GINASTERA FOR HARPE OG ORKESTER
Det finnes få komponister som kan få salen til å svinge og dansefoten til å rykke som Alberto Ginastera. Å fremføre musikken hans krever en særegen kombinasjon av klassisk virtuositet og rytmesans. Dette er den første norske innspillingen av Ginasteras harpekonsert op. 25 og «Variaciones concertantes» op. 23, mesterlig framført av Kringkastingsorkesteret og deres soloharpist Sidsel Walstad.
Harpekonserten ble bestilt i 1956 av harpisten Edna Phillips, men ble først urfremført i 1965 av den spanske harpisten Nicanor Zabaleta, som hadde samarbeidet tett med komponisten. Til tross for voldsomme krav til solisten, er konserten blitt et (av fortsatt ganske få) standardverk for harpe og orkester. Walstad baserer i stor grad harpestemmen på den reviderte utgaven Zabaleta spilte inn i 1968, en versjon som ligger tettere opptil komponistens ønsker enn tidligere innspillinger. Her møter vi harpen som en rytmisk motor som fremhever det perkussive i musikken, men også bringer frem partier med intens og mystisk skjønnhet.
I tillegg får vi høre Ginasteras «Variaciones concertantes» fra 1953, en uimotståelig kombinasjon av orkesterfarger og store krav til solistiske prestasjoner. Solopartier gis til alle instrumentene i orkesteret, før argentinske cowboyer (gauchos) rir over pampasen i den avsluttende rondoen.
Sidsel Walstad karakteriserer å spille harpekonserten som å «bestige et fjell». Om det kan føles slik for de fleste harpister, har Walstad de aller beste forutsetninger for å takle Ginasteras krav til kompleksitet og rytmikk. Som soloharpist i KORK, utsettes hun for musikk i de forskjelligste genre, komposisjoner og arrangementer som tar harpen langt utenfor den klassiske allfarvei.
Kringkastingsorkestrets peruanske sjefdirigent Miguel Harth-Bedoya har – i likhet med Ginastera selv – et bankende hjerte for sør-amerikansk musikk og kultur, og er en av de dirigentene som har bidratt mest til å spre musikken fra eget kontinent ut i verden, ikke minst gjennom konserter og flere utgivelser med KORK de siste årene.
GINASTERA FOR HARP AND ORCHESTRA
There are few composers who can get a concert hall rocking and dancing feet moving better than Alberto Ginastera. Performing his music requires a unique combination of classical virtuosity and sense of rhythm. This is the first Norwegian recording of Ginastera’s Harp Concerto, Op. 25 and “Variaciones concertantes”, Op. 23, performed here by the Norwegian Radio Orchestra (KORK) and its solo harpist Sidsel Walstad.
The harp concerto was commissioned in 1956 by harpist Edna Phillips but not premiered until 1965 in a performance by the Spanish harpist Nicanor Zabaleta, who had collaborated closely with the composer. Despite its tremendous demands on the soloist, the concerto has become a standard work (one of very few) for harp and orchestra. Walstad bases her recording in large measure on the revised version Zabaleta recorded in 1968, a version that is closer to the composer’s intentions than earlier recordings. Here we encounter the harp as a rhythmic motor that accentuates the percussive quality of the music, but also brings out parts with intense and mystical beauty.
We also get to hear Ginastera’s “Variaciones concertantes” from 1953, an irresistable combination of orchestral timbres and a demanding soloist performance. Solo parts are given to all the instruments in the orchestra, before the gauchos ride across the Pampas in the closing rondo.
Sidsel Walstad describes playing the harp concerto as “climbing a mountain”. Whether it feels like that for most harpists, Walstad has the best qualifications for tackling Ginastera’s demanding rhythms and complexity. As solo harpist in the Norwegian Radio Orchestra she is exposed to a wide variety of genres, compositions and arrangements that take the harp far from classical music’s beaten path.
