Music has the natural power of leading the listener through time and space. It is a real “tour “what is offered by the traces of this recording: from the warmth of the sunniest Europe (Italy and Spain) to the varied American continent swept from the north to the south. The intensity of the “Romanza” composed by the Italian Nunzio Ortolano (1967) shows the inexhaustible Mediterranean lyricism. The Romanza that is dedicated to the clarinetist Calogero Palermo sets to music a theme that in its simplicity shakes the deepest heartstrings of everyone. The Spanish saxophonist Pedro Iturralde (1929) has significantly expanded the repertoire for his own instrument by creating some pieces of music executable with the clarinet too. Memorias is a sound transposition of a trip in some fascinating places such as Lisbon, Casablanca and Algiers. […] (Translation by Giusy Accetta)
Astor Piazzolla: (b Mar del Plata, 11 March 1921; d Buenos Aires, 5 July 1992). Argentine composer, bandleader and bandoneón player. A child prodigy on the bandoneón, Piazzolla and his family emigrated to New York in 1924; in his teens he became acquainted with Gardel, for whom he worked as a tour guide, translator and occasional performer. Piazzolla returned to Buenos Aires in 1937 where he gave concerts and made tango arrangements for Aníbal Troilo, a leading bandleader; he also studied classical music with Ginastera. In 1944 Piazzolla left Troilo’s band to form the Orquesta del 46 as a vehicle for his own compositions. A symphony composed in 1954 for the Buenos Aires PO won him a scholarship to study in Paris with Boulanger, who encouraged him in the composition of tangos; the following year he resettled in Argentina and formed the Octeto Buenos Aires and, later, the Quinteto Nuevo Tango, which performed at his own club, Jamaica. Piazzolla left Argentina in 1974, settling in Paris, where he composed a concerto for bandoneón and a cello sonata for Rostropovich, among other works. Piazzolla’s distinctive brand of tango, later called ‘nuevo tango’, initially met with resistance. Including fugue, extreme chromaticism, dissonance, elements of jazz and, at times, expanded instrumentation, it was condemned by the old-guard, including not only most tango composers and bandleaders but also Borges, whose short story El hombre de la Esquina Rosada was the basis for Piazzolla’s El tango (1969); like tango itself, Piazzolla’s work first found general approval outside Argentina, principally in France and the USA. By the 1980s, however, Piazzolla’s music was widely accepted even in his native country, where he was now seen as the saviour of tango, which during the 1950s and 60s had declined in popularity and appeal. In the late 1980s Piazzolla’s works began to be taken up by classical performers, in particular the Kronos Quartet, who commissioned Five Tango Sensations (1989). In all he composed about 750 works, including film scores for Tangos: the Exile of Gardel (1985) and Sur (1987). Shortly before his death, he was commissioned to write an opera on the life of Gardel.
Carlos Guastavino: (b Santa Fe, Argentina, 5 April 1912; d Buenos Aires 29 October 2000). Argentine composer and pianist. In his early years, he studied the piano with Esperanza Lothringer and later with his cousin Dominga Iaffei Guastavino. He studied chemical engineering at the Universidad del Litoral, before going to Buenos Aires in 1938, having received a grant from the Santa Fe Ministry of Public Instruction to study music at the National Conservatory. But on arriving there, instead of entering the conservatory, he elected to take private lessons with Athos Palma (composition) and Rafael González (piano). His earliest published songs and piano pieces date from around this time, as does his only stage work, the ballet Fue una vez. Beginning in the mid–1940s, Guastavino’s music gained increasing local and international acclaim thanks to his own performances and those by other artists, such as the pianists Rudolf Firkušný and Inés Gómez Carrillo. In 1948 Guastavino went to London, where he stayed for two years on a grant from the British Council. He performed his songs and piano music throughout Great Britain and Ireland, and in 1949 Walter Goehr and the BBC SO played his Tres romances argentinos. Later tours included trips throughout Latin America and, in April 1956, to China and the former Soviet Union. Guastavino’s concert appearances declined during the 1960s as he focussed increasingly on composition and accepted various interim teaching positions in Buenos Aires, including spells at the National (1959–73) and Municipal (1966–73) Conservatories. Disillusioned by the neglect of critics and colleagues and possibly depressed over the death of his mother, Guastavino stopped composing abruptly in 1975. He began writing again in 1987 on the encouragement of Carlos Vilo, whose vocal chamber ensemble gave many performances of Guastavino’s songs. He wrote or arranged numerous works for Vilo’s group before retiring from composition for good in 1992. Guastavino came of age artistically during the 1940s, an era of strong nationalist sentiment in Latin America, and even after the movement’s decline in the 1960s, most of his works