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CD: Crotchet AmazonUK AmazonUS

Astor PIAZZOLLA (1921-1992)
Concierto para Quinteto [9:48]
Estaciones Porteña †[25:46]
Fuga y Misterio [4:25]
Suite del Angel ‡[19:51]
Artemis Quartet; Jacques Ammon (piano)
rec. Grosser Saal, Conservatory Lübeck, Germany, 19-20 June 2008, 21 June 2004, Angelika Kaufmann Hall, Schwarzenberg, Austria, 11 June 2004.
VIRGIN CLASSICS 2672920 [60:00]
Experience Classicsonline
You might have thought that the train for Piazzolla recordings by classical musicians had left quite a while ago. However the Artemis Quartet are tangoing their way into the tasteful crossover limelight with their latest disc on Virgin Classics: “The Piazzolla Project”. The name reminds me of something pompous the Emerson Quartet might do, but the content is of such quality that the transcriptions for Piano Quintet, Piano Trio, and String Quartet are good listening any time, unfazed by the coming and going of tango fads. It had to be done now, too, because before long the Quatuor Èbéne, fresh on Virgin, will want to record similar crossover material with which they already regale audiences.

It’s all there: Estaciones Porteñas, Piazzolla’s homage to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. La Muere del Angel and the rest of the Angel Suite, which everyone has played, from Emanuel Ax (with Pablo Ziegler), to Gidon Kremer, to the 12 Cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic. Fuga y Misterio (from “Maria di Buenos Aires”), that has been brought to us by the likes of LAGQ and Imani Winds. None of that gets old, because it’s fabulous music.

The Concierto para quinteto, the one rarely recorded work, is the most charming of them all. And while the Artemis Quartet and wonderful pianist Jacques Ammon interpret and play Piazzolla in a way that remains solidly in the classical concert realm, their passion and virtuosity brings them close to the free-wheeling, almost improvisatory spirit that lies at the core of the music.

Among the classical-Piazzolla discs I most cherish are Barenboim’s “Mi Buenos Aires Querido” and Josep Pons’ orchestral disc on Harmonia Mundi. The Artemis Quartet, led by their long time Piazzolla adoring and performing cellist Eckart Runge, has a good shot at joining them.

Jens F Laurson 


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