To celebrate the centenary next year of the birth of one of the fathers of Argentinian art-music, Mariangela Vacatello turns her considerable skills to the music of Alberto Ginastera (1916-1983). And the moment is right: as the pianist Hugo Aisemberg remarks in the booklet-notes, ‘Europe still sees Argentinian music in terms of tango and nothing else’; yet even in his early and superficially vernacular works such as the Danzas Argentinas Op.2, Ginastera could hardly stand farther distant from the ready appeal of Astor Piazzolla’s music with its evocation of Buenos Aires nightlife. Which is not to say that Ginastera’s music has to be challenging, more that this music is more thoughtful and does not so overtly court popularity. In fact Piazzolla’s own memories of his teacher are warm and generous: ‘“I remember those years of study with Alberto for more than the technical expertise he taught me; he also passed on his humanity. He made an electrifying impact on me.”
The piano music in the first half of his career is all suites and dances, short, melodically undemanding stuff yet still spiced with dissonance. The three sonatas (1952, 1981 and a third from 1982, left unfinished at his death) are rather more substantial works in which the Allegro barbaro style of Bartok looms large, and to which Mariangela Vacatello brings the formidable technique that won her praise for a previous Brilliant Classics album (94250) dedicated to the pinnacle of 19th-century pianism, Liszt’s Transcendental Studies. The finale of the Second in particular is a staggering Ostinato that deserves to be as well-known in its way as the similarly motoric music of Prokofiev’s ‘War’ Sonatas.
This CD contains the complete piano music by Alberto Ginastera, one of the most important composers of 20th century Argentina.
His piano works brim with Latin-American passion: brutal, sensual, evocative, sentimental, always filled with the vibrant rhythms and colours of the folk music and dances of his home country. Ginastera’s piano sonatas are grim, “serious” works, full of motoric drive, and sometimes 12-tone melodic lines. The shorter pieces (like the famous Danzas Argentinas) are highly entertaining and virtuoso, big fun!
Italian pianist Mariangela Vacatello has all it needs (and more) for this music: abundant virtuosity and a strong feeling for the Latin idiom of this fascinating music.
Excellent liner notes written by a direct pupil from Ginastera, and biography in the booklet.