Nostalgias Argentinas - Piano Music of Argentina
Remo Pignoni: Danzas tradicionales para piano, nos. III and XIII
Emilio Balcarce: La bordona
Horacio Salgán: Don Agustin Bardi
Carlos Guastavino: 10 canto populares
Pedro Sáenz: Aquel Buenos Aires
Carlos López Buchardo: Seis canciones argentinas al estilo popular: V. Canción del carretero – Bailecito
Floro Meliton Ugarte: Vidala
Gilardo Gilardi: Cantares de mi cantar
Mario Broeders: Vals criollo no. 3 – Milonga pampeana
Osmar Maderna: Lluvia de estrellas
Julián Plaza: Nocturna
Miriam Conti (piano)
Recorded at Sono Luminus Studios in Boyce, Virginia (February 7-9, 2012) – 72’42
ArkivMusic LLC Digital CD, Steinway & Sons 30010 – Booklet in English with Program Notes and Photos
NOSTALGIAS ARGENTINAS is the latest recording in an ongoing series of piano music produced by Steinway & Sons for ArkivMusic. This album features piano music of Argentine composers, played by the incomparable pianist Miriam Conti.
The music spans a time period from the 1920’s up through the present day by composers born between the 1880’s and 1930’s. And though the musical styles of the selected repertoire range from the lush and romantic to the angular and modern, all of the pieces incorporate dance and folk rhythms or popular melodies colored with tints of melancholy, nostalgia, and sentimentality.
One can immediately hear the passing influences of Schubert, Chopin, Prokofieff, and Rachmaninoff, but I was struck by the impression of how much the music reminded me of the smaller piano works of Tschaikovsky, no doubt because of the salon nature of this music and the undeniable use of dance rhythms and folk melodies that evoke a certain sadness and longing for the homeland that Tschaikovsky’s music always creates.
Remo Pignoni’s (1915-1988) Traditional dances for piano (1971) immediately establishes this flavor of nostalgia, as indeed do the 10 popular songs by Carlos Guastavino (1912-2000), who is perhaps Argentina’s most well known composer next to Ginestera, whose music is conspicuously absent from this recording.
Pedro Sáenz’ (1915-1995) highly evocative Aquel Buenos Aires produce three of the Argentine’s most famous dances: the tango, the milonga, and a Creole waltz. This music is very “heady” and sentimental; I found myself wanting a glass of good strong wine and imagined myself seated at an outdoor café in Buenos Aires.
Great music can produce these types of effects. This music could certainly be played in concert hall recitals, but it is the “Chopin-esque” salon quality of this music that pervades the entire program, making it perhaps heard to better effect in more intimate spaces.
Miriam Conti is the perfect interpreter of this music, Indeed, who could play it better, with perhaps the possible exception of Martha Argerich? Miss Conti imbues these short works with all of the infectious rhythms and colors the music demands. Her performance is sure to strike a sympathetic chord within your heart. She has an unquestionable lilt and panache in her delivery of the dance rhythms and a wonderful vocal quality as she makes the piano sing the many popular song melodies. Her performance is beautifully captured in this recording. The piano technicians at Steinway & Sons and the audio technicians for ArkivMusic miraculously preserve the sound of the piano to its optimum effect. The result is quite magical.
I suspect you will be unfamiliar with most of the music in this recording, as I certainly was, but it will nonetheless enchant you upon your very first hearing. If you are an aficionado of solo piano music and superb pianists, this is a recording you will want to own, and one you will enjoy listing to many times over. I have no reservations whatever in wholeheartedly recommending this most unusual and distinctive recording.