José Ignacio Ansorena / Alvaro Cendova / Tomás Garbizu

Tomàs Garbizu: Music for Txistu and Piano; Six Old San Sebastián Songs; Basque Suites & Others

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This album consisting mostly of traditional Basque folk tunes arranged for regional instruments and piano will probably be of strongest interest to fans of European folk music. Tomás Garbizu (1901-1989) was a leading Basque composer of the 20th century; few of the pieces here, though, are original, but his adaptations of folk music or folk-like works by other composers. (Several of the pieces are versions that these performers made of Garbizu's arrangements for other instruments.) He saw his role as presenting the material as plainly and straightforwardly as possible, rather than incorporating it into a personalized idiom, as Bartók or Kodály had done. The results are pleasant and cheerful, if somewhat mundane and bland. Much of the interest comes from the instrumentation; the txistu is a traditional Basque flute with only three finger holes, so it can be played with one hand, leaving the other hand free to play a percussion instrument, in this case, usually a two-headed drum called a tamboril. José Ignacio Ansorena is a leading txistu virtuoso, and he worked extensively with the composer on this material, so his interpretations can be considered authoritative. The txistu is capable of surprisingly speedy passagework, but its timbral variety, and therefore, its expressive range, is circumscribed, so listening in a single sitting to the entire CD may prove to be a bit much, for all except its most devoted fans. Pianist Alvaro Cendoya, of Basque heritage, provides a sympathetic and idiomatic accompaniment. Naxos' sound is clean and well-balanced.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Six Old San Sebastián Songs
1 02:40 Amazon
2 02:12 Amazon
3 02:59 Amazon
4 03:08 Amazon
5 02:31 Amazon
6 02:28 Amazon
Euskal suitea 1 (Basque Suite No. 1)
7 03:27 Amazon
8 02:54 Amazon
9 03:29 Amazon
Euskal suitea 2 (Basque Suite No. 2)
10 02:55 Amazon
11 03:08 Amazon
12 02:40 Amazon
13 02:05 Amazon
Lau zortziko (Four Zortzikos)
14 02:58 Amazon
15 02:54 Amazon
16 03:03 Amazon
17 03:46 Amazon
Mendiko Itzala (The Shadow on the Mountain)
18 03:48 Amazon
19 04:39 Amazon
Four Guipuzcoan Dances (Santesteban Collection)
20 01:58 Amazon
21 02:02 Amazon
22 01:24 Amazon
23 01:52 Amazon
24 03:28 Amazon
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