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Looking South - Piano Music From Argentina / Mirian Conti

Release Date: 05/30/2006 
Label:  Albany Records   Catalog #: 837   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Alberto GinasteraCarlos GuastavinoConstantino GaitoJuan José Castro,   ... 
Performer:  Mirian Conti
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 0 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

In the early 1900s, Nationalism in Argentina, which coincided with the various strong artistic national currents throughout Europe and the United States, was competing with the other “isms”: post-romanticism, neoclassicism, expressionism, futurism, etc. It was the era of constant searching for an individual voice, original style, and the desperate need to “belong” to an “ism.” Nationalism in Argentina was at its peak during the late 1800s through the early decades of the 20th century.

This recording encompasses works written in different styles and idioms, each with a unique compositional personality, but at the same time having one distinctive quality in common: expressing the Argentine soul in sound. Whether it is using
Read more traditional, folkloric or popular motives within the frame of Romanticism, Neoclassicism or Modernism all these composers have a common thread uniting them: a respect and understanding of piano writing, and a skillful and resourceful way of bringing out the best of the instrument's colors.

Argentine Pianist Mirian Conti (who can also be heard on TROY299, Poems for Piano) enjoys a growing reputation as a musician whose performances combine technical brilliance with striking originality and artistic insight. A Juilliard graduate, her vast repertoire encompasses composers from both North and South America.

R E V I E W S:

Of the composers on this fine survey of Argentine piano music, the one who has appeared most frequently on concert programs internationally is Alberto Ginastera. Many listeners, hearing the Bartókian Suite de danzas criollas, Op. 15, offered here, or one of his other bracingly modern compositions, must have wondered why it was that he attempted to (and succeeded in) incorporating Argentine national characteristics into a variety of modern styles. After all, the modernism of the twentieth century generally rejected nationalism as something distastefully tribal. Hearing the music of Ginastera's predecessors and contemporaries sheds light on the matter: nationalism was an unusually strong force in Argentine music, and nationalism as an idea coincided with the growth of European concert music in what had been a frontier society with the cowboy as a national symbol. Pianist Mirian Conti brings together a fascinating variety of music here, but all of it is linked together by the presence of Argentine folk and popular rhythms, including the 6/8 dance called the gato and, later, the tango. The 1938 Sonatina of Luis Gianneo is very much an Argentine counterpart of Stravinsky's neo-Classicism, with the brisk rhythms of folk dances providing the desired dry surface. Juan José Castro's Tangos of 1941 contradict the axiom that Astor Piazzolla was the first to merge the tango with Western classical techniques; they are humorous little tango portraits, written while Piazzolla was still a young man working in popular tango groups. Conti selects treatments of the gato by no fewer than four composers, showing both the variety of the individual treatments and the rootedness of each composer in what were known as criollo (creole, or native) dance rhythms. She is a sympathetic interpreter of this music, with lots of rhythmic verve yet never any tendency to let the rhythms swallow up small details of texture. This is a fine introduction to Argentine keyboard music for anyone curious about the roots of that Latin American nation's major presence on the world musical stage.

-- James Manheim, All Music Guide
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Works on This Recording

Piezas (3) for Piano, Op. 6 by Alberto Ginastera
Performer:  Mirian Conti (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1940; Argentina 
Creole Dance Suite, Op. 15 by Alberto Ginastera
Performer:  Mirian Conti (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1946; Argentina 
Cantilenas Argentinas (10): no 4, El ceibo by Carlos Guastavino
Performer:  Mirian Conti (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1956-1958; Argentina 
Gato by Carlos Guastavino
Performer:  Mirian Conti (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Argentina 
Gato Correntino by Constantino Gaito
Performer:  Mirian Conti (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Argentina 
Tangos by Juan José Castro
Performer:  Mirian Conti (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1941; Argentina 
Gato, La mayor by Juan José Ramos
Performer:  Mirian Conti (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Argentina 
Milonga Sureña no 5 by Juan José Ramos
Performer:  Mirian Conti (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Argentina 
Gato by Julián Aguirre
Performer:  Mirian Conti (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Argentina 
Sonatina for Piano by Luis Gianneo
Performer:  Mirian Conti (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1938; Argentina 
Tangos a Los Maestros: no 23: a Anibal Troilo by Mario Broeders
Performer:  Mirian Conti (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Argentina 

Featured Sound Samples

Gato, la mayor (Ramos)

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