Saturday, 25 August 2012

Composer series: Alberto Ginastera

Several years ago, my piano teacher sent me an email with a link to this recording, saying "You should do this for your next competition!" (He was referring to the local eistedfford.)
At first, I thought he was joking. Me, learn this diabolical-sounding piece in time for the eistedfford? It seemed impossible.
When I had my next lesson, my teacher brought along a copy of the score. It looked as diabolical as it sounded: the right and left hand staves were in different keys, and the rhythms were completely incomprehensible. However, I managed to read it, really liked it, and decided to try learning it.
Not only did I learn (and memorise) it, but I have since performed it several times (including in the eistedfford!)
So began my interest in the composer Alberto Ginastera, of whom I knew nothing at the time.
I can't really say very much about Ginastera, as the amount of repetoire by him that I'm familiar with is still relatively small. Instead, I'm just going to post links to my favorite pieces by him, and write a bit about each piece. I'll probably add to this list as I find new favorites :)

Danzas Argentinas (of course!) I now have the complete score of these little pieces, and have played through them (as well as hearing my teacher play them). One day I would very much like to learn all of them. The 2nd one reminds me of a well-known nursery rhyme or folk tune gone wrong... (interestingly, Ginastera used this same theme in one of his 'Piezas Infantiles')

Piezas Infantiles I looked up these pieces after reading about them, since I was curious to hear how Ginastera composed in his youth. They are absolutely gorgeous, and already show distinctive Ginastera trademarks.

Piano Sonata No. 1
1st movement
4th movement

Unfortunately there isn't a complete version of this on youtube that I like (I have Debora Halasz's recording of this, in my opinion it is the definitive one.) I discovered the last movement of this piece completely by accident while browsing youtube, and was absolutely blown away by it. I'd never heard anything like it (at least not in the realm of classical music), and I still haven't heard anything like it! The other movements are amazing as well.
I must confess I was heavily influenced (almost to the point of plagiarism) by the 5/8 descending fifths pattern in the first movement when writing a short piece for piano and percussion, earlier this year. It was just too good not to, erm, be influenced by!
Of course I bought the score for this fiendishly difficult sonata, in the hope that one day I'll manage to learn it... :S

Piano Concerto No. 1
1st movement
4th movement
I discovered this concerto through Emerson Lake & Palmer, who made a wonderful version of the last movement of it (which, incidentally, Ginastera himself thoroughly approved of.)
I dream of learning this concerto one day, but it will probably only ever be a dream.
Unfortunately I can't find the middle movements of this work on Youtube - at least, not played by João Carlos Martins.

No comments:

Post a Comment