Mark Kosower / Jee-Won Oh

Alberto Ginastera: Complete Music for Cello and Piano

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Alberto Ginastera was among the most prolific and successful composers to emerge from Latin America. His music is heavily, though not universally, peppered with folk influence; although he came to be recognized as a leading avant-garde composer, his works remain quite accessible to listeners and tend to rely heavily on classical forms. The abundance of compositions for the cello is due in no small part to his second marriage to cellist Aurora Natola, who was instrumental in the composition or revision of nearly all of Ginastera's output for her instrument. This Naxos album showcases his complete music for cello and piano, which would typically include Pampeana No. 2, Punena No. 2, and the Op. 49 Cello Sonata. Cellist Mark Kosower, heard on this album, extends the repertoire with his own transcription of Cinco Canciones Populares Argentinas, Op. 10, for cello and piano. Even staunch purists will have a hard time arguing with Kosower's transcription work here. For starters, the cello is an ideal instrument to substitute for the human voice. Kosower retains Ginastera's original intent with pleasingly few alterations to make the melodic line fit on the cello. Kosower's playing, along with pianist Jee-Won Oh, is magnificent throughout. The extensive technical demands of Ginastera's music, from difficult extended techniques to awkward shifts, seem effortless to Kosower. Musically, he plays with non-stop intensity, drive, and panache, accentuating the rhythmic diversity of Ginastera's music. Balance between cello and piano is appealing throughout, as is the clear, focused overall recorded sound quality.

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