of LOVE (Cantos
Higueras Arte - EK CD 107 - 1998
programme is a selection of songs by some of the most important composers
of Argentina and Brazil of the XX century. Most of them are songs of
love and nostalgia and present popular rhythms elaborated by the composers.
Some are even popular songs elaborated only in the accompaniment, such
as Ginastera´s "Arrorró", others, like Guastavino´s
"Piececitos", are free from popular bonds and nearer to European
tradition. When performing them it is essential to respect the popular
character which , particularly in the case of Brazilian music, will
be permeated by "rubato" and a certain improvisatory spirit.
Guastavino, born in Santa Fe in 1914 lives still, in the
time of this edition, 1998. Author of over 300 songs, some of them very
popular, he developed his language within traditiond confines, with
diverse approaches to the popular, national roots. La rosa y el sauce",
(the rose and the willow) is less popular in carácter with orchestral,
polifonic development of the motifs in the piano. "Se equivocó
la paloma", (The pigeon was mistaken) is his most popular song,
on a poem of R. Alberti. "El Sampedrino" is written on the
popular rhythm of "Vidalita", balanced between the left and
right hands of the piano, the first one creating almost a counterpart
to the voice while the latter melts with it. The simple writing captivates
for the purity of the popular feeling. "Milonga de dos Hermanos",
(Milonga of the two brothers) on a poem by J.L. Borges is a pampean
"milonga" and evokes the act of telling a story. " Pampamapa"
presents the "Huella" rhythm in the piano interludes, quicker
than the lyric passages of the voice. Finally "Piececitos"
(Little feet), reminds us of the "Lieder" of Schubert and
Mendelsohn with its fluid, romantic piano writing.
Alberto Ginastera is an extremely
important and prolific composer with an extraordinary evolution that
took him as far as adopting microtonal, serial and other avant-garde
techniques. The present songs belong mainly to an early period where
national feeling was very present and the language more traditional.
In "Triste" (sad) there are echoes of "vidalita"
- a popular Argentinean form. The "Zamba" is a popular Argentinean
rhythm - it has nothing to do with Brazilian Samba. "Arrorró"
(the word repeated when rocking a child to and fro) is a very popular
cradle song of Argentina which Ginastera elaborated adding a piano accompaniment
and interlude which through an obstinate of high bell-like sounds recreates
the atmosphere of sleep. "Canción del árbol del olvido"
(song to the tree of forgetfulness) is written on a simple "vidalita"
rhythm- like Guastavino´s "Sampedrino". "Canción
a la Luna Lunanca" ( song to the moon) recreates the "chacarera"
rhythm and the high notes in the piano generates an atmosphere of dream
Villa Lobos emerges as the most relevant figure in Brazilian
music of the 1st half of the XX century. His very prolific output is
always permeated by national elements which he elaborates in a very
personal way. The "Seresta" is a form of popular music from
the early century in Brazil which used to be played by bohemian musicians
in the streets in the evening (sera), therefore the imitation of guitar
writing. The slow melody of the voice is a "Modinha" , form
of sentimental song, cultivated in Brazil in the XVIII and XIX centuries
which, as love songs was relatad to another of the most popular forms
of "salón" ( lounge or parlour) music, the "Lundú",
of african origins, introduced by the slaves witch were brought to Brazil.
"Melodia Sentimental" (Sentimental Melody) is part of a large
orchestral suite "Forest of the Amazone" created by Villa
Lobos with fragments of the music for the film "Green Mansions".
The "Lundú da Marquesa de Santos" ( Lundú of
the Marchioness of Santos) is one of the three musical pieces which
Villa Lobos wrote for the theatre piece by Viriato Correa "Marquesa
de Santos", who was the woman who actually introduced the Lundú
into court life in the XIX century. Apparently the Marchioness was the
lover of Pedro I, King of Brazil and it is he who is singing his love
for her. "Titilia" is the nickname for Maria Domitila, name
of the Marchioness "Cançao do Poeta do Secolo XVIII"
( song of an XVIII century poet) is again a Modinha.
Francisco Mignone, another very
prolific composer as well as flautist, pianist and conductor, is a very
relevant figure in the musical panorama of Brazil. His romantic musical
background and his nationalist musical interests go together in pieces
full of freshness and a certain improviser spirit. It is noticeable
that in his own playing of his own music he is extremely free in tempo
and often improvises changing the notes, as can be headed in some old
recordings. "O doce nome de você" ( Thy Sweet Name)
is a Modinha with piano interludes of Seresta character, the score indicates
that the piano should imitate the guitar, without using the pedal. "Cuando
uma flôr desabrocha" (When a Flower Blooms) is a "Toada",
a popular country form, merrier and swifter than the Modinha. In the
left hand of the piano writing one can hear the rhythm of the Brazilian
"Tango" - very different from the Argentinean "Tango".
The "Cantiga de Ninar" is a cradle song which recreates the
popular spirit in a concert song near to the Lied. The programme ends
with the brillant "Improviso" an explosion of the improvisatory
character in which Mignone was so interested. The Score indicates "mosso
e con entusiasmo" ( with enthusiasm).
The nationalistic, popular character of the songs is on the one hand
due to political moments which favoured nationalism, as in the case
of Villa Lobos - but mainly to the research of the composers for a true
national musical idiom which is however always based upon the musical
tradition of central Europe. This explains the traditional musical language
in a time of avant-garde experiments which would have let little room
for the recognition of the own national roots. It represents a 1st moment
of recognition of the national, musical identity , only afterwards has
it been possible to assimilate the contemporary musical languages in
the panorama of composition in Argentina and Brazil.