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Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    



TANGO FOR FOUR NO.2
Jaakko Kuusisto (violin)
Mika Väyrynen (accordion)
Kalle Elkomaa (piano, keyboards)
Jaan Wessman (bass, matchbox)
Recorded in Helsinki in July 2001
FINLANDIA 8573-87781-2 [50.02]

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Some extraordinary claims are made for this disc such as ‘Tango for Four has mixed a potent tango cocktail that can easily intoxicate someone used to milder fare, but once the initial dizziness gives way, this new tango dimension becomes irresistible’. Well not to this reviewer it doesn’t! I find it all thoroughly resistible and unerringly, mind-numbingly dull after a couple of tracks. Familiar tangos by Finnish and Argentinian composers? Familiar?? The group (you can read the instruments they play at the top of this review, and, yes, matchbox is not a typographical error for mandolin) ‘is an ensemble dedicated to spontaneity and freedom in making music. Structure, key and tempo are the only features agreed in advance…The result is a sort of fusion tango, deftly combining classical, pop and jazz to name but a few genres’. Now if that doesn’t make for sad reading, what does? That the group can play their instruments well enough is not to be disputed, but what a waste of a violinist who seems to have done fairly well at various competitions and has a 1702 Matteo Goffriller violin, and leads the Sinfonia Lahti. The rest of the group are also wasting their talents. There are 12 tangos on this disc, all of them pretty interchangeable, some extremely dull improvisations, and ghastly harmonic shifts as opposed to modulations in the worst tradition of pop music. If this is what is called cross-over music then the signalman should not change the points, but rather let this train of tangos go straight ahead into a tunnel. There was a debut album which is still available, but let us hope that this the Last Tango in Helsinki.

Christopher Fifield


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