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Ginastera: Cello Concertos

Cello Concerto No. 2, Op. 50
Cello Concerto No. 1, Op. 36
Mark Kosower (cello)
Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, Lothar Zagrosek

Naxos 8572372

A composer to whose music I have had mixed reactions over the years, perhaps put off by the relentless pounding of the keyboard in the oft played first piano sonata.

But there have always been opposing views, and for a sympathetic take, see Richard Whitehouse in 2006 - "a composer whose increasingly radical yet always non-doctrinaire approach to composing was cut short with his death in 1983, when only 67, and whose consistent integrity is a quality sadly lacking in so much music of the present era".

The cello concertos in these performances prove far more sympathetic, and so too are those earlier ones by the composer's cellist widow [Pierian 0034]. In them (1968 rvd. '78/'81) he integrated 'serial techniques for dramatic, ritualistic and expressive effect while maintaining the earlier characteristics of nervous rhythmic energy and ostinati - - dramatic and virtuosic in a framework of a modern and often atonal orchestral framework' [Robert Moon].

We were bowled over by the second, with its vivid orchestration and wide ranging imaginativeness, written for Aurora Natola-Ginastera, the excellent cellist on the Pierian recording. But the budget-priced Naxos release is a safe recommendation.

We look forward to a projected recording of the piano concertos (three of them !) by another of his champions, Barbara Nissman, who has recorded his piano and chamber works on Pierian PIR0005/6.

Peter Grahame Woolf