David Leisner is on extraordinarily versatile musician with a multifaceted career as electrifying performing artist, a distinguished composer, and a master teacher. Regarded as one of America’s leading classical guitarists, his superb musicianship and provocative programming have been applauded by critics and audiences around the world.
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.
Impressive in our ongoing, very successful Spanish music series, the BBC Philharmonic and its chief conductor, Juanjo Mena, also explores the works of the Argentinean composer Alberto Ginastera in three orchestral volumes. Not only acknowledged as a leading South-American composer of his day, Ginastera is also seen as one of the heroes of Latin-American music in general, whose enduring source of inspiration was Argentina itself: its pre-Columbian legacy on the one hand and the vast landscapes of the pampas on the other.
Ginastera was Argentina's most famous composer. In the early part of his career he composed music with strong reflections of the folk music of the country. Later, by the time he wrote this 1969 violin concerto, he had adopted a more international, often atonal, style. The form of the concertoo is strikingly original, as is the music itself. The concerto begins with a cadenza. Then there are six variations on music from the cadenza, in the form of ……
My first encounter with the Argentine composer Alberto Ginastera was during my student years, while learning his First Piano Sonata… It was a joy to study because of the composer's craft; he knew and respected the piano and was able to exploit it for his own personal expression.Barbara Nissman
This disc explores that rarity of the classical repertoire, the harp concerto. The musical characteristics of the harp can provide somewhat of a challenge for the composer if writing a concerto for the instrument, but this disc boasts two wonderful examples that show seemingly endless possibilities.
Ginastera's choice of concerto instruments was mainly conventional; he wrote one concerto for violin and two each for piano and cello. Yet the fact that he also produced a concerto for harp shouldn't seem uncharacteristic; it can convincingly be considered a close relative of the guitar, and the guitar was essential to the Argentine folk music that so fascinated Ginastera. He wrote his Harp Concerto during a period when he was consolidating folk influences into a more rugged contemporary language………
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 …..