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GUSTAVO LEGUIZAMÓN: EL CUCHI BIEN TEMPERADO – PABLO MÁRQUEZ /       ECM New Series 2380                                                                                    player

Guitarist Pablo Márquez celebrates the work of a remarkable figure in Argentinean music: Gustavo “Cuchi” Leguizamón. Leguizamón (1917-2000) was a composer, pianist, guitarist, poet - and also a lawyer and teacher in the city of Salta where Márquez grew up. It was in his teaching capacity that Márquez first encountered him in person: “He was my history teacher at the Collegio Nacional when I was thirteen years old. When I saw Dr Gustavo Leguizamón come into the classroom for the first time, I had no idea that I was in the presence of one of one of Argentina’s greatest musicians, the composer of famous zambas I’d known and sung since early childhood. Cuchi liked to say that ‘the ultimate accolade for an artist is that people think his work is anonymous.’”

As a composer, Leguizamón was an exceptional melodist and an adventurous traditionalist. The majority of his work consists of zambas, which Márquez considers Salta’s quintessential musical form. Leguizamón brought a sense of harmonic freedom to these dance pieces, incorporating his melodic and harmonic ideas in Argentine traditional music, “without ever losing its essence or strong sense of rootedness”. A builder of bridges between art music and oral traditions, he was inspired by classical music and by 20th century composers including Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky and Schoenberg; his “Zamba del carnival”, comprised of twelve notes, references Schoenberg’s dodecaphonic series.

For his guitar arrangements of Cuchi, Pablo Marquez alludes to the formal design of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier, and its rigorous exploration of all the key signatures . “To provide a wealth of colours I set myself the challenge of never repeating any key. In view of the small number of keys commonly used in solo guitar music it was my way of enriching folk practice.”

The ‘bridge-building’ which Leguizamón proposed is extended in Márquez’s work, although the bridge is perhaps approached from a different direction.  Leguizamón was a traditionalist and a popular artist who examined new music “with an autodidact’s passion”. Márquez on the other hand reflects upon his classical background in this encounter with traditional music. “Although I approach it as a ‘visitor’, this music is nevertheless in my blood.”

El Cuchi bien temperado was recorded at Auditorio Radiotelevisione svizzera, Lugano, and produced by Manfred Eicher.

Pablo Márquez was born in St Pedro de Jujuy in 1967. He studied guitar with Jorge Martinez Zaráte and Eduardo Fernández, early music with Javier Hinojosa and conducting with Eric Sobzyck.  After successes in major competitions including Radio France, Munich, Geneva and the Villa Lobos competition in Brazil, he embarked on a solo career which has led to encounters with remarkable musicians. As decisive influences on his subsequent development Márquez cites his meetings with bandoneonist Dino Saluzzi and the teachings of pianist György Sebök. Márquez is founder of the AlmaViva Ensemble which champions the Latin American chamber music repertoire. He collaborates regularly with new music ensembles including Ensemble InterContemporain, and performs compositions from renaissance times to the present day. He has worked closely with composers including Luciano Berio, György Kurtág and Mauricio Kagel. 
Pablo Márquez’s previous album for ECM New Series was Seis libros del Delphín, with music of Luys de de Narváez. Further recordings are in preparation.

CD booklet includes an extensive interview with Pablo Márquez in French and English

© Studio Svengali, July 2024
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