El Clarin, Wednesday, July 18, 1984
GUINALDO: ONE HUNDRED WITNESSES
Buenos Aires, Argentina
A most important revelation by a composer of the organ was the local premiere, by the composer himself, of “CREDO” by the argentine Norberto Guinaldo, today a resident of California after being formed as an instrumentalist, in our country with Maestro Hermes Forti. It took place in the church of Santo Domingo.
To compose for the organ in Argentina today is not so rare as it was forty years ago or longer. In the last century some local composers used the “King of Instruments”, to reinforce or accompany a choir; but it fell on Julio Perceval, a Belgian organist residing in Buenos Aires since 1926 the honor to initiate the thrust towards the propagation of organ performance and organ composition. His works are perhaps the first geared toward the concert work world born in our midst. With the “Toccata Villancico y Fuga” of Ginastera (1947) the production appears more nurtured. Hector Zeoli in the ‘50s. Silvano Picchi, Rodolfo Arizaga y Juan Carlos Paz are almost pioneers (……) a long list which is not at all complete and to which from now has a prominent place Norberto Guinaldo.
It is important to point out that some of them were once or are now organists, with the advantages implied in the thorough knowledge of the possibilities of the instrument...Norberto Guinaldo is, without doubt, a notable organist-composer. As organist he has an impressive dexterity of hands, feet and registration. As an author, his “CREDO” deserves the most serious attention and it is a grave cultural fault that he was given so little of it from our musicians, be them conservative or advanced. The former would have discovered the possibilities of serial writing in a subject not to be taken lightly. The advance would have known the singular coherence, exceptional in our day, of a mind that does not choose easy roads, but works the same with dazzling inventive. Length, is not equivalent with importance, but to maintain the cohesion of the musical thought throughout more than an hour (twelve numbers of different character, all integrated in ample spiritual conception) means more than wring :”Largo”
The composer manifested his personal preference for religious organ music. We may observe than even Lizt and Cesar Franck and later Max Reger and in our day Gyorgi Ligeti, not always reflected in their work that inclination, and neither Guinaldo limits himself to prayerful melodic lines nor rejects musical textures that may provoke devotion as well as aural interest. Nowadays religious function does not make the organ. Organists could admire in his work the use of the pedal as an independent voice, a rich registration, a coloristic know-how that provokes visual images and a wise use of the pedal in the middle register, leaving for the left hand the low notes that are usually taken by the pedal.
The common listener did not get bored, not even an instant, because its rhythmic reaches does not permit it. Outstanding was No.5 “Crucifixion”, a mournful march not at all cast in the usual two-beat measure but in free measures that achieve an effect of instrospection and pathos. The influence of Messiaen is noticeable, but does not take away one farthing from the richness of thought of Norberto Guinaldo. His work may have been heard by only one hundred people but it was one of the memorable musical events of 1984.