From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ariel Ramírez (born September 4, 1921), is an
Argentine composer, pianist and music director.
Composer Ariel Ramírez, 1968.
Ariel Ramírez was born in Santa Fe, Argentina. He began his
piano studies in Santa Fe, and
soon became fascinated with the music of the gauchos and creoles in the mountains. He continued
his studies in Córdoba where he met the great
Argentinian folk singer and songwriter Atahualpa
Yupanqui. Following a suggestion from Yupanqui, he visited the
North East of Argentina and deepened his research into the
traditional rhythms of South America. At the same time
continuing his academic studies as a composer at the Conservatorio
Nacional of Buenos
Aires. In 1946 he made his first recording, with RCA.
Ramírez went on to study classical music in Madrid, Rome
and mainly in Vienna, from
1950 to 1954. Back in Argentina, he collected over 400 folk and
country songs and popular songs and founded the Compañía de
Folklore Ariel Ramírez.
In 1964, Ramírez' composition Misa Criolla marked the
beginning of a period of high musical productivity which also saw
the composition of Navidad Nuestra (1964), La
Peregrinación (1964); Los caudillos (1965);
Mujeres Argentinas (1969), and Alfonsina y el Mar
(1969), all produced in collaboration with writer Félix Luna.
Misa Criolla and Alfonsina y el Mar are
probably his best known compositions. The Misa, a mass for tenor, chorus and orchestra, is based on folk genres
such as chacarera, carnavalito and estilo
pampeano, with Andean influences
and instruments. It is also one of the first masses to be
celebrated in a modern language - being contemporary to the Second Vatican Council. Ramírez
wrote the piece in 1963-1964 and it was recorded in 1964 by Philips
Records, directed by Ramírez himself with Los Fronterizos
as featured performers (Philips 820 39 LP, including Navidad
Nuestra, remastered in 1994 and released by Philips as CD
526155-2). It was not publicly performed until 1967 in Düsseldorf, Germany, during a European tour
which eventually brought Ariel Ramírez before Pope Paul VI. Equally
famous are the recordings with the solo voices of George Dalaras
Carreras (1990), and Mercedes Sosa (1999). Plácido
Domingo recorded the Kyrie (i.e., the first movement
of the Misa) with Dominic Miller on guitar (2003).
Albeit not sharing the same worldwide success, Alfonsina y
el Mar enjoys great popularity in Latin America and Spain, being one of the most regarded songs in
Argentinian folk music. The piece pays homage to poet Alfonsina
Storni, evoking her tragical suicide in 1938, when she walked
into the sea at La Perla beach in Mar del Plata, and the poem she wrote as
a goodbye message, I Am Going to Sleep. Artists of the
stature of Mercedes
Kraus and José Carreras (with Pasión Vega) have
made recordings of the song, as well as many other popular singers
including Shakira, Miguel Bosé, Andrés
Calamaro and Paloma San Basilio.
Today, Ariel Ramírez is president of the Society of Authors and
Composers of the Republic of Argentina (SADAIC).
Other major compositions by Ramírez include the Cantata
Sudamericana (again with text by Félix Luna, 1972) and another
mass: Misa por la paz y la justicia (with liturgical texts
by Félix Luna and Osvaldo Catena, 1980).