Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

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Argentinian Suite No. 3 for strings

Piano Concerto No. 12 K414

Concerto for Violin and Oboe BMV1060
Susana Agrest (piano) Luis Roggero (violin) Andrés Spiller (oboe) Matías Targhetta (keyboard) Youth Chamber Orchestra of National Library of Congress, Argentina cond. Lucio B Videla
rec April-June 1998 Estudios Irco Cosentino de Buenos Aires RADIO CLÁSICA CDC 0028

Strange how these reviews lead on to other things. My review of the Arte Nova CD (74321 43329 2) of Alberto Williams' Symphony No. 7 in D major Eterno Reposo (1937) and Poema del Iguazu (1943) last year caught the attention of the conductor and music researcher, Lucio J. Bruno Videla. I am delighted that Sr Videla was able to send me a review copy of the above disc. He is the conductor of the performances on the CD.

Both the Bach and Mozart works are given notably ripe and taut performances. The small ensemble of strings adds to the sense of clarity. These works are not however likely to make the disc of international interest good though the performances are. The main interest generated by this disc centres on the Williams suite here receiving its world premiere recording. There is no doubt about it, this suite adds valuably to the riches of the world's concert music for strings. It dates from 1923 and is written in an idiom which takes part from the grand European tradition (Tchaikovsky and Dvorák serenades) and part from Latin-American elements. Vidalita, Arroro, Variations 1 2 and 4 are in the European mode although I also noticed a similarity with Frank Bridge's Suite for Strings. Milonga, Variation 3 and Cielito are instantly recognisable as Hispanic in accent. The orchestra is gracious and sensitive to the nostalgic spirit of this music. In the European sections I wondered whether expatriate contemporary players in the 1920s might have recalled the urbane charms of Vienna and Prague such is the tilt and turn of Williams' inspiration.

Williams is certainly a good composer. He may be more, until we hear more we must reserve judgement. I have been listening to some broadcast tapes of other works by Williams, Ernesto Drangosch and others and hope to report further.

Meantime this disc is well worth your attention for the Williams and do not underestimate the Mozart and Bach performances either.


Rob Barnett

The price of the CD is 10 US dollars or the equivalent in pounds sterling. For distributors the price is 5 US dollars. For further information, you can write a fax or e-mail (the numbers above)to Santiago Chotsourian or Germán Serain.

CD available from
Radio Clasica
Roque Sáenz Peña 615, piso 12
1393 Buenos Aires, Argentina
fax 326-284
telephone: (54 11): 4326 8188 4326 0142
fax: (54 11) 4326 6284



The Williams' Suite was a bit difficult for a small youth orchestra since the composer demands 60 players! But I think the effort is valid. You can hear that the "Arrorró" (argentinian berceuse) is also in the 7th symphony.

You can obtain two CDs with piano music by Williams in Naxos (piano: Valentín Surif). They are very interesting, but pay no attention to the notes of the booklet. These readings are not in Williams' style, but we are lucky to have some Argentine music on CD.

The best pianist for Williams' works was the Argentine pianist Lía Cimaglia-Espinosa (a pupil of Williams), who died in 1998 at a very old age. She was also a composer.

There is an old ODEON record (78 r.p.m.) made during the forties by Williams himself of a transcription of his orchestral piece El rancho abandonado (what a strange reading!).

Another historic recording is the Vidalita by Beniamino Gigli.

Pablo Williams (the composer's son) has a tape recording of the second symphony. There may also be a broadcast recording of two movements of the seventh symphony by Toscanini.

About the symphonies, it is important to say that all nine, with the exception of the first, are a kind of symphonic poem. Each has a text (a poem or a ballad by Williams himself ). The notes of the ARTE NOVA CD make no mention of it.

Can anyone provide any information about the English-Argentinian composer, Ricardo Blamey-Lafone (1880-1946). He was also a diplomat. I think he lived in London from 1926. His works were often played in Europe (more than Argentina. It seems that Sir Thomas Beecham played his symphonic poems (BBC). Do recordings of these works survive?

The Drangosch Group

The Drangosch Group began its activities in 1999 within the frame of the Instituto Universitario Nacional de Arte (IUNA) coordinated by Prof. Estela Telerman and Prof. Lucio Bruno Videla. Members of the group are pianists Gabriela Bernasconi, Juan Silas Bassa, Ramiro Campodónico, Guillermo Cárdenas, Abel Ghelman, Blas González, Elba Lanata, Ezequiel Sarubbi, and Estela Telerman, violinist and conductor Lucio Bruno Videla, and Lucio Bruno Videla and Fernando Daniel Fuenzalida in research activities. Representative in Germany is pianist and conductor Alejandro Graziani. Gerardo Delgado is in charge of publications. The purpose of the Group is researching on , spreading and recording works by important Argentine composers, many of them unfairly neglected. The Group takes its name after the Argentine composer, pianist, conductor, teacher Ernesto Drangosch, on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of his death. One of its first activities is that of performing Drangosch's complete piano works, chamber works, and songs.