show at least some nationalist influence. They also demonstrate a tender nostalgia for Argentina, its people, and especiaaly its wildlife in such works as Pajaros (1974) and Diez Cantilenas argentinas (1958). Guastavino also draws on gauchesco and Indian traditions, invoking Argentine folk idioms in the Cuatro canciones argentinas (1949), and in piano pieces such as Gato (1940), Bailecito (1940) and Pampeano (1952). He voiced strong objections to contemporary musical trends, and his own music never diverges from tonal harmony and traditional forms. As his output in large-scale genres is slight, Guastavino is best known for his piano pieces, chamber music and, above all, songs – art songs, songs for schoolchildren (‘canciones escolares’) and choral arrangements of his own songs. The early songs, especially Se equivocó la paloma (1941) and La rosa y el sauce (1942), are still among those most often performed and recorded. His longest and most fruitful collaboration began around 1963 with the Argentine poet León Benarós, whose poetry forms the basis of more than 60 songs. Of these some of the finest are found in Flores Argentinas (‘Argentine Flowers’, 1969), a cycle that displays Guastavino’s characteristic melodic lyricism and sensitive text-setting, as well as his strong inclination towards texts on themes of nature. The discography of his works has grown steadily since the early 1980s and features such artists as Ameling, Berganza, Carreras and Cura. Notable instrumental works include Diez cantilenas argentinas for piano, the series of Presencias (for various media) and the Clarinet Sonata (1971).
Judith Shatin: (b Boston, 21 Nov 1949). American composer. She studied composition with Milton Babbitt, Otto Luening, Jacob Druckman, J.K. Randall, Peter Westergaard and Gunther Schuller, earning degrees from Douglass College, the Juilliard School of Music and Princeton University. Founder of the Virginia Center for Computer Music, she has taught at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, where she has also served as chair of the McIntire School of Music. Among her numerous honours are Juilliard’s Abram Ellstein Award (1973) and commissions from the Kronos Quartet and the Women’s PO. Shatin’s early works, which employ acoustic instruments in conventional solo and ensemble contexts, later gave way to a style combining electronic and acoustic sound. She has described this development by explaining: ‘As I [became] fascinated by the intertwining of electronic and acoustic, my sense of music [grew] to include the rumble of machines in a working coal mine, the crunch of a potato chip, the blast of a shofar, the clink of a fork against a cup’. Her preoccupation with timbre, characterized as an ‘exploration of timbral edges’, has led to experiments with computer-generated digital synthesis and processing; her works now often feature electroacoustic elements.
Meyer Kupferman: (b New York, 3 July 1926; d Rhinebeck, 26 November 2003). American composer and clarinettist. He was educated at the High School of Music and Art, New York City, and at Queens College, CUNY, but is self-taught as a composer. In 1951 he joined the music faculty of Sarah Lawrence College, where he later became professor of composition and chamber music, retiring in 1994. He has received a composition prize and recording grant from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters (1981), a Guggenheim Fellowship (1975), and many other awards, grants and commissions. A virtuoso clarinettist, Kupferman has given numerous concerts at Carnegie Recital Hall and elsewhere on the East Coast in which he has played many first performances of his own and others’ music. He is a prolific composer whose output encompasses a variety of forms and styles. His aesthetic is demonstrated by his Cycle of Infinities, a group of over 30 chamber pieces which he began in 1961. The entire group, scored for a wide range of ensembles, is based on a single 12-note set and combines serial procedures, the popular appeal and rhythmic propulsion of jazz, and aleatory elements. Thus Infinities I is an entire concert for solo flute; Infinities 5 is a concert for solo cello, including pieces for cello and bass voice, cello and tape, and a concerto for cello and jazz band; and Infinities 6 is a cantata for unaccompanied chorus. Superflute (1972, commissioned by Samuel Baron) was the first of many works that Kupferman calls ‘Gestalt forms’; these include works using mirror tape, polylingual cantatas, and new theatrical and improvisational forms. Among his major ‘Gestalt’ works are Celestial City, Angel Footprints and Fantasy Concerto (all 1973). An amateur painter, he has been inspired by visual artists in works such as Motherwell Fantasy and Images of Chagall. His dramatically effective film music ranges widely from the satirical German march in Goldstein to sentimental folksong-like material in Truman Capote’s Trilogy. Kupferman has also composed scores for ballet and opera, and has arranged and orchestrated two musicals by Harold Rome. Symphony no.10 ‘FDR’ (1981) was commissioned and given its première by Imre Palló and the Hudson Valley PO. He is the author of Atonal Jazz (Medfield, MA, 1992).