Like Ginastera, Peruvian chief conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya’s heart pounds for South American music and culture. He is one of the conductors who has contributed most to spreading music from his own continent out into the world, not least through concerts and a number of releases with KORK in recent years.
“Norwegian harpist Sidsel Walstad is technically and musically a force of nature, holding her own against the massive orchestration of the harp concerto, and protean in her ability to spin a long legato line with an instrument notoriously hard to master. But master she does deliver a memorable performance that will surely become a standard against which to judge future attempts at this musical minefield. Aside from praising the mere value of representing the genius of Alberto Ginastera in this perfectly engineered compact disc, perfectly played, perfectly produced, perfectly packaged (and annotated by Jan Hedrick Hayerdahl) we salute the LAWO label for its enterprise and hope that the future will bring more interesting releases. Extraordinary.” Rafael de Acha, rafaelmusicnotes.com, 14.10.2019
"Sidsel Walstad has a great command of her instrument, which is essential to balance the sound game with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra. The Variaciones concertantes, op. 23, were released in Buenos Aires in 1953. In this work we find many virtuosical elements of the thematic and rhythmic elements. Miguel Harth-Bedoya focuses on the sound quality of the instrumentalists, in the tonality, atonality, strength, virtuosity and expressiveness of the Ginastera style in an artistic context that shared the American and European tradition." Marçal Borotau, Sonograma Magazine, 29.11.2019
“Alberto Ginastera (1916-1983) began composing his Harp Concerto in 1956, but it was only first performed in 1965 by the Spanish harpist Nicanor Zabaleta. On this CD, Sidsel Walstad plays the revised version from 1968. Ginastera’s Concerto is technically very challenging and also broadens the expressive spectrum of the harp concerto in general. The soloist is technically flawless and, together with the conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya, she underlines the sometimes gloomy drama of the work. The Variaciones concertantes were premiered in Buenos Aires in 1953. According to Ginastera, they have a « subjective Argentinean quality », which he achieves not through themes, but merely from moods of traditional music. It is a kind of a playful and elegant concerto for orchestra with many solos for various instruments. The Norwegian Radio Orchestra under Harth-Bedoya delivers an expressive and exciting performance, which is undoubtedly one of the best available for this composition.” Remy Franck, Pizzicato, 14.12.2019
“[…] Ginastera’s Harp Concerto (1965) combines fierce rhythmic energy with passages of ethereal beauty and calm. It is fiendishly demanding for the soloist – harpist Sidsel Walstad describes its performance as akin to “climbing a mountain” – but she makes light work of the Concerto’s technical rigours in this wonderfully spirited and sensitive interpretation, well-supported throughout by the Norwegian Radio Orchestra. […] With a further fine performance here from NRO, this disc offers an accomplished and exuberant celebration of Argentina’s vibrant musical culture.” Kate Wakeling, BBC Music Magazine, January 2020
“[…] The first movement in particular has a special energy with plenty of rhythmic drive, the orchestration vital but transparent, allowing the soloist to shine but also creating a highly dramatic, almost cinematic atmosphere. […] The Norwegian Radio Orchestra proves itself entirely capable of creating Ginastera’s desired Argentinian moods, skilfully led by Peruvian conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya, whose “heart pounds for South American music and culture”. […] It may in the end be the couplings that tips the balance, and short playing time is less in this Lawo release’s favour than some. The recording and performances are, however, pretty impeccable.” Dominy Clements, Musicweb International, January 2020
