Carmen Piazzini, born and raised in Buenos Aires, completed
her studies in Germany with Hans Leygraf. As
an intermediary between the worlds of classical music
in Europe and South America, she consciously performs
Astor Piazzolla’s works from the viewpoint of
a classically trained pianist. On this CD, she also
presents works of composers from her homeland,
some of whom are virtually unknown in Europe.
Piazzini plays Piazzolla
European music has accompanied
my life since childhood. Its philosophical
character, the profound nature
of its sadness and its joy, its stylistic
and gestural variety, its tendency to
artistic individuality, its high level of
artistry and inherent earnestness
were and are to the present day the
role-models of my artistic aesthetics.
Consequently, there had to be a particular
reason for my making a CD
of Astor Piazzolla (1921–
1992), for when all is said and done, I
am no “Tanguera”. Therefore, I chose
pieces to play in which I felt an affinity
to him. Astor Piazzolla was a
trained classical pianist and the piano
had been “his” instrument long before
he dedicated himself to the Bandoneón.
For this reason, I felt justified
in playing Piazzolla with my classical
Mozart fingers, and I never tried to
hide this for a moment. At the same
time, I felt a touching solidarity with
him, a man who had long lived
abroad and experienced profound
melancholy and eternal longing for
the land of his birth.
European earnestness cannot comprehend
our Argentinean mentality;
our genes are different, Piazzolla’s
music shows his seriousness in the
emotions he presents in his social and
political day-dreams. We also believe
that a philosophical knowledge of the
world is as much use to our ideas
about life as the trustworthiness for
which we fought so hard, because we
believe, or maybe only feel, that this
is the way to become a static figure, a
statue in a negative sense. We experience
ourselves through movement,
moved however more by fate than by
movements of our own choosing. We
are dancers, and although disciplined,
we remain free!
Piazzolla’s music reveals this emotional
profundity, as does the work
of the other composers represented
on this CD. All of them were bound by
ties of friendship to my family in
with the exception of Fontenla
and Sáenz. I have been playing
their music since my childhood, so
they are very familiar to me. Thus I
decided to record a selection by composers
who, like Piazzolla, did not
want to be defined only by the characteristics
of their national dance. I believe
that the recording has proved
me right. In contrast to Piazzolla, who
became famous throughout the world
in the last years of his life, the others
are not well-known outside Argentina
(with the exception of Ginastera), and
they deserve to become better-known.
Argentinean music may seem less ingenious
than its European counterpart,
particularly when compared to
German music, but it is sensuous and
corporeal in a philosophical way.
Carlos Guastavino (born 1914)
writes compositions based on folk music.
His compositions clearly demonstrate
his interest in song-forms; they
play directly on the strings of the listener’s
Atardecer en al sierra (sunset
over the Low Mountain Range) by
Jorge Fontenla (born in 1927) was
in 1948. The influence of
music is unmistakable.
Alberto Ginastera (1916–1983),
Piazzolla’s and Fontenla’s teacher,
originally wrote his Milonga for voice
and piano, with the title The tree of forgetfulness.
A lover lies down under the
tree to forget his beloved. Logically, he
forgets his intention at the same time.
His three “Argentinean Dances” the
Dance of an Old Cowherd, Dance of a
graceful girl and Dance of a mischievous
Gaucho, form an internally coherent
work, comparable to the movements
of a sonata.
Carlos López Buchardo (1881–
1948) is the most important figure in
Argentinean classical music next to
Ginastera. He wrote few pieces for
Bailecito (Little Dance) became
very popular. Campera, a work written
for a large orchestra, was rearranged
by him for piano.
The Milonga is Argentina’s favourite
dance form, after the Tango, and,
in contrast to the latter, can have
amusing texts. Ginastera’s Milonga
is of course an exception, Pedro
Sáenz’s (1915 –1995) is strongly reminiscent
of Darius Milhaud.
Alberto Williams (1862–1952)
composed El rancho abandonado (The
Abandoned Hut) as part of a piano
suite in 1890 shortly after his return
from a prolonged visit to Paris.
was very much inspired by
music, but remains close to
the heart of Argentinean folklore.
Julián Aguirre (1868–1924) was a
great friend of Williams. Triste (sad),
the fourth of five Tristes as well as
Gato (Dance) are not typical of Argentinean
folk-style compositions, although
this was his aim. The Gato on
this CD was also arranged by Ernest
Ansermet for orchestra.
Translation: Deborah Holmes