Response to Ginastera Harp Concerto

unknown-user on #146033

The biggest conducting problem I think, from the harpist’s point of view is balance. The percussionists like to think it is a concerto for them, which isn’t helped by the fact that excerpts from it are standard audition repertoire for them. They are not playing solo parts. Ginastera used folk ideas as a part of his orchestral fabric, not as a dominant element. Compare it to pieces like Pampeana No. 3 and the Variaciones Concertantes. When they start whaling away on those tom-toms they make it sound tribal, when it is an elegant, classy concert work for harp. The conductor has to keep a strict lid on their exuberance. I would like to know how the original differs from the published music, and how that affects the third movement in which, to me, the harp part makes little or no sense. I also have trouble with how he uses the harp to imitate a guitar in the beginning of the cadenza, which is the heart and soul of the piece, and while it is a typical musical gesture, he could have easily chosen a different set of intervals that would have said something about the harp.