Whereas Ginastera’s work covered most genres of composition, including opera, ballet, orchestral and film music, Carlos Guastavino (1912–2000) wrote almost exclusively for voice and piano, with some two hundred titles to his credit. Given his feeling for melody and lush piano textures, it is not surprising that his songs are a well-established part of the Argentinean cultural landscape. Cita
is typical of his mellifluous style, with the piano’s continuous quaver motion now evoking the gently flowing stream, now picking out the rasping call of the cicada. La palomita
has a more archaic flavour (Argentinians, too, can summon up their past when necessary) appropriate to the spirit of its eighteenth-century poem. But La rosa y el sauce
, a kind of cross between Rachmaninov’s Vocalise
and Granados’s Maja and the Nightingale
, is the real thing, a full-blown hit. There are some pieces of music that once heard are never forgotten, and this is one of them. A perfect encore piece, it was a favourite of the great Conchita Badía, who instituted the tradition (sanctioned in the score and followed by all singers ever since) of singing along wordlessly with the piano postlude.
from notes by Roger Vignoles © 2002