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<<  -- 2 --  Rex Harley    SUBJECTIVE NATIONALISM

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In a similar vein, Obertura para el 'Fausto' criollo offers a rumbustious musical interpretation of a famous Argentine poem. This tells the tale of the gaucho Anastasio who travels to the capital and sees a performance of Gounod's Faust. On his return to the country, he tries to explain the opera, and how he understands it, in his own words to his tenant farmer. There are some thrilling passages in this piece which, like Estancia, falls into that style the composer called 'national realism'.

Josep Pons, conductor of the Orquesta Cuidad de Granada on this recording. Photo © Maria Espeus
Josep Pons, conductor of the Orquesta Cuidad de Granada on this recording. Photo © Maria Espeus

The highlight of the CD, though not perhaps as immediately accessible as these two pieces, is the Variaciones concertantes; not least because it demonstrates the fine musicianship, in every department, of the Orquesta Ciudad de Granada. Ginastera himself termed the style of this piece 'subjective nationalism', referring to the way that he uses popular music, not in direct quotation, but as a source of material developed for its structural potential. The theme is presented by harp and cello [listen -- track 9, 0:00-1:25], and the eleven variations which follow explore the timbres, isolated and contrasted, of the whole orchestra. In its way [listen -- track 20, 2:05-3:21], it is quite as complete a 'guide to the orchestra' as Britten's Variations on a Theme of Purcell.

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Copyright © 9 November 2003 Rex Harley, Cardiff UK

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