Ginastera (1916-1983) began private music lessons at age seven, and at the age of twelve attended the Williams Conservatory of Buenos Aires. In 1936 he entered the National Conservatory of Music, graduating two years later with highest honors in composition and a professor's diploma. Ginastera composed a number of large works during his years at the Conservatory, which he later destroyed. His first acknowledged compositions were the Danzas Argentinas for piano, and the ballet Panambi, based on a legend of the Guarany Indians of Northern Argentina, both composed in 1937. These first works reflect the nationalistic character of much of Ginastera's ouevre.
In 1947, Ginastera composed the first of a group of three pieces under the generic title Pampeana. Pampeana No. l, a Rhapsody for violin and piano (1947), Pampeana No. 2, a Rhapsody for cello and piano (1950), and Pampeana Nn. 3, “Symphonic Pastoral in three movements” (1953) were all written to convey Ginastera’s love for the pampa (Argentine countryside). In Pampeana No. 2, one can hear the immensity of the pampa in the dark, dense chordal sections, and the wild, lawless life of the gauchos (cowboys) in the dashing virtuosity of the cello cadenzas. These sections are juxtaposed with the mysterious and somber tranquility of the slow sections. The cello is used soloistically in the Pampeana, while the piano serves a percussively rhythmic and somewhat accompanimental role throughout.
Debussy’s Sonata in D for Cello and Piano (1915) was one of the last pieces he wrote before his death from cancer in 1918. As Debussy was fighting for his life, the rest of Paris was under siege by the Germans in World War I. Early in 1915, after a year of latency due in part to the atrocities of war, Debussy again began to compose:
“I have come to the conclusion that, all things considered, it would be cowardice on my part to join the ranks of the disabled, and spend my time dwelling on the atrocities that have been committed, without reacting against them by creating, to the best of my ability, at little of that beauty which the enemy is attacking with such fury.” (Claude Debussy, in a letter to Robert Godet, cited in Claude Debussy; His Life and Works, 1933, Leon Vallas, page 255.)