Argentine music from before and now, to celebrate the Homeland

Argentine music from before and now, to celebrate the Homeland
Argentine music from before and now, to celebrate the Homeland

Saturday 25.5.2024


Last update 8:15

On the night of the 24th, like every year, the Santa Fe Provincial Symphony Orchestra, dependent on the Ministry of Culture, will perform at its traditional Gala Evening for the celebrations of the anniversary of the Homeland. As usual, the venue chosen for the occasion was the 1º de Mayo Municipal Theatre, which allows for a shared box between the provincial and municipal authorities every year. Thus, Governor Maximiliano Pullaro met with Mayor Juan Pablo Poletti, and their respective areas of Culture; headed by Susana Rueda and Paulo Ricci in one case and by Luciana Ceresola in the other. National and provincial legislators, representatives of the armed and security forces and other vital forces also participated.

The head of the organization, the Brazilian Silvio Viegas, chose for the occasion a program composed of Argentine music in its first part, with two world premieres, and a second part dedicated to the “Aranjuez Concerto” for guitar and orchestra by the Spanish Joaquín Rodrigo, with the solo performance of the Argentine guitarist Juan Francisco Almada.

As usual, the venue chosen for the occasion was the Teatro Municipal 1º de Mayo. Credits: Manuel Fabatia

Through time

The evening began with a historical review by the official announcer, who spoke of “celebrating those who made the Homeland,” but he lowered the price of the event a little by stating that “the institutional changes after May Week do not There were many”, although the First Board adopted over time “a strong symbolic and reference character.” Then he spoke of the agreements and disagreements that reach the present, “with successful pacts and others not so much.” He also went on to remember San Martín, Belgrano and Moreno, as well as the Malvinas heroes Oscar Ismael Poltronieri (the only living conscript soldier to receive the highest Argentine military decoration: the Cross of Heroic Valor in Combat) and Alicia Mabel Reynoso (from Santa Fe, a of the 14 nurses who were at the Relocatable Hospital of the Argentine Air Force in Comodoro Rivadavia He also recalled the 30 years of the constitutional reform of 1994, as an example of harmony.

The transition between the institutional and music was given by the execution of the Argentine National Anthem, creation of Vicente López y Planes and Blas Parera, in a vigorous version conducted by Viegas; with special brilliance in the instrumental passages added and expanded by “Niño” Juan Pedro Esnaola.

The driver said that for him and many Brazilians, conducting the Argentine Anthem is an emotion almost comparable to doing so with that of their country, “because it represents us” and “it is important to sing our anthem with passion.”

The Santafesina Symphony premiered works by Ignacio Freijo and Ramiro Gallo. Credits: Manuel Fabatia


The first unpublished work of the night was the “Preludio del Insilio”, by the composer Ignacio Freijo (present in the room). “Insilio” is a neologism to refer to the internal exile of those who took refuge in remote areas of the country, or within themselves, in the long years of the last dictatorship. The composition is dedicated to Bonifacio Palavecino, a young man linked to the People’s Revolutionary Army who, after being tortured by Antonio Musa Azar, took refuge in the mountains of Santiago during the rest of the years of lead.

In the piece, Freijo begins with the woodwinds to show a first lament and something of the atmosphere of the mountain, to grow in the strings until reaching a segment of tension, with some epic soundtrack, in chacarera time, with just the right support in the percussion section. After the first climax, the winds diminish again, to go to the pizzicato of the cellos, like someone preparing for “the second.” After another dramatic passage, the work explodes again in tension from the bronzes to the epic finale.

For “Horacito”

The second premiere was “Viajero”, a symphonic poem by Ramiro Gallo (the Santa Fe credit, also present) dedicated to Horacio Castillo: that guitarist born in Posadas who was raised and artistically trained in Santa Fe, to fly around the world with Raúl Barboza and other artists, before dying in a bus accident on July 8, 2009, at the age of 37.

