Furiosamente, violente, mordento, y salvaggio

Alberto Ginastera, who died in 1980, is not widely known outside of Latin America or classical-music circles.  He's sort of the Aaron Copland of Argentina.  He wrote big, fiery compositions that incorporated a lot of Argentine traditional music in ways that got increasingly intricate and complicated as he developed as a composer.  (He's probably best-known in the US and England because of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer's "Tocatta," an over-the-top arrangement of his first piano concerto that you sort of have to hear to believe.)

One of his compositions is "Tres Danzas Argentinas," which is a staple of the piano-competition circuit.  These competitions are like concerts, in the sense that they feature musical performances.  But their purpose is weird.  What's important is not that the audience experience and enjoy music, but that judges and talent scouts see what performers are capable of.  They're like auditions, only you don't get hired at the end.

So the pieces performed at competitions tend to be flashy and difficult.  And this piece is perfect for that.

All that said, I love this piece.  It's crazy difficult to play, especially the fast movement, and it's full of romantic swoops and boldness.  If you search for it on YouTube, you will find hundreds of performances.

I found this one ten years ago and instantly fell in love with it.  It's an awkward-looking 13-year-old Serbian girl named Mina Mijovic, captured on video by a proud parent in a performance hall with really bad acoustics, and she just gets down.

There are certainly better performances than this one, but I don't care.  I love her crumpled-up tissue and her black boots and weird red babushka.  There's something about her horsy teenage awkwardness that makes me want to root for her, especially since she tears into this piece like a wolverine savaging a deer.


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