He is considered one of the most important Latin American classical composers. Ginastera grouped his music into three periods: "Objective Nationalism" — , "Subjective Nationalism" — , and "Neo-Expressionism" — Among other distinguishing features, these periods vary in their use of traditional Argentine musical elements. His Objective Nationalistic works often integrate Argentine folk themes in a straightforward fashion, while works in the later periods incorporate traditional elements in increasingly abstracted forms. In , when they were recording the album, Keith Emerson met with Ginastera at his home in Switzerland and played a recording of his arrangement for him. Ginastera is reported to have said, "Diabolical!
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The reason is as simple as it is strange: the left hand plays only black notes, while the right plays only white notes. Despite the seemingly unavoidable cacophony of that arrangement, Ginastera manages to frame a simple and charming melody through the use of rhythm and texture.
Danza de la moza donosa, Op. A piquant melody meanders its way through the first section, constantly creating and releasing tension through the use of chromatic inflections. The second section introduces a new melody, more assured of itself than the first. The harmonisation of this section is based on the intervals of the fourth and fifth, which give the music a feeling of expansiveness. This sound, which Ginastera uses frequently, reflects the vastness of the Argentine pampas grasslands.
The final section returns to the opening melody, but with a richer harmonisation based on thirds. Unexpectedly, the piece ends with an atonal chord, instead of the tonic key, giving a feeling of uncertainty rather than conclusion. Danza del gaucho matrero, Op. Ginastera makes use of gratuitous dissonance in this piece, opening it with a tone ostinato and frequently using minor seconds to harmonize otherwise simple melodies. The jubilant sound of the C section is achieved by harmonising every single melody note with a major chord, even if they are totally foreign to the tonic key.
The D section, by contrast, does not use a single accidental; here, jubilance is expressed through the use of brisk tempo , strong rhythm , fortissimo, and a simple, majestic chord progression. As might be expected from the savageness of the rest of the piece, the coda is anything but subtle: ffff dynamics and a tremendous glissando bring the dance to a close.
Danzas argentinas, 3 pieces for piano, Op. 2
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