Guastavino; Gianneo; Fleury; Buchardo; Lasala; Piazzolla; Carrillo; Ugarte; Williams

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COMPOSERS: Guastavino; Gianneo; Fleury; Buchardo; Lasala; Piazzolla; Carrillo; Ugarte; Williams
LABELS: Harmonia Mundi
ALBUM TITLE: Canciones Argentinas
WORKS: Various songs
PERFORMER: Bernada Fink (mezzo-soprano), Marcos Fink (bass-baritone), Carmen Piazzini (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: HMC 901892
Thanks to José Cura the world has been hearing Argentinian vocal repertoire, but the extensive range of intimate song has lacked international champions with the same clout. Now the Fink siblings, born in Buenos Aires, have put their names to a devastating selection. As much as popular Latin American music, these songs burst with gorgeous, heartbreaking melodies such as Europe shies away from, shaped to the highest levels of European composing skill.

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Their composers were born between 1862 and 1921, when a national classical style was forming. Unlike their contemporaries in Brazil or Cuba they take almost nothing from Africa. Rather, the music is a distinct development of Spanish styles, almost larger than life as it responds to words that carry a powerful feeling for place as well as the tragic emotions of failed love.

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Carlos Guastavino, with nine songs, runs the gamut from obsessive dance to arching ballad, but is run close in quality by Luis Gianneo’s Six Coplas – what a good recital alternative they’d make to Falla’s Seven Popular Songs – and Abel Fleury’s atmospheric duet. Astor Piazzolla sets haunting tales of character and death by Borges. The singers, deftly accompanied by Carmen Piazzini and warmly recorded, deliver with refinement and passion. I can feel CD-of-the-year mode coming on. Robert Maycock