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Oscar Edelstein returned to orchestral writing in 2008 with “La Foto del Tiempo” (The Photo of Time) commissioned by the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional (Argentina), following various years of concentrating on his renowned compositions for theatre, opera and his own ensemble. In 2011 “Cristal Argento I” with a commission from Basel Sinfonietta who wanted a brand new work from Argentina to add to a concert of music from Latin America.

This work "Cristal Argento I" - for full orchestra with the electronic process of the Sonic Crystal - especially created for Basel Sinfonietta, was premiered in Switzerland in 2011. Presented as a traditional score, Edelstein also used an electronic process to act like a transparency. The software programme was designed by the research team of Edelstein, LAPSO (Laboratory of Acoustics and Sound Perception), at Quilmes University where he is a senior professor.


The new work premiered in Basel on the 24th January 2011, in the acoustically wonderful Stadtcasino (Basel), and then at the Franziskaner Konzerthaus (Villingen-Schwenningen, Germany) on the 15th February 2011.

The premiere was conducted by José Luis Gomez - who had just then won first prize in the International Conductor's Competition of Sir Georg Solti at the Alte Oper in Frankfurt, and went gone on to be in 2016 the new Musical Director of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra.

It was part of a concert called “Hupango” in which there were other musics for orchestra from Latin America including those of Jose Pablo Moncayo, Arturo Marquez, and Heitor Villa-Lobos.


Thomas Nidecker of Basel Sinfonietta said, "We wanted to make a concert of modern Latin American music with a proper dramaturgy. I had the idea to commission a new work by an avant-garde composer, Oscar Edelstein, as a way to go from a more popular first part of the concert, to a more serious second half, or from the brilliant surface to the deeper meaning."

The electronic processes in the work acted like transparencies over the playing of the orchestra, or as Edelstein likes to call them, the layers are like "Dense Films and Machine Transparencies in the Mode of the Human Memory". They created an acoustic way to make a new version that goes over the original, allowing the recovery of something that has happened earlier but in a different way, time and space. This live electronic process was realised by Mauro Zannoli (who works with Edelstein as an assistant and a musician in Edelstein’s ensemble, the ENS), in a design that Edelstein and Zannoli especially developed together for “Cristal Argento I”.

Of the electronic process Edelstein explains, “It's like a reminder of a dream - not as a machine memory - but more human and diffused.” The design of the process was to create these textures using the "answer response" of the Sonic Crystals (a scientific principal in which a configuration is created that alters the sound and adds a special chamber and colour).

The specific software for “Sonic Crystals” was designed by the research team to which Edelstein is linked through his research programme "Teatro Acústico” (Acoustic Theatre). This multi-award winning research team called LAPSO (Laboratory of Acoustics and Sound Perception) at Universidad de Quilmes (Argentina), is led by physicist Manuel Eguía who works with a research active team that includes mechanical engineer, Ignacio Spiousas who collaborated on the electronic part of “Cristal Argento I.”

"Cristal Argento I" is continuous with four movements:
i. Órgano colonial respirando / Colonial Organ Breathing
ii. En Otro Mundo: Como otro ruiseñor haciendo nido en la peluca de Voltaire / In Another world: Like Another Nightingale Making a Nest in the Wig of Voltaire
iii. Órgano Colonial Respirando Sumergido como en la Catedral de Santa Mónica de los Venados / Colonial Organ Breathing Submerged, like in the Cathedral of Saint Monica of the Venison
iv. Cristal Estallado en Perspectiva Impura Memoria Navega de Fugas Futuro / Exploded Crystal in Perspective Impure Memory Navigates of Future Fugues


“The electronic part carries the game of the orchestra into another space, another world, another sound universe, like a dream, like a recollection, or how it looks through a kaleidoscope, a prism with various refractions. A powerful percussion machine was in action, concentrated beams of sound of stream over the listener... It was exciting to hear such avant-garde new music from Latin America.” Roswitha Frey, BADISCHE ZEITUNG

"Cristal Argento I“ is a strong piece of new music for orchestra and live electronics from Argentina's Oscar Edelstein premiered by Basel Sinfonietta premiere. Rhythmical - multilayered sound fields develop like waves. Edelstein’s close woven music, continuing the tradition of Edgar Varèse, has a force which goes under the skin with a great vitality. The public is enthusiastic...” Christian Fluri, BASELLANDSCHAFTLICHE ZEITUNG

“Edelstein’s composition is a musical drama which reaches the abyss of the human soul where anxiety as well as hope are revealed. Fugue-like passages and a dynamic musical tapestry, short ominous signals in the brass, and sounds reminiscent of lamentations enter in electronic intervals in the background, solo or overlaying the orchestra. This is a deeply moving work which is capable of setting new accents and making us attentive and critical listeners in a society and culture that are becoming increasingly mainstream.”
Alfred Thiele, SÜDKURIER

Oscar Edelstein is an original contemporary composer from Argentina. Known for his creativity and inventiveness, he is frequently described as leading Latin America’s avant-garde, and as a pianist, conductor, and researcher, his career is characterised by breaking new ground. In 2011 he was awarded a prestigious national award for his outstanding artistic achievement by Argentina’s national arts foundation.

His musical production is extensive ranging from many works of opera to compositions for orchestra, electro-acoustic and acoustic ensemble, theatre and dance. He is seen as crucial to the map of contemporary music in Latin America.

N.B. On this page the information is available in English only. We apologize for any inconvenience. We will continue to post links to sites with information in other languages - a good starting point is www.acoustictheatre.com where there is information in German and Spanish.


released March 28, 2016



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Oscar Edelstein Buenos Aires, Argentina

Oscar Edelstein is an original contemporary composer from Argentina. Known for his creativity & inventiveness, he is often described as leading Latin America's avant-garde.

“Edelstein is fundamental for his significance & originality but, especially, for his power of communication." PAGINA 12

“a distinctive sound…” CLARÍN

“Edelstein possesses a formidable pianistic technique…” ILAMS
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