Escenas Argentinas - A Symphonic Anthology Carlos Lopez BUCHARDO (1881-1948) Escenas Argentinas
Symphonic Poem (1919-20) [14:55] Julián AGUIRRE (1868-1924) (orch. Ernest Ansermet) Due danze Argentine
(1938) [4:52] Astor PIAZZOLLA (1921-1992) Tangazo: Variations on Buenos Aires (1968-69) [13:24] Luis GIANNEO (1897-1968) El tarco en flor - Symphonic Poem (1930) [11:48] Carlos GUASTAVINO (1912-2000) Las niñas (No. 1 from Tres romances argentinos) (1949) [7:22] Oscar GIÚDICE (1906-1974) Salmo al Paraná (1938) [5:46]
Orquesta Sinfonica de Entre Ríos/Gabriel Castagna
rec. Teatro Municipal, Parana, Provincia de Entre Ríos, Argentina, 19-21 June 1999 CHANDOS CHAN10185 [58:49]
Fiesta Criolla - Latin American Orchestral Works Astor PIAZZOLLA (1921-1992) Milongón festivo [5:59] Manuel Gómez CARRILLO (1883-1968) Fiesta criolla
(1941) [7:11] Rapsodia santiagueña (1922) [11:49] Juan Jose CASTRO (1895-1968) Arrabal (1934) [9:26] Theodoro Valcárcel CABALLERO (1896-1942) Concierto Indio (1940) [18:47] Francisco MIGNONE (1897-1986) Congada (1921) [4:53] Guillermo Uribe HOLGUIN (1880-1971) Tres Danzas (1936 rev.1940) [8:05] Alberto WILLIAMS (1862-1952) Primera obertura de concierto (1889) [10:15]
Nora Chastain (violin) (Caballero)
Württembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen/Gabriel Castagna
rec. Studio Württembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen, 19 & 29 March 2010 CHANDOS CHAN10675 [77:10]
It was Lucio Bruno-Videla, that champion of Argentinean
classical music, who first opened the door to me to reveal the breadth
of music from that country and its adjoining states. Search under his
name on YouTube. You can read reviews of his CD projects elsewhere on
this site. Most recently he has carried through to fruition his most
ambitious scheme: to record on CD the opera Chasca (1936-39)
by Enrique Mario Casella (1891-1948). The score demands three medium-sized
orchestras and includes 10 timpani, 8 saxophones, woodwinds, brass and
no strings. I hope to review this in due course.
The following two CDs from the Chandos catalogue are separated by about
a decade but the repertoire span is related and fresh. It’s the
same conductor, Gabriel Castagna, in each case and he draws fluent,
lively and at times sensuous results from his two orchestras. These
peer at each other across the Atlantic: Entre Ríos, Argentina on the
one hand and Reutlingen, Germany on the other.
CHAN10185 starts with Buchardo’s
Escenas Argentinas. This is bright-eyed stuff in a far from
‘advanced’ idiom. The orchestration is clean and transparent.
The sound and style lie roughly between lightly poetic Sibelius, wistful
Binge, sultry Saint-Saëns, surgingly nostalgic Barber and playful Chabrier.
Aguirre's La huella has about it the
poetic warm evenings of El Salón México but there are salubrious
marine zephyrs at play here and no gales. El gato sports a
Piazzolla's gloomy and severe Tangazo
has a melancholia charged atmosphere with earnest surging Bergian strings.
Then from 4.35 onwards there are lively impudent woodwind solos. These
then fall away at 6:40 to a more starry-chaste nocturnal landscape.
This rises into tensely happy music rather like Rodrigo's Aranjuez
(8.40). The music rattles and develops guttural wooden abrasions and
col legno rasps.
Gianneo's Tarco en flor (The dragontree
in flower) is a poetic piece inspired by the flowers of Gianneo's
home province of Tucuman. Brits will recognise the lachrymose beauty
of this music, touched with pastoral Bridge, Hadley and Delius. There's
bird-song too but underpinned by heaving Debussian surges and thunderous
rhythms (4:37). It's a very impressive piece.
