Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Ginastera: Estancia, Variaciones concertantes, Concierto para Harpa

This light and lively production best serves the coolly elegant Variaciones concertantes and the Harp Concerto, whose magical sonorities are particularly complemented by the transparent recording and chamber deployment of the Orquesta Cuidad de Granada. Both works also enjoy outstanding solo work from harpist Magdalena Barrera and the ensemble's various first-desk players. In fact, there is no better performance available of the Harp Concerto, a piece that successfully inhabits a world between Ginastera's early folk-inspired music and his later expressionist style.

As to the Overture to Creole Faust and the Estancia Dances, many listeners doubtless will enjoy conductor Josep Pons' lively tempos and snappy rhythms. Indeed, the final Malambo from Estancia seldom has sounded so secure in its play with compound meter. Still, there's no denying the fact that the music isn't as pulse-pounding as it can be. For example, the recent Bridge recording of these two works from Odense remains unequalled for barbaric splendor and coloristic detail, albeit at a slightly slower pace.

Nevertheless, there's too much beautiful playing for this disc not to be perfectly enjoyable on its own terms, and if Pons chooses to emphasize the music's polish and grace, that's just as much a part of Ginastera's Latin heritage as his more savage side. In short, these performances may not be to everyone's taste, but they have character as well as a real point of view. They stand out from the crowd in a positive way, and in the long run that's what matters most. Fans of the composer will welcome this opportunity to broaden their idea of how his music can sound. [12/13/2003] --David Hurwitz,

MP3 320 · 157 MB

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