WORKS: Panambí; Estancia
PERFORMER: Luis Gaeta (narrator, bass-baritone); LSO/Gisèle Ben-Dor
CATALOGUE NO: 75605 51336 2
With strong interests in both the pre-colonial and the Latin cultures of Argentina, Ginastera put a distinctive stamp in his corner of the mid-century international scene. He linked up with currents that flowed from France and Spain, and both these dance scores from his twenties alternate elegance and orchestral refinement with passionate melody and driving rhythmic energy.
Panambí is about tribal life, especially the magical and elemental sides. Plenty of action ensues, though the lasting impression is made by quieter, recurring material which evokes the natural world and helps hold together a slightly disjointed sequence of short numbers until it emerges at full strength in the radiant sunrise finale. Estancia, more Spanish and Romantic in feeling, maintains a cohesive momentum through its separate up-tempo dances for the various social strata at a rodeo.
Written for the company that commissioned Copland’s Billy the Kid, its tale of gaucho life comes complete with sung and spoken recitations from an epic poem of the pampas. Again, pastoral scenes define the shape of the score and provide its heart. Rousing and immediately attractive, the music is played with flair and conducted vigorously (and, according to the booklet photo, with her left hand) by Ben-Dor. Robert Maycock