With smoochy strings Guastavino is more sentimental
and filmic in Las ninas. This is light music with a lilt and
seductive detailing. It makes an even sweeter contrast with the Gianneo.
Giudice's 1938 Psalm to the City of Paraná
deploys a majestic image of the city's river. Solo violin and
flute voices are joined by the bells ringing out contentedly. There's
a flavour here of Respighi's Concerto Gregoriano. With
sense of joyous arrival the string writing recalls similar moments in
Finzi's In Terra Pax. The filigree of the solo violin
trills the piece to its quiveringly mysterious ending. Another Vltava
here? Not quite, but from same shelf.
The second collection - on CHAN10675 - runs close to
CD capacity while the first has a duration short of an hour.
Again proceedings are directed by Castagna who sprints in at top speed
with Piazzolla's Milogon Festivo, all
rattling zest and piano-goaded pulsation. Carrillo's
Fiesta Criolla, which gives the disc its title, is in four
contrasted movements. The score moves through crashingly active, melancholy
siesta-sleepy and gracious waltzes. It concludes in a blend of Reznicek's
Donna Diana and Smetana's Vltava but with a
South American accent.
Juan Jose Castro's Arrabal is the first
movement of his Symphonia Argentina. By contrast with much
else here it's ruthlessly dissonant and is in the best mechanistic
manner of Mossolov, Honegger and Markevitch. It ends with the stutter
of tango and a sourly intriguing descent into silence.
Carrillo's Rapsodia Santiagueña is
a nuanced piece. Its mood is far from obvious and there are magical
moments along the way including enchanted tinkling, boozy fantasy and
the suggestion of haunted ballrooms. The haughtily heavy orchestration
holds itself in self-conscious grandeur and the work ends with Beethovenian
Peruvian Caballero's compact neo-classical four-movement
Concierto Indio has points of contact with the Finzi Violin
Concerto and Holst Double Violin Concerto. It's all very precise
with just a touch of sentimentality. The cobwebs are kept at a distance.
It's nicely and neatly despatched by violinist Nora Chastain.
Now to Brazil for Mignone who has received some stylish
attention from BIS.
His Congada is a glinting Latino dance, alternately dreamy
and jerkily active. The whole opera, from which this comes, The
Diamond Contractor was conducted by Richard Strauss in Vienna in
Colombia's Holguin, who wrote no fewer than
eleven symphonies, presents us with the vivid little Tres danzas.
The final track is by the Argentinean Alberto Williams.
His Primera obertura de concierto (1889) is the earliest piece
here - a souvenir of his studies in Paris. It has the flavour of early
Dukas but boasts a stormy Beethovenian scherzo and a conventional sign-off.
Williams, who lived in Buenos Aires, wrote nine symphonies of which
there is a recording of the Seventh on Arte
Let's have some recommendations for as-yet-unrecorded further
orchestral repertoire from South America. Nicolas Slonimsky's
book "Music of Latin America" (1945) gives some signposts
but many of the names listed there are still unfamiliar. Are there any
other symphonists or tone poets to be discovered from that continent?
Bis are good at such things and Chandos are up there in the same exalted
league. We can hope. I plan reviews of Casella's opera Chasca
and of two CDs on Bruno-Videla's Tradition label. One of these
has rescued and digitised recordings made in 1955 of Argentinean orchestral
pieces. That two-CD set opens up the prospect of works by Aguirre, Caamaño,
Castro, Torrá, Guastavino, Gilardi, Gianneo, Morillo, Picher, Buchardo,
Lamuraglia, Boero and Ginastera being given a new life or at least a
chance of fresh appraisal.
These two brightly recorded and well annotated discs from Chandos serve
as substantial samplers of Latin America's outpouring of varied
and often colour-saturated classical music. There is far more to be
experienced than just Piazzolla and Villa-Lobos.