Carlos Guastavino: Argentina’s best-kept secret

Carlos Guastavino: composer of gorgeous music
Carlos Guastavino: composer of gorgeous music

I have been hesitant to post articles about Carlos Guastavino, mainly because the goal of this blog is to introduce pieces and composers whose music you can get in the US. Guastavino’s music is difficult to find outside Argentina. But this is changing now. Elkin Music, at ElkinMusic.com, now shows many of his beautiful piano pieces in their catalog.

Carlos Guastavino was born in the province of Santa Fe, in Argentina, in 1912, and died there in 2000. He is buried in his natal San Jose de Rincon, a small town near the  city of Santa Fe, an area of Argentina criss-crossed by rivers. Guastavino’s music is imbued with nostalgia for his childhood and his hometown.

A great pianist, Guastavino knew how to write effectively for this instrument. His style is extremely user friendly – very warm and romantic, firmly rooted in tonality, and always with a strong Argentine folk flavor. While some of his music demands a lot from performers, he also wrote many wonderfully attractive pieces at the intermediate level. I will be publishing a few more articles about his music in the near future. For now, enjoy my performance of Santa Fe para Llorar, the first and easiest of his Diez Cantilenas Argentinas (Ten Argentine Cantilenas). Santa Fe para Llorar can be translated as “To cry for Santa Fe”, a wistfully nostalgic piece. It has also been transcribed for guitar.

(Note: more than a year has past since this post. I have to admit that I now like a slower tempo for this piece!)

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