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Ginastera: Complete String Quartets

Enso Quartet , Lucy Shelton , Ginastera Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

Price: $11.09 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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MP3 Music, 14 Songs, 2009 $7.99  
Audio CD, 2009 $11.09  

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
listen  1. String Quartet No. 1, Op. 20: I. Allegro violento ed agitato 4:32$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  2. String Quartet No. 1, Op. 20: II. Vivacissimo 3:44$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  3. String Quartet No. 1, Op. 20: III. Calmo e poetico 8:06Album Only
listen  4. String Quartet No. 1, Op. 20: IV. Allegramente rustico 3:54$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  5. String Quartet No. 2, Op. 26: I. Allegro rustico 6:11$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  6. String Quartet No. 2, Op. 26: II. Adagio angoscioso 5:57$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  7. String Quartet No. 2, Op. 26: III. Presto magico 3:58$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  8. String Quartet No. 2, Op. 26: IV. Libero e rapsodico 5:55$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  9. String Quartet No. 2, Op. 26: V. Furioso 4:19$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen10. String Quartet No. 3, Op. 40: I. Contemplativo 7:51$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen11. String Quartet No. 3, Op. 40: II. Fantastico 4:44$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen12. String Quartet No. 3, Op. 40: III. Amoroso 6:28$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen13. String Quartet No. 3, Op. 40: IV. Drammatico 2:31$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen14. String Quartet No. 3, Op. 40: V. Di nuovo Contemplativo 4:26$0.89  Buy MP3 


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Ginastera: Complete String Quartets + Complete Music for Cello & Piano + Cello Concertos
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Product Details

  • Composer: Ginastera
  • Audio CD (June 30, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B0027DQHHS
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #88,876 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Review

More than most, Ginastera's compositional output may be divided into three stylistic periods. His early works, using an impressionist language, were nationalistic in influence and drew heavily on Argentine dance rhythms. During his middle period, he expanded the scope of his tonality while remaining attached to his Hispanic roots, and in his late works he turned to contemporary avant-garde idioms. In my view, his best work comes from the middle period: the brilliant Harp Concerto and the succinct Variaciones concertantes. He was more individual than in his early impressionistic mode, and paradoxically more individual than he was to become after he adopted the standard stylistic traits of the 1960s and 1970s. His first two string quartets date from the beginning and end of that middle period.

Ginastera's quartets demand a high level of virtuosity from the performers. Extreme dynamics, high harmonics, and syncopated rhythms requiring tight ensemble appear throughout. The First Quartet of 1948 is notable for its light-footed Scherzo (vivacissimo), its atmospheric slow movement (calmo e poetico), and a vigorous, stamping finale (allegramente rustico).

A similar wispy Scherzo movement occurs in the Second Quartet (1958, rev. 1968), but there it is deconstructed. In five movements, the Second Quartet contains an "extra" movement built from a series of cadenzas from each of the instruments (libero e rapsodico), before plunging into its own modernized version of a dance-inflected finale. The first movement presents a 12-tone theme, the first use of that technique in the composer's work.

By the time of the Third Quartet, Ginastera had left his previous formal procedures behind. He introduced a soprano soloist, as did Schoenberg in his Second Quartet--a precedent of which the status-conscious Argentine composer was well aware. He set texts by Jiménez, Lorca, and Alberti, illuminating the soprano's vocalizing and occasional spoken declamation with a series of ingenious string effects. The imagery and atmosphere of the poems dictate the musical form, so the task for the musicians is to reproduce specific moods, on top of the considerable technical challenges.

Previous recordings of all three quartets exist, though only one currently available brings them together on a single CD: the Cuarteto Latinoamericano (on Élan). I have not heard that disc, but I have the Latinoamericano recording of Quartet No. 1 in a mixed program from the same label (which may or may not be the same performance): they bring genuine excitement and tight ensemble to the piece, but are equally matched by the Ensō on this new release.

The original performers of the Third Quartet, Benita Valente and the Juilliard Quartet, recorded the work for the Bridge label in an interesting mixed recital that is well worth hearing for the couplings by Harbison and Wernick. Valente sings with great control and understanding, but the recording was made some 27 years after the event, by which time her voice had lost much of its bloom.

