Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

"Music, both vocall and instrumental, so good, so delectable, so rare, so admirable, so super excellent, that it did even ravish and stupifie all those strangers that never heard the like." - Thomas Coryat, after hearing 3 hours of music at the Scuola di San Rocco in Venice, 1608.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

A welcome program of romantic music from Argentina

From July 12, 2012:

I haven't heard much this year about the 2012 Centennial of Carlos Guastavino, who died in 2000. It's nice, then, to see his 10 Cantos Populares at the centre of this new disc of Piano Music of Argentina, from the Argentine-American pianist Mirian Conti.

Conti's 2010 Chopin Mazurkas recording, one of the first releases from the new Steinway & Sons label, was very well received. I know Conti best from her South American discs on Koch International & Troy, and it's nice to have her back with music from her homeland. That's especially the case because so many of the composers included on the disc will be new to most, because the pieces Conti has chosen are so full of character and so varied, and because they're all so beautifully played and recorded on an impressive Steinway piano.

Conti brings three generations of Argentine composers together with a nostalgia theme explained in a fascinating liner-notes essay. The music is informed by the dual folkloric traditions of Argentina, urban tangos and the dances of the gauchos, and coloured by the music of the French and Spanish modernists who had such an impact on South American composers from Villa-Lobos & Ginastera to Tom Jobim & Piazzolla. It's all very romantically sad, and often very simply beautiful. It's Guastavino's melodies, harmonies & subtle rhythms that stand out, but the whole package is charming, and definitely worth a listen!

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