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Len Mullenger:

passatori - accordion, bandoneon, orchestra
Richard Galliano
: Opale Concerto (1994)
Astor Piazzolla:
Richard Galliano:
San Peyre (extracted from the suite of the same name)
La Valse à Margaux
Astor Piazzolla:
Concerto pour Bandonéon
Richard Galliano (accordion, bandoneon) I solisti dell' orchestra della Toscana
Recorded Florence, Italy, 6, 7, 8 October 1998 Dreyfus FOM 36601
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If you are, as I am, a major fan of Astor Piazzolla, tangos, and music with that certain Latin charm, passatori is a CD you will want in your collection. Richard Galliano tells us inside the stylish fold-over cover of his childhood dreams of becoming a concert artist and the consequent difficulty of doing so as an accordionist and bandoneon player. That is, until he met Astor Piazzolla in the early 1980s. He mentions the problem of 'finding a fit' for his rather difficult instruments until he realized that he could follow Astor's path of using folk and popular music as a starting point.

He found a fit-a very good one if this CD is any indication. Recorded in Italy in late 1998, mixed in Paris and mastered in London, produced by Francis Dreyfus and all under the artistic management of Galliano, this is an extremely successful collection of tangos and other works by Piazzolla and Galliano. The CD features Richard Galliano on accordion and bandoneon, nicely backed by I solisti dell' orchestra della Toscana. Galliano's opening concerto is a fitting tribute to the master and is followed by Piazzolla's haunting Oblivion. These works, like the next two, are for accordion and string orchestra. For many of us, certainly for me, the accordion is a difficult instrument to like but Galliano's handling of it is irresistible. The excerpt, an Andante from Galliano's suite San Peyre, makes me want to hear the entire piece. La Valse à Margaux is, obviously a waltz with a haunting quality. Indeed, all the shorter works between the two concertos are haunting and all demonstrate masterly handling of the accordion. I was taken with the sad feelings of the Habanerando, the first piece for bandoneon on this CD. As in the preceding Mélodicelli a piano is added to the string orchestra, and Habanerando also features a harp. Piazzolla's bandoneon concerto, frequently recorded, is given a wonderful reading here with the string orchestra augmented by harp, piano, and percussion. It is demonstrably the best piece on this CD, but this is not to say that the Galliano works lack merit and interest. The arrangement of the CD merely points the listener to the 'best for last.'

Richard Galliano orchestrated his compositions and conducted I solisti for the recording. For me he has succeeded in producing an appropriate paean to his hero and a CD which I have found myself listening to repeatedly. I can only wish that Galliano had included one more piece to fit into the remaining thirteen to fourteen minutes available on this 60-minute CD.


Jane Erb


Jane Erb

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