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Rosas de Pulpa Rosas de Cal-The Music of Valdo Sciammarella
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Rosas de Pulpa Rosas de Cal-The Music of Valdo Sciammarella on CD

Following a search that covered two continents, American soprano Diane McNaron found Argentine composer Valdo Sciammarella and began a four-year exchange of ideas and music in all genres -- songs, chamber music, works for choir and orchestra. 'Rosas de Pulpa -- Rosas de Cal' is the complex and rivting result. The CD's title is taken from Pablo Neruda's poem, 'Campesina,' or Peasant Girl. Watching her, the poet addresses the woman in his mind as she toils unaware of him. Thinking of what the work does to her body and how the furrows which she tills will become her grave, he speculates on the conditions and ideologies that put her there, then questions ironically, "What ideal can your body fulfill?" Will his writing bring immortality to this being whose flesh he sees decimated? Intuitively, composer Valdo Sciammarella sets the poem as a love song, perhaps from the earth to the woman. In this two-song cycle, 'Dos canciones,' the composer defied precise Argentine cultural borders when he combined the Neruda poem with a country fable or Romancillo, uniting porteños with provincias, city people and country folk, who historically do not mix. We hope this gesture invokes the revolutionary, humanitarian spirit of Neruda. Opening the recording is the cycle 'Cuatro canciones,' premiered by the composer and contralto Beatriz Costa in July 1991, in the Salón Dorado at the Teatro Colón. It offers a metaphysical speculation on the permanency of art by poet Francisco Luis Bernádez, which serves as an introduction to the extreme emotional highs and lows of première Spanish-language Romantic poet Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer. Bécquer chronicles the loves of his brief, intense life through his passionate poetry. 'Si al mercer' is unique in Sciammarella's work for it's musical onomatopoeia. The piano is the wind, twisting and undulating, as it wafts the burning breath and whispered love-words of the poet to his beloved. In the most famous of Spanish-language poems, 'Volverán,' lines which begin as lyrical love poetry subtly pivot to skewer Bécquer's love for her coldness and narcissism. Finally, in Sciammarella's tango-style setting of 'Hoy como ayer, Bécquer explodes with scrappy, sardonic irony. Piezas breves,' a multi-movement work for piano, published in 1956, was premiered by the composer on May 21, 1953, in Buenos Aires. The beauty of the simple poetry of Javier's 'Cantigas de amigo' is it's universality: that lovers and friends can part but find each other, still, through dream, memory and the sounds they shared. Argentina's renowned tango subtly influences and enlivens many Sciammarella works. In an informal interview, Sciammarella admits that the acute listener can always find the tango's rhythm in the porteño's (inhabitant of Buenos Aires) speech cadence and language. Though written in 1972/79, the 'Credo,' from the 'Ballet Credo,' did not receive a premiere until 1990. As with all works herein, except 'Cantigas,' this is it's first recording. The tango flavor emerges in the second movement, perverse, dark, humorous and urbane. As in both the tango bailado (danced) and cantado (sung), Sciammarella recreates the tango's unexpected contrasts and movements that, for him, reproduce the very sound and feel of his beloved Buenos Aires. K. Jensen/D. McNaron.