“[…] Soloist Sidsel Walstad is superb throughout. Especially in the third movement’s opening soliloquy, Walstad running her fingernails over the strings at several points. Miguel Harth-Bedoya’s valiant Norwegian Radio Orchestra are game accompanists in this tricksy repertoire, the frenzied final minutes (including what sounds like a direct reference to Messiaen's Turangalîla Symphony) tightly controlled and terrifically exciting. This is a great concerto, not just a great harp concerto. Ginastera's Variaciones concertantes was composed in the early 1950s. Like a South American take on Britten's Young Person’s Guide, the opening cello and harp theme is developed by different orchestral and sections. There's no concluding fugue; instead, a propulsive rondo finally reuniting the players. Listen out for the solo violin variation, and the double bass’s reprise of the theme just before the last section. A highly enjoyable, cleverly structured work, it's neatly performed. Lawo's sound has plenty of punch – a fascinating release.” Theartsdesk.com, Graham Rickson, 25.01.2020
"[...] Both Walstad and the orchestra deliver fine performances of two of Ginastera’s eminently paradigmatic works. Walstad’s playing is eloquently dreamy and distinctively ripe in tone. Her performance, based on the 1968 revision (also performed by Nicanor Zabaleta), is scintillating. The orchestra, under Harth-Bedoya’s baton is stunning. What musicians across the board deliver is startlingly fresh and alive." Raul da Gama, thewholenote.com, 27.01.2020
"Ginastera’s harp pieces redefined the expressive and technical possibilities of the instrument. Though written in the 50s, the Harp Concerto premiered in 1965 with the Spanish harpist Nicanor Zabaleta. In this attractive recording, Sidsel Walstad turns in a colorful, sharply articulated performance, with poetry and virtuosity to spare. Her coordination with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra is deft, and her cadenza in the finale is stunning. Aggressively rhythmical and hauntingly lyrical, the concerto is a mesmerizing work, full of special effects for the harp and colorful solos for other instruments as well, especially brass and percussion. The slow movement is a mournful song initiated by strings. The percussive finale ends with a startling dissonance. Variaciones Concertantes, from a decade earlier, is an even more entertaining piece, creating what Ginastera calls an “Argentinean mood” with folkloric solos for just about everyone in the orchestra as well as the harp. These sound like folk song quotations, but the tunes are Ginastera’s own. At the end, all the forces come together for a joyous rondo." SULLIVAN, American Record Guide
It’s in the slow movement that the orchestra and soloist display their tender side, demonstrating a willingness to linger in the biting dissonances that refuse to ever quite resolve. The effect is of the wide-open pampas in the Argentine countryside, mysterious and not quite in focus. I never wanted it to end, though I sometimes wanted a bit more lingering and bit less moving forward.
" [...] A cadenza of surprising extended techniques opens the final movement, the harp strumming the open notes of a guitar as a kind of dare. Walstad whispers, wails, growls, hisses, and intones gloriously, leaving us eating out of her hands. When the final harp gasp leads to the orchestra entering in a wild duet of percussion and ostinato strings, the game is on. The harp cuts through the fray, exchanging the lead line with the vigor of an orchestra playing as one, her nails-on-strings a chance to play alongside the superb percussion section. The orchestra never stops in this folk-inflected dance as it pushes to a magnificent ending. [...]" Alison Young, harpcolumn.com, 01.05.2020
ALBERTO GINASTERA (1916–1983)
Harp Concerto, Op. 25
1) I. Allegro giusto /// 08:36
2) II. Molto moderato /// 06:30
3) III. Libramente capriccioso – Vivace /// 08:51
Variaciones concertantes, Op. 23
4) I. Tema per Violoncello ed Arpa /// 02:14
5) II. Interludio per Corde /// 02 :01
6) III. Variazione giocosa per Flauto /// 01:05
7) IV. Variazione in modo di Scherzo per Clarinetto /// 02:01
8) V. Variazione drammatica per Viola /// 03:39
9) VI. Variazione canonica per Oboe e Fagotto /// 02:41
10) VII. Variazione ritmica per Tromba e Trombone /// 00:38
11) VIII. Variazione in modo di Moto perpetuo per Violino /// 01:05
12) IX. Variazione pastorale per Corno /// 02:23
13) X. Interludio per Fiati /// 01:19
14) XI. Ripresa dal Tema per Contrabasso /// 02:04
15) XII. Variazione finale in modo di Rondo per Orchestra /// 03:34