Gustavo Leguizamón: El Cuchi bien temperado

Pablo Márquez


Gustavo “Cuchi” Leguizamón (1917-2000) was a unique figure in the musical culture of Argentina. Born in Salta (where guitarist Pablo Márquez was raised), Leguizamón was a poet, composer, pianist and guitarist, a popular artist and a highly sophisticated musician. He was rooted in Argentina’s traditional music, but also brought a new harmonic freedom to it, inspired by classical music and by 20th century composers including Debussy, Ravel and Schoenberg.  The title of Márquez’s album makes reference to Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier, and the guitarist here similarly arranges Cuchi’s music for all 24 major and minor keys. Pablo Márquez:  “To provide a wealth of colours I set myself the challenge of never repeating any key…It was my way of enriching folk practice, and also a reflection of my classical training in this encounter with traditional music.”

Gustavo “Cuchi” Leguizamón (1917-2000) war eine einzigartige Figur in der Musikkultur Argentiniens. Geboren in der Provinz Salta (wo Gitarrist Pablo Márquez aufwuchs) war Leguizamón gleichzeitig Dichter, Komponist, Pianist und Gitarrist, ein populärer Künstler und hoch kultivierter Musiker. Er war in der Musiktradition Argentiniens verwurzelt, führte aber eine neue harmonische Freiheit in sie ein, inspiriert von klassischer Musik und von Komponisten des 20. Jahrhunderts wie Debussy, Ravel und Schönberg.
Der Titel von Márquez‘ Album bezieht sich auf Bachs „Wohltemperiertes Clavier“ – und der Gitarrist arrangiert hier dementsprechend Cuchis Musik für alle 24 Dur- und moll-Tonarten. Pablo Márquez: „Um einen Reichtum an Farben zu erzielen, habe ich mir selbst die Herausforderung gestellt, nie eine Tonart zu wiederholen...Das ist meine Weise, die Folk-Überlieferung zu bereichern, außerdem reflektiert sich so auch meine klassische Ausbildung im Umgang mit traditioneller Musik.“
Featured Artists Recorded

May 2012, Auditorio Radiotelevisione svizzera, Lugano

Original Release Date


  • 1Coplas de Tata Dios (vidala-baguala)
    (Gustavo Leguizamón)
  • 2Zamba del carnaval (zamba)
    (Gustavo Leguizamón)
  • 3La cantora de Yala (zamba)
    (Gustavo Leguizamón)
  • 4Chacarera del expediente (chacarera)
    (Gustavo Leguizamón)
  • 5Chaya de la albahaca (vidala chayera)
    (Gustavo Leguizamón)
  • 6Zamba de Lozano (zamba)
    (Gustavo Leguizamón)
  • 7El silbador (zamba)
    (Gustavo Leguizamón)
  • 8De sólo estar (bailecito)
    (Gustavo Leguizamón)
  • 9Chacarera del holgado (chacarera trunca)
    (Gustavo Leguizamón)
  • 10Carnavalito del Duende (carnavalito)
    (Gustavo Leguizamón)
  • 11Zamba para la Viuda (zamba)
    (Gustavo Leguizamón)
  • 12Zamba soltera (zamba)
    (Gustavo Leguizamón)
  • 13Corazonando (chacarera trunca)
    (Gustavo Leguizamón)
  • 14Zamba del pañuelo (zamba)
    (Gustavo Leguizamón)
  • 15Chilena del solterón (cueca)
    (Gustavo Leguizamón)
  • 16Maturana (zamba)
    (Gustavo Leguizamón)
  • 17Canción del que no hace nada (vidala)
    (Gustavo Leguizamón)
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 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.