Notes and Editorial Reviews
Alberto Ginastera (1916-1983) is a distinctive voice in twentieth-century classical music, and together with the master of the tango, Astor Piazzolla, he is the towering musical figure of Argentina. Born in Buenos Aires of an Italian mother and a Catalonian father, Ginastera is a complex composer and personality, shaped by the traditional folk culture and history of his native country and by impulses from the world at large, during a time of radical upheavals in the realm of Western classical music. The Harp Concerto was commissioned in 1956 by Edna Phillips. The work was not premiered until 1965, and then it was the Spanish harpist Nicanor Zabaleta. When the concerto first appeared, it became a brilliant addition to the harp literature and twentieth-century instrumental concertos. Variaciones concertantes was completed more than ten years earlier and was premiered in Buenos Aires in 1953. The music is an irresistible combination of orchestral timbres and virtuosity communicating directly with the listener, especially as regards the entertainment aspect inherent in virtuosic orchestral sound and a demanding soloist performance.