Gallo presents on the English horn, clarinet and flute different motifs that intersect throughout the piece, in different tensions and colors: the main one is a descending melody, with some of “A tonga da mironga do kabuletê ” (Toquinho melody), which in its most festive and luminous moment rides on the rhythm of candombe, to emerge to a crescendo that represents the clash; a romantic passage on the strings gets in the middle, and it is the woodwinds that present Castillo’s soul on its final journey.

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Value your own

The program continued with the First Concert Overture, Op. 15, by Alberto Williams. Viegas was full of praise for the composer, born in the second half of the 19th century, stating that little is known about him, and that all orchestras should interpret him.

Before addressing the piece, the maestro attacked again (he had already done so in front of the minister and now he repeated it before the governor) in his demand for a larger provincial theater, so that no one would be left out of the Symphony concerts and the Polyphonic Choir.

He also responded “to some who write on the Internet that they spend millions on orchestras and choirs: these people do not know what an orchestra or a choir is,” and urged that the national government invest in a fund to pay the rights to the works. by contemporary Argentine authors and played by the country’s orchestras. “We as Argentines (he stated, including himself) have the right to listen to Argentine music. And if we don’t give the composers a push, they won’t come from Germany to look for their scores”; in the same way that it is the provincial orchestra and not “the Berlin Philharmonic” that will give opportunities to new performers.

Finally, the piece by Williams (grandson of Amancio Alcorta and father of Amancio Williams, the inventor of the “shell vault”, as the “hard umbrellas” of El Molino are known) was addressed, written under the tutelage of his teacher, the French César Franck, one of the stylistic inspirations of the work, along with Jan Sibelius, from whom he would later take impetus for the adoption of national music in the academy. The Prelude is a composition that demands a certain mathematical precision and the emotions of romanticism at the same time: a good test for the charismatic conductor’s baton and for the expressive capacity of his instrument, the entire orchestra.

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Watch the Gala Evening of the Santa Fe Symphony for the May Revolution live

From love to grief

After the interval, it was the turn of the piece by Rodrigo, the blind pianist who created elegantly for the guitar (feedback by his connection with Pepe Romero). The Valencian took advantage of amplification (one of the elements that gave great impetus to the classical guitar as a solo instrument, along with nylon strings), which allowed this instrument to be put at the forefront of a symphonic formation.

The work has three movements: Allegro con spirito (representing his honeymoon in Aranjuez with the Turkish pianist Victoria Kamhi), the famous Adagio (the moment when his first child is stillborn in Germany and his wife almost dies) and the Allegro gentile (where he “hears God” and accepts his destiny).

As for Almada, graduated from the University of La Plata and postgraduate in Mar del Plata under the guidance of Eduardo Isaac from Parana, he is a guitarist with an elegant touch, capable of transmitting emotions without stridency. This is how he approached the first movement, festive in the initial strumming, an Iberian touch par excellence, which the orchestra takes almost “tight” at the beginning, to open the melodies of this “casorio dance”, in which the guitar and the winds exchange lines melodic, always returning to the protagonist of the first

The Adagio could be a solo work (and in practice it usually works as such); The guitar goes from playing the suffering strums (“beats”) accompanying the English horn in the main motif, to playing it as if it were a melodic instrument on the orchestra, which takes it up in a big way: from the outside it seems like an easy composition, and although If it were, it would not lose emotion and “effectiveness”. Later there will be a cadenza for the guitar, which will dialogue with itself (perhaps like Rodrigo before his tragedy), playing alternately melody and chords on the snares, until finding the synthesis.

The third movement is a tour de force: if the orchestra is removed, it could well be a work for solo guitar by Tárrega or Albéniz, because the guitar does not leave the scene for more than a couple of bars, and demands the use of arpeggios, bells and melodies with chords. Almada, after leaving a lot of energy in the previous movement, emerged victorious in this demonstration of virtusism.

Thus came the final ovation for the guest soloist, the featured instrumentalists in the piece and the entire ensemble. And it was shown that music and artistic creation are ideal elements to celebrate the Homeland, without grandiloquence; and that are central when thinking about “the happiness of the people and the greatness of the Nation.” Although some want to convince us otherwise.

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