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Alberto Ginastera – Panambi ∙ Estancia (2006)

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Alberto Ginastera – Panambi ∙ Estancia (2006)

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1. Panambi, Op. 1: Claro de luna el Parana (Moonlight on the Parana) 4:42
2. Panambi, Op. 1: Fiesta indigena (Native festival) 0:26
3. Panambi, Op. 1: Ronda de la doncellas (Girls’ round dance) 1:23
4. Panambi, Op. 1: Danza de los guerreros (Warriors’ dance) 1:58		play
5. Panambi, Op. 1: Escena (Scene) 2:42
6. Panambi, Op. 1: Pantomima del amor eterno (Pantomime of eternal love) 3:53
7. Panambi, Op. 1: Canto de Guirahu (Guirahu’s Song) 3:21
8. Panambi, Op. 1: El Hechicero se dirige hacia Guirahu (The sorcerer approaches Guirahu) - Aparecen las deidades del agua (The water sprites appear) ? 0:29
9. Panambi, Op. 1: Juego de las deidades del agua (The water sprites play) 2:09
10. Panambi, Op. 1: Reaparece el Hechicero (The sorcerer reappears) - Los gritos del Hechicero (The Sorcerer’s cries) 0:36
11. Panambi, Op. 1: Inquietud de la tribu (The tribe is uneasy) - Suplica de Panambi (Panambi’s prayer) 4:15
12. Panambi, Op. 1: Invocacion a los espiritus poderosos (Invocation to the spirits of power) 1:19
13. Panambi, Op. 1: Danza del Hechicero (Dance of the Sorcerer) 2:10
14. Panambi, Op. 1: El Hechicero habla (The Sorcerer speaks) 0:34
15. Panambi, Op. 1: Lamento de las doncellas (The girls’ lament) 3:12
16. Panambi, Op. 1: Aparicion de Tupa (Tupa appears) - Los guerreros amenazan al Hechicero (The warriors threaten the Sorcerer) 0:51
17. Panambi, Op. 1: El Amanecer (Dawn) 5:09
18. Estancia, Op. 8: Scene 1: El Amanecer - Introduccion y Escena (Dawn - Introduction and Scena) 2:33
19. Estancia, Op. 8: Pequena Danza (Little dance) 2:07
20. Estancia, Op. 8: Scene 2: La Manana - Danza del trigo (Morning - Wheat Dance) 3:21
21. Estancia, Op. 8: Los trabajadores agricolas (The farm labourers) 2:55		play

22. Estancia, Op. 8: Los peones de hacienda - Entrada de los caballitos (The cattlemen - Entry of the foals) 2:04
23. Estancia, Op. 8: Los puebleros (The townsfolk) 2:19
24. Estancia, Op. 8: Scene 3: La tarde - Triste pampeano (Afternoon - ‘Triste’ from the Pampas) 3:22
25. Estancia, Op. 8: La doma (Rodeo) 2:04
26. Estancia, Op. 8: Idilio crepuscular (Twilight idyll) 2:51
27. Estancia, Op. 8: Scene 4: La Noche - Nocturno (Night - Nocturne) 4:19
28. Estancia, Op. 8: Scene 5: El Amanecer - Escena (Dawn - Scena) 1:41
29. Estancia, Op. 8: Danza final (Final Dance) (Malambo) 3:32 

Luis Gaeta - Narrator, Bass-baritone
London Symphony Orchestra
Gisèle Ben - Director

 

Alberto Ginastera (1916-1983) ranks with Carlos Chavez, Heitor Villa-Lobos and Silvestre Revueltas as one of the best known (and most revered) Latin American composers. A native of Argentina, Ginastera was a "nationalist" composer who made use of his country's folk music and rhythms in many his works.

This newest addition to Naxos's LATIN AMERICAN CLASSICS series highlights two of Ginastera's earliest works, the ballets PANAMBI and ESTANCIA. PANAMBI, Ginestera's opus 1 which was written in 1937, is based on the supernatural tales of the Guarani Indians from northern Argentina.

Brimming with suspenseful, dreamlike melodies and contrasting hard-hitting rhythms and audacious percussion, PANAMBI, something of a pagan pageant, can be easily considered the Argentinean version of THE RITE OF SPRING. In fact, I have never heard a "Stravinsky-influenced" piece sound more like Stravinsky than this. Indeed, this is not negative; Ginastera's intrinsic originality and Latin sentiment shine throughout PANAMBI even though Stravinsky's presence ever looms in the background.

