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Ginastera: Cello Concertos / Kosower, Zagrosek, Bamberg Symphony

> Cello Concerto No. 2, Op. 50 - I. Metamorfosi di un tema
> Cello Concerto No. 2, Op. 50 - II. Scherzo sfuggevole
> Cello Concerto No. 2, Op. 50 - III. Nottilucente
> Cello Concerto No. 2, Op. 50 - IV. Cadenza e finale rustico
> Cello Concerto No. 1, Op. 36 (1978 version) - I. Adagio molto appassionato
> Cello Concerto No. 1, Op. 36 (1978 version) - II. Presto sfumato
> Cello Concerto No. 1, Op. 36 (1978 version) - III. Assai mosso ed esaltato - Largo amoroso

Album Summary

>Ginastera, Alberto : Concerto for Cello no 2, Op. 50
>Ginastera, Alberto : Concerto for Cello no 1, Op. 36
Performer Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Alberto Ginastera was one of the most respected musical voices of the twentieth century, who successfully fused the strong traditional influences of his national heritage with experimental, contemporary, and classical techniques. The two Cello Concertos are among his most innovative and technically formidable compositions.

"These are both complex, thought provoking, intense works that may take some listeners more than one listening to appreciate. However, I believe that Alberto Ginastera is, indeed, an important and original voice in the history of modern music and of South America in particular. These two concertos, his two piano concertos and the Violin Concerto actually illustrate the development of his style as well as any of his stage works and should be required listening in musicology circles. The performances here are amazing. Mark Kosower is a highly accomplished cellist who worked closely with Aurora Ginastera on the production of this recording before she died and the Bamberg Symphony under Maestro Zagrosek handles the colors and the intensity of these works admirably. Naxos again proves its dedication to providing the highest quality contemporary music with performers attuned to the sensitivities required. I strongly recommend this disc to anyone familiar with Ginastera’s work or wishing to learn more. Cellists would also be astonished by the difficulty of the works themselves and the performance capability of Mr. Kosower." -Audaud.com

"The writing for the soloist in both concertos sounds terrifyingly hard so ever more credit to Kosower for total command of instrument and idiom that he displays. A particular skill is the way in which he is able to link sequences of notes together which range across the entire cello seamlessly. At a technical level this is extremely hard but is vital to allow the listener to perceive such seemingly disjointed lines as melodic. The effect of this style of writing is to give the music a striving expressionistic quality. Because this is not music of instant easy beauty it requires from all the players a style of playing that is almost super-lyrical. It might sound counter-intuitive but music like this requires a fusion of steely precision in terms of rhythm and technical accuracy but hyper-romanticism in regard to its expressivity. Kosower has this aesthetic balance off to a tee. He plays on the borrowed Starker Nebula - Janos Starker is one of his teachers. It is an instrument ideally suited to this music and his playing. The tones are guttural and dark from the lower strings yet are able to cut through the complex textures during the extended passages in alt. To play these pieces with such conviction is the result of many hours of concentrated and dedicated work." -MusicWeb-International

The WholeNote
incredibly modernistic sound and form. Soloist Mark Kosower does an outstanding job with extremely difficult and emotionally demanding works and has matching support from Lothar Zagrosek and the Bamburg Symphony Orchestra. This CD speaks loud and clear - and in a highly individual and effective voice ...

American Record Guide
Kosower is... solid technically. His Concerto 2 is taken from an exciting performance. Concerto 1 was done in the same hall, but without an audience. Concerto 1 is rather a grim work, very difficult to play, but an event for the listener. Concerto 2 shows more popular influences. Both are fine compositions that take us to other worlds of sound and feeling. These are very good readings that make a deep impression.

Even in the composer's most demanding passages, there's no sense that the cellist is being pushed beyond his limits, and his sound remains rich and full throughout the cello's range. Zagrosek and the Bambergers, proven experts in the past century's most demanding scores, give these concertos their all, with color, imagination, and precision.