* Works to be published (by E. Drangosch) : Two Songs for Choir op. 15, reconstruction of Cap Ortegal March, op.11ª, Four Melodies op.26 for voice and piano, Two Poems by Amado Nervo , op .28 for voice and piano, Two Melodies on poems by Rafael Alberto Arrieta ,op. 31 for voice and piano. * Texts to be printed : A book with Ernesto Drangosch's biography after a manuscript by his daughter Delia Drangosch de Gandolfo, The Art of piano Playing - a treatise- ,a selection of letters and photographs, ? A CD will be issued containing recitals by Delia Drangosch de Gandolfo, including the world première of Drangosch's Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in E major op.12. ? Revista Clásica and La Nacion will publish articles devoted to Ernesto Drangosch. ? World première of the complete piano works of Drangosch in three recitals -to be recorded on CD. Concerts will take place May 4, 11 ,18 at the "CARLOS LOPEZ BUCHARDO" National Conservatory of Music (IUNA) (Buenos Aires , May 7,14,21 at the Fine Arts Museum, Buenos Aires , July 26 at the ª1º de mayo" Municipal Theater, Santa Fe , Argentina. ? World première of Drangosch's complete songs for voice and piano-to be recorded on CD . ? Performance and recording of Drangosch's Concerto for piano and orchestra by Ramiro Campodónico (piano) and Liberator Gral . San Martin Youth Orchestra conducted by Lucio Bruno Videla . ? Lecture on "Drangosch, genius forgotten", sponsored by BankBoston Foundation (Lucio Bruno Videla). ? A radio program on Drangosch to be broadcast in April by Radio Clasica Nacional (Estela Telerman and Lucio Bruno Videla).

Our research group is something totally new in Argentina and we have not sponsors yet. We are working on it. We must wait for the Drangosch CDs.

The song "Milonga Calabacera" or "No me mires como miran las lechuzas" (Don't look at me like the owls) takes its melody after the old popular tango "No me tires con la tapa de la olla" (Don't throw me with the lid of the cooking pot ! ). Drangosch uses the same theme in the middle section of the "Obertura Criolla". The tape of the "Milongas de la Orquesta" has - sadly - some pitch fluctuations, and the volume level of the symphony is very low (I have done my best...). The old records with the concert by Drangosch are in good condition, but I have not them. I only have this recording with the beginning and other parts (movements two and three ) erased. Delia Drangosch (daughter of the composer) was not satisfied with the conductor's reading, and this recording was never issued. This work was the first Argentinian concert for piano and orchestra, dedicated to Siegfried Prager. The premiere was by Drangosch himself (1913). On that occasion he played four piano concerti, including Beethoven's Emperor and Liszt's A major. In the third movement we can find some "argentine milonga airs".

The first performance of the "Obertura Criolla" was in Buenos Aires in 1920 by Felix Weingartner who liked the work very much. It is the first symphonic work with argentine tango themes, and the first with tango themes applied to a sonata-form (many years before Astor Piazzolla...). The work by Gilardi was performed for the first time in the United States under the baton of the famous pianist And conductor José Iturbi. (I have the idea that this work was used by Walt Disney in a cartoon during the forties). The two-part symphonic poem by López Buchardo was premiered by the Vienna Philarmonic Orchestra and again Weingartner. I think this was in 1922 (Buenos Aires). Pascual De Rogatis (1880 - 1980, no mistake) was famous for his symphonic poems and his two operas. The only symphonic work in record is this old version of the dance from "Huemac".

Now you must know something about the music of our "golden age" period. Perhaps the 70% of all the works made during this time (1890-1955) were never published. 99% of all the argentinian operas and symphonic works were played only a few times (and also never printed).

Commercial recordings were very few and private or broadcast recordings are lost. In 1990, at the beginning of president Carlos Menem goverment, the director of the National Broadcasting virtually threw out (to the street) all the old records and tapes. (Recordings since ca.1936).

The archives of the Colón Theatre were despoiled and may have been sold in Europe: historic recordings by Fritz Busch, Erich Kleiber, Wilhelm Furtwängler, etc...

The few archives extant are a mess and there is no money to work in them. But a lot of music treasures are waiting here to be rediscovered, and our group expects that some day the international recording labels and music editors will be interest in these works. We know that the problem is that nobody knows that this music exists...but we, Argentinians, ask ourselves: why the Argentinians do not play Argentinian music?

Why does Martha Argerich not play a single note of argentinian music? Everybody knows Ginastera and Piazzolla and everybody plays them. Nobody knows the others and nobody plays them. However, the importance of our composers of the past is greater. Do you know that Alberto Williams conducted the Berlin Philharmonic Orch. in 1900 with works by him? Do you know that Ernesto Drangosch was perhaps the most significant pianist born in America during his lifetime and that he was soloist with the Berlin Philharmonic Orch. when he was 23 years old conducted by Joseph Joachim, Ferruccio Busoni and Eugen D'Albert?

The only symphony (Argentine symphony) by Drangosch is lost. Survives only one page of it! The piano sonatas are three: We have two versions of the sonata op.2, but the second is a totally different work. Only the initial motive remains the same. So we have two different works. The first (1895)with four movements and the third (1913) with three movements. The second sonata was premiered in Berlin in 1905, but its movements were published as separate works. The first movement became the Theme and variations op.7, the second became the Scherzo op.8 no.3, and the third the Fantasia op.10.

see also

ALBERTO WILLIAMS (1862-1952) Symphony No. 7 in D major Op. 103 Eterno Reposo (1937) 38:48 Poema del Iguazu Op. 115 (1943) 35:11 Orquesta Filarmonica de Gran Canaria/Adrian Leaper recorded 10-13 June 1996 Gran Canaria ARTE NOVA Classics 74321 43329 2 [74:08]


Rob Barnett

Reviews from previous months

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