More original (but no less exciting) is Ginastera's music from the ballet ESTANCIA written in 1941. Set on the vast, lonely Argentinean plains (the pampas), ESTANCIA a nostalgic glorification of the gaucho (cowboy) and of his difficult yet vigorous life. The music of ESTANCIA is laden with Argentinean folk melodies and aesthetics, and even includes a part for bass-baritone. Like PANAMBI, there are slow, gloomy sections that seem to evoke the sprawling vastness of the pampas, but there are also moments of scintillating, percussive energy suggesting the work and play of the gauchos.

Unlike many of works from Ginastera's later period, PANAMBI and ESTANCIA avoid the severe atonality and aloofness of, for example, his two PIANO CONCERTOS (also available on Naxos). While both pieces from the present disc can certainly be classified as "modernist," they retain a welcome accessibility that won't be a turn-off to people who usually eschew such music. Any fan of early Stravinsky or Prokofiev would relish these recordings. And what recordings they are! Both ballets are impeccably recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra under the dynamic baton of the Uruguayan conductor Gisele Ben-Dor. Additionally, the bass-baritone Luis Gaeta is perfect in his turn as the narrator/soloist in ESTANCIA. His richly authoritative "Latin" tone adds authenticity and class to an already classy disc.

Another winning point for this recording is that the complete music from both ballets is presented; these are not just excerpts. (In fact, this CD features a world-premiere recording of the complete ESTANCIA music!) All in all, this Naxos album is easily recommended. ---Erik Homenick

 

I first heard Ginastera's music on an Arthur Fiedler LP from the '70's of a dance from Estancia. So it was with great curiosity that I acquired this CD of two complete ballets by Ginastera. Panambi is the longer of the two. It features long evocative solos for individual instruments, along with bracing sound pictures for the entire orchestra. It doesn't move along briskly, but is content with creating the various atmospheres the composer intended. Estancia is a different kettle of fish. It is vigorous and breathtakingly orchestrated, with a small evocative part for narrator/singer. It is disappointing that the text of the narration is not included in the album notes. The performances are very exciting, and one is very much aware of what a virtuoso ensemble the London Symphony is. Unfortunately, the sound engineering has a constricted dynamic range that prevents the full colors of the orchestration from being appreciated. Nevertheless, for the premiere recording of the complete Estancia, this is a necessary purchase. ---David Saemann

 

Although classical recordings, particularly those of orchestral music, are expensive to make and usually have only the faintest hope of generating enough unit movement to pay the studio bill, some don't really get a fair shot at finding an audience before the delete sheet arrives to reclaim them. Gisèle Ben-Dor's 1997 recording of the complete scores of Alberto Ginastera's first two ballets Panambí and Estancia with the London Symphony Orchestra are a good example of this; issued on Conifer Classics in 1998, the disc was barely in the catalog a year before BMG pulled the plug on its classical division, which essentially rang the death knell for Conifer. Nearly a decade later, Naxos rights this wrong by making this performance available once again in its Latin American Classics Series.

Both Panambí and Estancia are better known in their incarnations as concert suites; the concert suite for Estancia is probably the best-known orchestral work of Ginastera overall. This is the first recording made of Estancia as a complete ballet, and Ben-Dor has taken the option of having a narrator recite verses from the source work, José Hernández's poem "Martin Fierro," to link the various parts of the ballet, as is common in Argentine performances. Not everyone will be pleased with this choice, but it is completely in keeping with the nature of the work, and the narration is well delivered by singer/actor Luis Gaeta. In some cases Ben-Dor has also opted to substitute movements from the suites for those in the original ballets; although through mere circumstance the suites for both works were premiered before the ballets were staged, they were written later and represent ideas that seem a bit more finished than in the originals. Again, not everyone will find that a satisfactory compromise, but you have to hand it to Ben-Dor for taking the initiative in making these recordings the best that they can be from a textual standpoint.

These recordings were made at Abbey Road and the London Philharmonic Orchestra does a terrific job in making these unfamiliar, and often dense, scores sing under Ben-Dor's knowing baton. This is not as crisp a performance as the best ones of the suites -- just witness Eduardo Mata's 1995 recording of the Estancia Suite on the Dorian disc Latin American Ballets, one of his last. However, it is better than just adequate and the Danza Final "Malambo" in Estancia packs plenty of wallop, just as it should. Moreover, one is grateful to finally have access to a complete recording of Estancia, which reveals the work as a masterpiece of modern composition, containing many inspired moments and ideas that are 50 years ahead of their time. ---Uncle Dave Lewis , Rovi

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