If you think you have to equate with Latin American folklore Ginastera Celllokonzerte sounds and dance rhythms is mistaken enormous. The Argentine composer offers especially with his second Cello Concerto extremely interesting and exciting contemporary music. Cello and orchestra, so shiny they play sound, but something to me about Europe and for this music. Nevertheless, it is a very valuable publication.

MusicWeb International
The Second Concerto is a live recording, but, aside from what Ginastera provides in the scores, there is little 'atmosphere' as such: extraneous noises have been all but eliminated and there is very little difference in sound quality between the two - in both cases it is very good. The hall itself is shown in a colour photo in the booklet, which has excellent notes on Ginastera and these works by Susan Wingrove.

This is a marvellous team performance from cellist, conductor and orchestra alike, making a compelling case for Ginastera's concertos. The Government must act now to make these compulsory components of the repertoire.

Classical Candor
much regard to a discernable melody. However, the third movement, a nocturne, struck me as most touching, Kosower's cello wistful and yearning. Ginastera called his Concerto No. 1, Op. 36, a neo-Expressionist work. It's a darker, more ominous-sounding piece than No. 2, written in a traditional three-movement concerto arrangement. I'm not sure just what the composer was after in the first movement, but the music can be downright spooky. The scherzo is more rambunctious, an energetic section with a vigorous rhythmic pulse that Kosower and Zagrosek exploit with cultivated restraint. It's quite a lot fun, actually, and does indeed appeal to the senses above all. I might have done without the final movement, though, which apparently Ginastera intended as a plunge into madness, the chaos eventually fading into silence. I suppose this is an appropriate ending to the work, and parts of it are undeniably brilliant. Naxos recorded the concertos in Bamberg Congress Hall, Bavaria, the Concerto No. 1 in 2009 and the Concerto No. 2 live a year later in 2010. The live recording is very close-up, helping to eliminate any possible audience noise but not offering much in the way of natural hall ambience. In compensation, we do get excellent clarity and dynamic impact. In the Concerto No. 1, also recorded very closely but not live, we find slightly more dimensionality, with just as much punch. In any case, both recording styles sound fine, and they fit the music nicely.

Latin dance rhythms and folk elements are prominent as well in the two cello concertos by Alberto Ginastera. Infrequently heard and hence appealing to cellists with as much virtuosity at their command as Mark Kosower possesses, the pieces date from 1968 and 1980, respectively, and are of almost the same length - although No. 1 is in three movements and No. 2 in four. Both works are tributes to the composer's second wife, Aurora Nátola: she gave the première of the first, and the second was written for her as a 10th-anniversary gift. The two concertos are both technically difficult and filled with dance rhythms and orchestral color. The first has highly prominent percussion... The second is more folkloric and more representational, including jungle sounds and an instrumental version of sunrise. The works' folk and rustic elements (the second concludes with a Finale rustic) are especially attractive, and the pieces provide a fine opportunity for cellists to display the range of their sound, from broad singing lines to intense and speedy passages, in unfamiliar but thoroughly interesting works.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Bamberg Concert Hall, Bamberg, Germany.


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Works Details

>Ginastera, Alberto : Concerto for Cello no 2, Op. 50
  • Performer: Mark Kosower (Cello)
  • Conductor: Lothar Zagrosek
  • Ensemble: Bamberg Symphony
  • Notes: Bamberg Concert Hall, Bamberg, Germany (03/17/2010-03/18/2010)
  • Running Time: 34 min. 36 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1980
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Ginastera, Alberto : Concerto for Cello no 1, Op. 36
  • Performer: Mark Kosower (Cello)
  • Conductor: Lothar Zagrosek
  • Ensemble: Bamberg Symphony
  • Notes: Bamberg Concert Hall, Bamberg, Germany (04/21/2009-04/25/2009)
  • Running Time: 34 min. 17 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1968