April 6th, 2024

Tiempo Argentino. Horacio Lavandera: The revolution of expressivity. The Argentine pianist offered a brilliant concert…

The Argentine pianist offered a brilliant concert at the San Rafael Auditorium, stopover on an international tour that will end on May 10 at Carnegie Hall in New York.

April 6, 2024

By Mariano Suarez

Vladimir Lenin, the father of the Russian Revolution, admired Beethoven’s Sonata No. 23. He considered her “superhuman” and claimed that he could listen to her every day. Because of that same power of seduction, he rejected it: the revolutionary urgency did not admit the distracting exercise of enjoyment. The Argentine pianist Horacio Lavandera performed it last night at the San Rafael Auditorium in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of Saavedra in a concert dedicated to the language of musical romanticism – in an expansive vision – to which Beethoven’s work does not strictly belong, although he anticipates it.

Lavandera presented the Buenos Aires room a possible reading – and in its Argentine way – of the aesthetic movement that dominated the 19th century. From its most “pure” expressions to its conversation with the evocative music of the bandoneonist from Salta Dino Saluzzi, surrounded by an undisguisable territorial atmosphere, apparently distant from the European tradition but which, in the vision of Lavadera – and probably in that of the man from Salta as well – can achieve conciliation, even from contrast.

With a didactic sense, the pianist introduced the audience with historical references about each work of the night. At the beginning he played the twelve variations of the French song “Ah Vous dirai-je, maman”, by Wolfgang Mozart, an accessible window into the harshness that the program later presented. So, yes, the center of gravity was transferred to the sonata. Faithful to the romantic continuum between music and poetry, Lavandera cited to the public the literary motivation, in a Shakespearean key, that he encouraged Beethoven in composing.

Sonata No. 23 demands everything from the performer. A unique bodily commitment and an absolute sense of planning in the approach to each musical phrase (about this there is a master-class available on the networks from the Argentine Daniel Baremboim to the Chinese pianist Lang Lang that synthesizes the value of the decisions that the performer must make of the sonata). Exhausted after that challenge, Beethoven’s piece provoked applause and demanded a break to be able to face the second section of the program. Lavandera then seemed to take a radical turn and chose a selection of three works that Saluzzi wrote, with airs ranging from jazz to the folklore of northern Argentina (“La casa 13”, “Claveles”, “Donde nací”), and which were released in 2015 on the album “Imágenes”, published by the prestigious German label ECM. “Saluzzi is an admirer of the romantic movement, especially the German one,” explained the pianist on the occasion of that album. The reference serves to explain the musical flow of the night.

Then, with the performance of Moment Musicaux No. 3 in F minor and two movements of Impromptus D. 899, Op. 90, by Franz Schubert, the oral tradition on how to incorporate accents and musical resources gained prominence over the written record of the music

“In the pieces that Horacio Lavandera recorded in ‘Imágenes’ I showed him an idea and, upon listening to its execution, my head began to work” (…) We approach it from a romantic point of view, that is, less aggressive, with less quantity of notes and working with free spaces. A note that remains until it is diluted in the free space that the sound needs to balance the silence.” This reflection by the bandoneon player is part of the book “Saluzzi. A life in ten days”, which brings together a dialogue between the musician from Salta and the poet Javier Magistris and which in a couple of weeks will be in all bookstores in the country.

The connections of the night multiplied. If it has been said of Schubert that he is the classical musician of romanticism; Of Beethoveen it has been stated that he was the romantic of classism. Although the play on words can be accepted in this case through the obvious quote from Beethoven in one of the Impromptus movements, it also invites misunderstanding. In Schubert – and this is what Lavandera touches on – there is no longer a possible recovery of the classical order.

The program continued with a series of variations on a theme in D minor, Op. through six songs by George Gershwin.

The recognition of the public justified the encores – in the same key – with works by Art Tatum and Vladimir Horowitz as an evocation of a musical time in which, when everything seemed to have been said in the way of approaching the piano, they pushed its transformation.

Horacio Lavandera live

He will perform on April 12 in La Pampa, on the 14th in Bahía Blanca, on the 16th at the Café Berlin in the Federal Capital and then he will close his tour in the United States.