The connection between Wales and the harp is a long-standing one, and Mathias's part in it began 12 years before his Harp Concerto was written, with Improvisations for harp solo; even a Welshman has to learn how to cope with such an idiosyncratic instrument. He learned his lessons well—even using semitone pedal glissandos in the second movement, and he keeps the harp audible by alternating its solo passages with orchestral ones or, when the two are working together treating the orchestra with a light touch (the celesta is used as a particularly effective companion to the harp), at other times resorting to the more familiar across-the-strings sweep. Two movements have declared Welsh associations: the first juxtaposes but does not develop three themes the second is a 'bardic' elegy; the last is simply ''joyful and rhythmic''. The whole makes pleasing listening appealing to the emotions and imagination rather than the intellect.
Alberto Ginastera (1916–83) the foremost 20th century Argentinean composer began composing in 1930, but destroyed many of his early works. The one work to survive from this period was the ballet 'Panambi', which catapulted him to fame, and resulted in a commission for another ballet 'Estancia' based on rural Argentinean life. Aside from his stage and orchestral music, chamber music played a big role in his creative output. The string quartets span the various stages of his musical development, and …..
Perhaps what strikes the ear first about Alberto Ginastera's music is the convincing and intelligible way in which the composer utilizes dissonance to create lucid gestures and expressions. Ginastera seems to know just where and how to place his sonic gnarls and knots so that that they appear as beauty marks instead of blemishes. The Three Pieces for Piano (1940) readily exemplify this aspect of Ginastera's musical language…….
Alberto Ginastera's Piano Sonata No. 1, Op. 22, exemplifies the stylistic traits associated with what scholars have described as Ginastera's "subjective nationalist" period. In earlier works, such as the Danzas Argentinas, Op. 2, from 1937, and the Creole Faust Overture from 1943, Ginastera borrowed from, modeled on, and/or made explicit references to dance and song styles from the folk traditions of his native Argentina. Beginning in the late '40s and early '50s, however, ……
This light and lively production best serves the coolly elegant Variaciones concertantes and the Harp Concerto, whose magical sonorities are particularly complemented by the transparent recording and chamber deployment of the Orquesta Cuidad de Granada. Both works also enjoy outstanding solo work from harpist Magdalena Barrera and the ensemble’s various first-desk players. In fact, there is no better performance available of the Harp Concerto, a piece that successfully inhabits a world between Ginastera’s early folk-inspired music and his later expressionist style………..David Hurwitz @ classicstoday.com
Alberto Ginastera (1916-1983) is easily Argentina's best-known classical composer (unless you count Astor Piazzolla whose oeuvre would probably have to be considered largely 'popular'). Certainly in his lifetime he was the most celebrated composer from that country. Further, he brought to a wider public the rhythmic and melodic characteristics of the 'Argentine sound' for the foreign listener. One of his most fervent proponents has been the American pianist Barbara Nissman whose playing is heard on this disc. The CD contains two world première recordings……..Scott Morrison @ Amazon.com