Season after Pentecost, 2023
Classical-music institutions rely far too much on anniversary-driven programming: they may as well put up a neon sign saying, “We have no ideas.” Sometimes, though, there are benefits. The centenary of the Argentinean modernist Alberto Ginastera, which falls on April 11, is prompting reconsideration of a composer who, in recent years, seemed ready to fade into the ranks of history’s also-rans.
Ross, Alex. "Modern Microcosm". The New Yorker. 11 April 2016.
It's true. I do always look at the anniversaries, but in the field of church music, where I think it's so easy to get stuck in a rut, sometimes these dates are the incentive I need to try new things.
Or in this case, to reach into my file drawer and pull out the score for the Ginastera's Toccata, Villancico y Fuga, Op. 18, which I have never really learned. It's a great piece, and when I've heard it played it has always stopped me in my tracks. So this is the year.
The opening of the Toccata is a nod to Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565 in terms of its rhetorical rhythm. The Fugue subject is BACH. The form of Ginastera's piece is probably a tribute to the Toccata, Adagio and Fugue of Bach, BWV 564.
Here's a recording Judith Hancock made as part of the "Popular Organ Music" series (the name of which always makes me chuckle).
Ginastera wrote another piece for organ, the Variazioni e Toccata sopra "Aurora lucis rutilat", Op. 52. This piece was premiered at the National Convention of the American Guild of Organists in Minneapolis by Marilyn Mason in 1980.
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