Nostalgias Argentinas - Piano Music of Argentina
Remo PIGNONI (1915-1988)
Danzas tradicionales para piano (1971) [4:30]
Emilio BALCARCE (1918-2011)
La bordona (1958) [3:22]
Horacio SALGÁN (b.1916)
Don Austin Bardi (1947) [2:55]
Carlos GUASTAVINO (1912-2000)
10 cantos populares (1974-75) [20:35]
Pedro SÁENZ (1915-1995)
Aquel Buenos Aires (1970) [8:42]
Carlos LÓPEZ BUCHARDO (1881-1978)
Seis canciones argentinas al estilo popular (1924) v. Canción del carretero [3:28]
Bailecito (1924) [1:20]
Floro MELITON UGARTE (1884-1975)
Vidala (1948) [6:11]
Gilardo GILARDI (1889-1963)
Cantares de mi cantar (1948) [13:04]
Mario BROEDERS (b.1931)
Vals criolla no.3 (2010) [1:35]; Milonga pampeana (2008) [3:00]
Osmar MADERNA (1918-1951)
Lluvia de estrellas (1948) [2:17]
Julián PLAZA (1928-2003)
Nocturna (1959) [1:40]
Mirian Conti (piano)
rec. Sono Luminus Studios, Boyce, Virginia, USA, 7-9 February 2012.
STEINWAY 30010 [72:42]
Look up the word ‘nostalgia’ in a thesaurus and among the suggestions are ‘longing’, ‘regret’ and ‘reminiscence’. It seems to me that what is on display here is a common longing for the past, a regret for its passing and the use of music to reminisce about it and for the length of each piece to momentarily bring it back. That said it is interesting to note how long ago composers were already looking back at past times; the oldest pieces here date from 1924 when most of the others were children so most of them must be looking back to a time before they were born. Is the past in their blood I wonder because there is a collective feeling expressed on this disc resulting in music, despite differing styles, all of which could conceivably have been written by a single composer. In saying that I don’t not want to imply anything as all of the music is extremely evocative and effective to the extent that non Argentineans can relate to the feelings expressed.

Mirian Conti is a powerful and sensitive advocate of this music and she plays with the same feelings expressed in it. In her booklet notes the pianist explains that many of the tunes are dances mainly from the north of the country: gato, chacarena, bailecito, vidala, milonga, vals criolla as well as the tango, a dance that originated in Buenos Aires. All of the compositions are short and the longest work is the ten cantos populares of Carlos Guastavino, a cycle of beautiful little pieces that reminded me of Medtner’s Forgotten Melodies (ops.38-40), the first one of which is entitled Sonata reminiscenza. Number 6 of Guastavino’s cycle (track 10) I found was a particularly evocative one in expressing what the booklet quotes from André Bolzinger’s Gale Dictionary of Psychoanalysis as being The Mysterious Presence of Absence.

The most potent message I draw from this disc is that there is music from Argentina that goes beyond our common understanding of it, to whit: Argentinean music does not begin and end with the tango or Ástor Piazzolla and that it doesn’t have to be played on the bandoneón. This is a valuable musical lesson for us all.
Steve Arloff 

Argentinean music does not begin and end with the tango or Ástor Piazzola.