One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here


International mailing

Up to 40% off

  Founder: Len Mullenger

Some items
to consider

in the first division

extraordinary by any standards

An excellent disc

a new benchmark

summation of a lifetime’s experience.

Piano Concertos 1 and 2
Surprise Best Seller and now

A Garland for John McCabe


DIETHELM Symphonies

The best Rite of Spring in Years

BACH Magnificat

Brian Symphs 8, 21, 26

Just enjoy it!

La Mer Ticciati








Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


CD: Crotchet AmazonUK AmazonUS
Download: Classicsonline

Alberto GINASTERA (1916–1983)
String Quartets - complete
String Quartet No.1 Op.20 (1948) [2038]
String Quartet No.2 Op.26 (revised version) (1957) [2502]
String Quartet No.3 Op.40* (1973) [24:49] (I. Contemplativo (Juan Ramón Jiménez); II. Fantástico; III. Amoroso (Federico García Lorca); IV. Drammatico (Rafael Alberti); V. Di nuovo contemplativo (Juan Ramón Jiménez))
Cuarteto Latinoamericano (Saúl Bitrán (violin); Arón Bitrán (violin); Javier Montiel (viola); Alvaro Bitrán (cello)); *Claudia Montiel (soprano)
rec. 1989, 1990, 1997, location not specified


Experience Classicsonline

Ginastera’s highly individual and engaging string quartets abound in kinetic energy. He is coming in for substantial attention in the CD lists. Naxos has issued various orchestral discs (Panambi and Piano Concertos) and very recently there has been a counterpart Naxos coupling of the three quartets (8.570780) from Lucy Shelton and the Enso Quartet. While the symphony seems not to have interested him operas were a prime concern. His very controversial and dissonant Bomarzo as well as Beatrice Cenci and Don Rodrigo should surely be recorded and heard again. Bomarzo was on 3 CBS LPs with Julius Rudel (b. 1921) the conductor who led the 1960s premiere. We should also not forget the Violin Concerto on Dynamic played by Accardo.
The splenetically bustling First Quartet goes like a runaway train. The murderous Vivacissimo is full of corrosive pizzicato invective and is superbly recorded; initially by Elan – wow! The long Calmo provides time for the drawing of breath and a lulling Bergian pallet on which to lie. The finale has a pastoral feeling as well as plenty of those reserves of bustling early Bartókian energy we heard in the first two movements. A most impressive piece overall and though sinewy and concentrated it is far from forbidding. In his useful notes Riccardo Schulz says that this comes from the composer’s period of ‘subjective nationalism’; you can hear what he means.
Almost a decade later, in the Second Quartet we hear Ginastera freely immersed in dissonance. The effect can crudely be described as a concentrate of late Zemlinsky or Frank Bridge. Anxiety, stuttering witchery and skeletal textures dominate. The fifth and final movement is an exhilarating breathless Furioso. The Second Quartet was premiered by the Juilliard in 1958. It is a step-change from the First which must have seemed almost primitive when that work was heard at the 1951 ISCM in Frankfurt.
The Third Quartet is from 1973 and was written in Geneva. It is dedicated to John Rosenfeld (1900-1966) whilom music critic of the Dallas Morning News. The commission came jointly from two Dallas institutions - the Chamber Music Society and the Library. It's unusual in being laid out for soprano - here the ethereal yet vivaciously voiced Claudia Montiel - and string quartet. Only the Fantastico movement is purely instrumental. It shares the same forces as the Schoenberg Second Quartet which was Ginastera’s inspiration for the piece. The exposed textures of the string quartet contrast with the sung words - four verses variously by Juan Ramon Jimenez, Federico Garcia Lorca and Rafael Alberti. The words are various sung and spoken. They are acted, subtly inflected, even confided by Montiel. This is not an oration to a crowd. The music ranges between Bartók, Berg and Penderecki yet at heart never wavers from its embrace with lyricism. It's essentially very approachable although the language is often as thorny as its date would lead you to guess.
I have not heard the Naxos counterpart but it will be worth checking. In any event the two discs are in the same bargain price bracket with the Brilliant disc probably slightly less expensive.
Karl Miller's Pierian label has rescued Barbara Nissman's Ginastera recordings (solo piano and piano with chamber ensemble) and the two Cello Concertos played by Aurora Nátola-Ginastera from the now defunct Newport Classics label. I hope to hear these before too long.
The Cuarteto Latinoamericano may also be recalled for recording, for Dorian, a complete Villa-Lobos quartet sequence. I have been trying, so far unsuccessfully, to source this for review. This Ginastera proves that the Cuarteto Latinoamericano is a luxury ensemble.
These three works are stimulating and invigorating pieces written across a quarter of a century.
Rob Barnett


Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.