The power and mythic strength of the Death of Ollantay flood the score with the gleam and glint of malevolent brass to the pensive high woodwind. A strange middle section is full of hesitant stasis before some vaguely verdant wind solos lead on to formidable and brusque brass and a forbidding end.

Pampeana No. 3 was written for and premiered by the adventurous Louisville Orchestra under Robert Whitney. Impressionistic but with strong, formal control Ginastera ensures that transitions are seamless, that emotive states from reflective to eruptive emerge naturally from the score. The overarching tone is one of questing, rather interior reflection in the opening of the three movements whilst the second movement is again a relentless ostinato with a contrastive trio section full of intermezzo lightness, light, frolicsome, gossamer. The finale, a Largo, fuses cantabile impressionism and a yearning lyricism, and develops an evolutionary quietude that is most impressive. The scoring per se is masterly. The Dances from the ballet Estancia conclude this colourful and evocative disc; variously exhilarating and sultry, with jazzy sounding off-beats in the Hacienda dance and a blazing Malabo rhythm conclusion – monstrously driving! But what I most admired was the Dance of the Wheat, a second movement saturated in swaying delicacy: lyricism with a capital L, voluptuous and unmistakable.

Jonathan Woolf

 



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