Pixinguinha: (b Rio de Janeiro, 23 April 1897/8; d Rio de Janeiro, 17 Feb 1973). Brazilian composer, flautist, saxophonist, arranger and bandleader. His father was an amateur flute player and cultivator of the old choro. Around the age of ten Pixinguinha played the cavaquinho and accompanied his father, who also taught him the flute. He participated in carnival band parades (1911–12), played in night clubs and in the orchestra of the Rio Branco cinema, specializing in musical comedies and operettas. His talents as a flautist were widely recognized and through this he formed his first significant group, Os Oito Batutas, with other important musicians of the period, such as Donga, China and Nelson Alves. Originally including flute, three guitars, singer, cavaquinho, mandoline, tambourine, reco-reco and ganzá, they were presented at the Cinema Palais in 1919 with a typically national repertory that included waltzes, polkas, tangos, maxixes, choros, modinhas and sambas. Within three years the group toured the major cities of southern and north-eastern Brazil, and finally abroad in Paris (1922) and Buenos Aires, also recording works by Pixinguinha, Donga and others. In 1928 he co-organized the Orquestra Típica Pixinguinha-Donga, mostly for studio work, recording the famous samba-choro, Carinhoso. After working as an arranger for the Victor Talking Machine of Brazil (1929), he organized the Guarda Velha (1931) from leading Brazilian instrumentalists, and with whom he achieved his best work as a band leader, providing a coherent and effective ensemble structure while allowing room for solo virtuoso display. The band recorded dozens of albums and backed major popular stars of the period, such as Carmen Miranda, Mário Reis and Sílvio Caldas. Pixinguinha’s own compositions number about 140 pieces, mostly choros, polcas-choro, sambas and a few carnival marches and waltzes, some of which won widespread popularity from the 1920s to 50s. He contributed substantially to the development of a genuinely national popular music and to an increased instrumental sophistication in orchestration and band arrangement.
Cancellieri, Francesco Scrofani (Pianist), Pianist, composer, music critic, teacher and lecturer, he performs concert activity as solo artist in chamber and jazz groups. He collaborates with internationally known musicians. He has made several recordings for Italian and foreign record companies. He wrote the volume “Musica Ridens, humorous expedients in 55 years of compositions” published in 2015 by Zecchini Editore srl.
Campagnolo, Gianluca (Clarinettist), official artist of Buffet Crampon, Vandoren Reed, Lomax Classic Mouthpieces and the Backun Barrels, he has got a considerable artistic activity all over Sicily, in Italy and abroad. As a clarinettist, he has won many National Prizes and has attended various specialization courses. He has taken part in several programmes on private and public networks – as RAI – and in broadcast. He is a composer and a member of SIAE and has published numerous compositions, essays and articles; he has been a member of jury in various National and International Competitions. He has recorded for Centaur, Bongiovanni, Amadeus Arte, Eco, Taukay and published the Complete Method for Clarinet in ten volumes printed by By Bess and the New Complete Method for Clarinet, a publication completely dedicated to the clarinet divided into 12 volumes published by C.D.B. He has also published for Amadeus Arte, Eco, Armelin and Artemide. He has practiced with the Teatro Massimo Orchestra in Catania, the Youth Sicilian Symphonic Orchestra, the Iblea Symphonic Orchestra‘ and the Capita Selecta Hollandian Orchestra. He has taken a course of lectures on the Methodology of the expressive activities to Catania University and on Clarinet to Jakarta Pelita Harapan University and El Salvador University.