Juanjo Mena completes his highly acclaimed Ginastera series

Ginastera: Orchestral Works, Vol. 3

Xiayin Wang (piano), BBC Philharmonic, Juanjo Mena (conductor)

In this final instalment of Ginastera’s orchestral works Juanjo Mena and the BBC Philharmonic are, once again, joined by the Chinese pianist Xiayin Wang – this time she is the soloist in two of the three works.

Alberto Ginastera (11.04.1916 – 25.06.1983) was one of the most successful south American composers of the twentieth century but few of his works are represented widely in the current catalogue. Hopefully, this splendid series will give rise to an upsurge of interest in this composer.

The CD opens with the four movement Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 28. This is a stark work; it is full of detail and dissonance and requires a muscular performance. Xiayan Wang brings this off very well and is equally at home with the deft touches required in the ‘Scherzo allucinante’. She is clearly in tune with Mena and the BBC Philharmonic and we are treated to the best currently available performance of this concerto.

Why the second work  Variaciones concertantes has not yet entered the common repertoire is something of a mystery. In this piece each of the principal instruments, either singly or in pairs, has an opportunity to shine. It alternates between slower and faster tempi and the piece is a major discovery for this reviewer.

The final work is the youthful Concierto argentino that was rapidly withdrawn by the composer, following a successful launch, pending revisions that never came to pass. On the basis of this performance it certainly deserves to be given full recognition.

Like the two previous issues, it has been expertly recorded and on our systems the 24bit 96kHz download sounded excellent and allowed us to fully appreciate the quality of not only the orchestral musicians but also the talented soloist, Xiayin Wang who clearly has a great deal of empathy with these piano pieces. Well written and informative notes in the booklet complete a thoroughly recommended release.

iClassical rating: 

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