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Subjective nationalism

Music by Alberto Ginastera -
explored by REX HARLEY

'... stunningly played and gloriously recorded.'

Ginastera: Estancia. © 2003 harmonia mundi sa

Some will have heard of Alberto Ginastera; fewer will probably be aware that he was Argentinian; and, I suspect, the number of those actually acquainted with his music will be smaller still. If you fall into this final category, then the current offering from harmonia mundi is precisely the place for you to begin.

Despite the title of this CD -- Estancia -- there is much more on offer than this particular piece. However, it is with these four dances, from the ballet of the same name, that things kick off. You'll understand why from the opening bar [listen -- track 1, 0:02-1:20]: it is dynamic, harmonically very accessible music, beautifully orchestrated and played with great verve and sensitivity. Three of the four dances feature the ranch labourers who live on the Estancia, the semi-mythical gauchos, who strut, compete, argue and, above all, throw themselves into the fiery dancing. The second, the Wheat Dance [listen -- track 2, 1:28-2:48], offers something less percussive, more lyrical, and the juxtaposition only emphasises its haunting beauty. The original ballet was choreographed by Balanchine, and listening to the music I only wish I could see the physical drama it accompanied.

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Copyright © 9 November 2003 Rex Harley, Cardiff UK


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