Ginastera Variaciones concertantes, Op 23;Glosses
In some of these Glosses, Opp. 46 and 48, it’s not clear what, apart from a desire to pay homage to his wife’s teacher and friend Casals, Ginastera felt he was adding by embedding romantic, diatonic music (played ‘straight’) in his own dodecaphonic framework. Fair enough to surround the famous Cant dels ocells with bird twitterings, but there seems no logical connection between Casals’s calm hymn to the Virgin in the “Introducio” and Ginastera’s frenetically screaming strings that punctuate it. More convincing are the transformations, in two of the five short movements, of sardana material. The most interesting aspect of the work, admirably illustrated on this disc, is Ginastera’s re-scoring from its original for strings alone to the version for gigantic orchestra (including triple woodwind, full brass, harp, piano, celesta, harmonium and no fewer than 39 percussion instruments), which certainly makes the “Conclusio delirant” fully live up to its title. The LSO, under the young Uruguayan-born, American-trained woman conductor, accomplish marvels of virtuosity, and the brass-playing in the “Introducio” is superb.
Far less controversial, because tonal and non-serial, are the endearing Variaciones concertantes written more than 20 years earlier, in 1953; these are warmly recommended to anyone making their first acquaintance with Ginastera. Beginning with his ‘signature tune’ of the guitar’s open strings, he presents a theme on cello and harp which is then subjected to ten ingenious and diverting variations, featuring a series of orchestral soloists, before erupting into an ebullient and rowdy final gauchesco jousting dance. Splendid playing by the Israel Chamber Orchestra, except for a momentarily flat piccolo at the end of the Eighth Variation; and recorded quality throughout the disc is first-class.'