Carlos Guastavino, classical music composer
(April 5, 1912 - October 29, 2000) was an Argentine composer.
Carlos Guastavino was born in Santa Fe Province, Argentina. He studied music in Santa Fe with Esperanza Lothringer and Dominga Iaffei, and in Buenos Aires with Athos Palma. A talented pianist, he performed his piano works in London in 1947, 1948, and 1949, invited by the BBC, and as a recipient of a scholarship from the British Council. During these years, the BBC Symphony Orchestra premiered the orchestral version of his Tres Romances Argentinos, under the baton of Walter Goehr. Later, in 1956, Guastavino toured the USSR and China, performing his pieces for voice and piano.
One of the foremost Argentine composers of the 20th century, his production amounted to over 500 works, most of them songs for piano and voice, many still unpublished. His style was quite conservative, always tonal and lusciously romantic. His compositions were clearly influenced by Argentine folk music. His reputation was based almost entirely on his songs, and Guastavino has sometimes been called "the Schubert of the Pampas." Some of his songs, for example Pueblito, mi pueblo, La rosa y el sauce ("The Rose and the Willow") and Se equivocó la paloma ("The Dove Was Wrong"), became national favorites. Unlike most other composers, at any time or place, Guastavino earned enough from his royalties and performing rights that he really had little need for other income.
Guastavino's musical style marked a stark contrast with the works of his 20th-century Argentine contemporaries such as Alberto Ginastera and reveals the influence of European composers such as Albéniz, Granados, Rachmaninoff, Chabrier, Falla, Debussy, and Ravel, but also is clearly inherited from the luminaries of 19th-century Argentine nationalist composers, such as Alberto Williams, Ernesto Drangosch, Francisco Hargreaves, Eduardo García Mansilla and Julián Aguirre. Aguirre's delicate and intimate piano writing is an especially evident influence on Guastavino. Guastavino's stylistic isolation from the modernist and avant-garde movements going on around him, and the self-consciously nationalist content of his songs made him a model for Argentine popular and folk musicians in the 1960s.
Guastavino published more than a hundred and fifty songs for voice and piano, numerous piano solo pieces, choral works, school songs, and chamber music. The poets whose works he set to music included Rafael Alberti, Leon Benaros, Hamlet Lima Quintana, Atahualpa Yupanqui, Pablo Neruda, Gabriela Mistral, and Jorge Luis Borges, among others. A small number of his songs are settings of his own texts. His works for orchestra included Divertissement; fue una vez, commissioned by Colonel de Basil for his original Ballet Russe and premiered at the Teatro Colón, in Buenos Aires, in 1942; and Suite Argentina which was performed in London, Paris, Barcelona, and Havana by the Ballet Español of Isabel Lopez. He also wrote three Sonatas for guitar.
Guastavino received important awards and recognition, such as the Municipal Prize from the city of Buenos Aires for his chamber songs, a prize from the Justice Ministry of Argentina, Prize of the Cultural Commission of Santa Fe Province for his songs, "Vosotras" magazine Prize for his "Canción de Navidad", and a Prize from the Organization of American States and the Inter-American Music Council as recognition of his outstanding creative activity.
Many famous performers, such as Teresa Berganza, Martha Argerich, Gidon Kremer, José Carreras, Kiri Te Kanawa, Patricia Caicedo, Bernarda Fink, Jorge Chaminé, Agathe Martel, and Karina Gauvin, have included works of Guastavino on their programs.
Jardin Antiguo (from Las Nubes)
Deseo (from Las Nubes)
Alegria de la Soledad (from Las Nubes)
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