On the new disc, Lucy Shelton is a revelation: she brings pure tone and a wide range of vocal color to her interpretation. (Valente is more convincing in the relatively few spoken passages.) The U.S.-based Ensō Quartet plays with warmth and unanimity, meeting all the technical and interpretive hurdles with apparent ease. Naxos's sound is excellent, the timing is generous, and a translation of the poetry is provided, making this CD the version of choice, regardless of price. -- Fanfare, Phillip Scott, Nov/Dec 2009

Product Description

Naxos' recording of Ginastera' Complete Music for Cello and Piano was hailed for 'the music' percussive rhythms as well as its reflective and mysterious melodic invention' by The Strad. Similarly, each of his highly individual and engaging string qu

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MusicWeb International/ Sept 2009 December 6, 2009
Format:MP3 Music
One of numerous missionary projects launched by Naxos is the promotion of the music of the leading 20th Century Argentinean composer Alberto Ginastera. Previous to this issue they have encompassed his complete piano and keyboard works, two piano concertos, complete works for cello and piano and a licensed reissue of his two early and famous cowboy ballets. The latter, in particular the suite drawn from the 1941 ballet Estancia Op.8 has become the piece and indeed the sound-world by which he is best known. That sound could best be described as a feral percussive toccata-like style in which wild folk-derived cross-rhythms are hurled with great force in displays of musical muscularity. It is viscerally exciting but represents only one element--and indeed often an early one--of Ginastera's art. In simplistic terms his musical career can be divided into three distinct phases; "Objective Nationalism" (1934-1948), "Subjective Nationalism" (1948-1958), and "Neo-Expressionism" (1958-1983). They chart a gradual move away from an overtly Nationalistic/folk-based style to something more personal although with clearly Latin-American roots. Very neatly, each of his three String Quartets presented here fall into one of the periods and hence represent a self-contained over-view of his musical development...the performances here by the Enso Quartet from America are quite staggeringly brilliant. I don't think I have been so thrilled by the sound of a string quartet in a long time. These pieces could be a list of potential musical pot-holes with problems of intonation, ensemble, style, interpretation on every line. The Enso Quartet do not so much circumvent these problems as blaze their way through them as though they barely existed. It really is exceptionally fine quartet playing. Read more ›
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MusicWeb International/ Sept 2009 December 6, 2009
Format:Audio CD
One of numerous missionary projects launched by Naxos is the promotion of the music of the leading 20th Century Argentinean composer Alberto Ginastera. Previous to this issue they have encompassed his complete piano and keyboard works, two piano concertos, complete works for cello and piano and a licensed reissue of his two early and famous cowboy ballets. The latter, in particular the suite drawn from the 1941 ballet Estancia Op.8 has become the piece and indeed the sound-world by which he is best known. That sound could best be described as a feral percussive toccata-like style in which wild folk-derived cross-rhythms are hurled with great force in displays of musical muscularity. It is viscerally exciting but represents only one element--and indeed often an early one--of Ginastera's art. In simplistic terms his musical career can be divided into three distinct phases; "Objective Nationalism" (1934-1948), "Subjective Nationalism" (1948-1958), and "Neo-Expressionism" (1958-1983). They chart a gradual move away from an overtly Nationalistic/folk-based style to something more personal although with clearly Latin-American roots. Very neatly, each of his three String Quartets presented here fall into one of the periods and hence represent a self-contained over-view of his musical development...the performances here by the Enso Quartet from America are quite staggeringly brilliant. I don't think I have been so thrilled by the sound of a string quartet in a long time. These pieces could be a list of potential musical pot-holes with problems of intonation, ensemble, style, interpretation on every line. The Enso Quartet do not so much circumvent these problems as blaze their way through them as though they barely existed. It really is exceptionally fine quartet playing. Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unknown masterpieces August 27, 2009
Format:Audio CD
The Ginastera String Quartets are not well-known as standard twentieth century repertoire. More's the pity. These are masterful and excellent compositions, played with great clarity, energy and precision. In the line of the Bartok Quartets, but with a little more expansiveness, and the first two could be mistaken as models for the Michael Nyman String Quartets, while dating from 1948 and 1958 (revised in 1968).
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