Tango! Astor PIAZZOLLA (1921-1992)
La Muerte Del Angel [3:15] Oblivion [4:16] Le Grand Tango [10:02] Four for Tango [6:38] Las Cuatro Estaciones Portenas [22:25] Erwin SCHULHOFF (1894-1942)
Alla Tango Milonga (from Five Pieces for String Quartet) (1989) [4:15] Astor PIAZZOLLA
Libertango (arr. L. Zhurbin) [3:55]
Moritzburg Festival Ensemble (Mira
Wang, Colin Jacobsen (violin), Nicholas Cords (viola), Jan Vogler (cello), Vanessa
rec. 18-20 March 2008, Studio Manfred Knoop Music, New Jersey USA. DDD SONY CLASSICS
88697 328032 [55:09]
Cellist Jan Vogler describes in the sleeve-notes for this disc
his early encounters with tango through film, and the morbid,
nostalgic and at times destructive atmosphere that the music
can bring. The performances here capture the essence of the style,
with a strong humanistic feel and a sense of raw emotion. Throughout
the disc, the playing is exuberant, and one has a sense of the
players giving it their all.
La Muerte del Tango, heard in an arrangement by José Bragato,
is given fiery fugal treatment at the opening, breaking away
into an aggressive and highly accented tutti. Vogler’s
cello sound comes to the fore later in the arrangement, accompanied
gently by the piano. The tutti returns, giving an energetic
and enjoyably rowdy start to the disc.
Oblivion is calmer in mood and well controlled, although
the reverb has removed the clarity of the sound in the bass.
Another Bragato arrangement, this time using violin, cello and
piano, the instruments are used sensitively and provide variety
of colour. Le Grand Tango has the same sound issues,
with a sense of the music being performed in a bathroom, particularly
at the bass end, but is a convincing arrangement for cello
piano which is full of character and captures the spirit of
Four for Tango was a real eye-opener. This string quartet
tango is contemporary in style, and takes the tango style to
its absolute limits. This is a stunning piece of writing which
follows in the tradition of (as Vogler describes) the Bartók
string quartets, but encompassing the language of tango. This
work demonstrates not only Piazzolla’s innovative work
in the development of a form, but also his abilities as a composer.
Las Cuatro Estaciones Portenas are four movements, arranged
once again by Bragato for violin, cello and piano. Each movement
describes one of the four seasons in Buenos Aires. They were
composed between 1964 and 1970. The characters of the movements
differ according to the season: Spring is bright and gently
flowing, while the extended melodic lines of Summer suggest
laziness and heat. Small moments of activity are short-lived
and the effect of the Buenos Aires climate comes through well. Autumn has
more nostalgic moments, with a captivating cello and violin melodies
breaking into the hustle and bustle of daily life, which can
be heard in the more rhythmic tango sections. Winter is
the most directional of the movements, with a sense of building
intensity, strong rhythmic pulses and flowing melodic lines.
Erwin Schulhoff’s music has a different sound to Piazzolla’s,
and the style of Alla Tango Milonga has elements of folk
music in addition to Latin American tango, with a frequent use
of octaves, fifths and unisons in the scoring.
Piazzolla’s music returns at the end of the disc, with
an arrangement of Libertango by Lev “Ljova” Zhurbin
which starts slowly and builds in momentum to the end, allowing
the driving ostinati to move the music forward.
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