Yolanda Kondonassis / Gil Shaham / Orli Shaham / Jason Vieaux

Ginastera: One Hundred

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The title of this release of works by the Argentine composer Alberto Ginastera refers to the 100th anniversary of his birth in 1916. Although it's issued by a collegiate label and was recorded mostly at the Oberlin conservatory in Ohio, the recording features artists of international stature, and it can serve perfectly well as an introduction to Ginastera's music. During the first part of his career, Ginastera wrote nationalist music that had strong modernist elements (sample the first of the Danzas Argentinas, Op. 2, of 1937, with its division of the black keys and the white keys of the piano between the player's two hands). Later he wrote more abstract music that was nevertheless unmistakably Argentine; a so-called gaucho chord appears in all these works. Ginastera's works are performed often enough, but it's rare that he gets such a collection of top-flight performances in one place. The standout is the Harp Concerto, Op. 25, played by Yolanda Kondonassis, who brings an almost piano-like quality to the harp part. The magisterial Guitar Sonata, Op. 47, perhaps the most intricate fusion of Ginastera's Argentine and internationalist outlooks, also receives a superb performance from Jason Vieaux. The brother and sister Gil and Orli Shaham are the duet on the Pampeana No. 1, Op. 16. As well as anything else out there, this recording gives an idea of Ginastera's music as a whole.

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