In Buenos Aires, a place where tango was constantly floating in the air, Máximo Diego Pujol (b.1957) honed his performance skills playing in night clubs whilst studying the great traditional tango composers. Pujol has consistently strived to fuse traditional Argentine tango and formal academic concepts. This musical quest stems from a thorough, almost obsessive, study of the works of Heitor Villa-Lobos and Leo Brouwer, who revolutionised guitar music by incorporating the instrument and its particular musical vocabulary in their own works. Today Pujol’s compositions are performed and recorded throughout the world.
Variaciones sobre un tema de Atahualpa Yupanqui is based on a film theme by Yupanqui, possibly the most influential Argentine folk musician of the 20th century. The film, based on a book also by Yupanqui, is set in the Andes Mountains. The music therefore took inspiration from the vidala, an old folk music genre of the Argentine Northwest, which is an essential element in the festive and sacred rites of Andean communities. Pujol wrote five variations on the theme, involving rhythmic, harmonic and stylistic changes.
Elegiìa por la muerte de un tanguero is a three-part work for guitar dedicated to Astor Piazzolla. Pujol is a great admirer of Piazzolla, and it is notable that they both enjoy blending scholarly and popular music. In the three parts – Confuseta, melancolía and Epílogo – the rhythmic parts contrast strikingly with the beautiful lyrical passages. The composer finishes the work using a quote from Astor Piazzolla’s La muerte del aìngel, saluting the great Maestro.
Sonatina won Pujol many prestigious prizes, despite being one of his first compositions. A three-part work, it is characterized by rhythmic vitality and virtuosic energy as well as elegant melodies, and its conspicuous use of Argentinian dance forms. Suite del Plata No.1 brings together
musical pieces from the area known as ‘La Cuenca del Plata’, an extensive region around the Riìo de la Plata. The piece begins with an atmospheric Prelude in A minor, followed by an urban and romantic Tango and then a nostalgic Milonga.
The fourth part, Murga, is a form of popular music performed in Montevideo, Uruguay and in Panama and Argentina. A Candombe, an energetic dance of Uruguayan origin, closes the work.
In Pujol’s work, traditional tango and folk forms such as milonga, candombe and vals are just as present as classical forms like preludes and eìtudes, because Pujol strives for a fusion of traditional Argentine music with formal academic concepts. Maìximo Diego Pujol’s guitar music is the expression of a universal lyricism, feeding on eternal feelings like melancholy, nostalgia, sensuality, passion, anger and love.
After Máximo Diego Pujol (born 1957) discovered a guitar in a closet at his parents’ home in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the eight-year-old Máximo took his first lessons from Don Gaspar Navarro, neighbor, and friend, as well as a fine tango and milonga player who taught all the children in the neighborhood. Later he studied with various authorities of the guitar including Alfredo Vicente Gascón, Abel Carlevaro and Leo Brouwer, graduating from the Juan José Castro Conservatory with the Superior Professor of Guitar diploma.
Ιn a place where tango was constantly floating in the air, he honed his skills as a performer by playing at Buenos Aires night clubs, both as a soloist and as an accompanist. He also played in a number of duos, trios, and quartets, immersing himself fully in every aspect of tango music.
Since his earliest days as a professional musician and composer, Pujol has strived for a fusion of traditional Argentine tango and formal academic concepts. This musical quest stems from a thorough study of the works of Heitor Villa-Lobos and Leo Brouwer, who revolutionized guitar music by incorporating the instrument and its particular musical vocabulary in their own works.
Máximo Diego Pujol’s music is the guitar testimony of such a complex country as Argentina, but it is also, and above all, the expression of a universal lyricism, feeding on eternal feelings like melancholy, nostalgia, sensuality, passion, anger, and love.
This new recording contains the Variaciones sobre un tema de Atahualpa Yupanqui, Elegia por la muerte de un tanguero, Sonatina, and Suite del Plata, no. 1.
One of the most gifted and creative of modern Greek guitarists, George Tossikian was born in Piraeus in 1981. He has made several fine recordings of Greek and Latin-American music; his previous album for Brilliant Classics contained arrangements of music by Yann Tiersen.
Recorded February 2022 in Athens, Greece.
Booklet in English contains liner notes by, and a profile on, the pianist.
George Tossikian plays a guitar made by Nikos Efthimiou.