Astor PIAZZOLLA (1921-1992)
Cavatina Duo Play Piazzolla: Libertango (arr. Klaus Jäckle) [2:28]; Revirado (arr. Joe Hagedorn) [3:17]; Introdución al Angel (arr. Joe Hagedorn) [4:33]; Tango Etudes (arr. Sergio and Clarice Assad) [20:54]; Oblivion (arr. Giacomo Scaramuzza) [3:50]; Adios Nonino (arr. Ian Murphy) [6:22]; Cuatro estaciones Portenas (arr. Sergio Assad) [17:06]
Cavatina Duo (Eugenia Moliner (flute), Denis Azabagic (guitar))
rec. 3 June 2008, 20 August 2008, 10 September 2009, Ganz Hall, Roosevelt University, Chicago, IL. DDD
BRIDGE 9330 [58:29]

This disc features an all-Piazzolla programme, in arrangements for flute and guitar. A spirited and energetic performance of Libertango opens, in an effective arrangement by Klaus Jäckle. The Cavatina Duo has built a reputation for performing folk-inspired music from around the world, and they capture the spirit of Piazzolla’s tangos well. Revirado is particularly enjoyable, with excellent technical control, a good sense of duo ensemble and palpable conviction. Introdución al Angel demonstrates flautist Eugenia Moliner’s range of tone and beautifully soaring high register, while the guitar provides a finely judged balance with counter-melodies and rhythmic drive. This is a duo that understands the repertoire and performs with just the right amount of rubato to bring it to life, but without allowing their interpretation to overshadow the composer’s ideas.

The Tango-Etudes, originally composed for solo flute or violin, are expertly arranged and are heard here in a version for flute and guitar by Sergio and Clarice Assad. The arrangement is completely convincing, and the guitar part feels like a natural part of the work. This is another first-rate rendition, with some very good playing throughout and a spellbinding sense of pacing. I particularly enjoyed the percussive guitar writing at the opening of the third etude.

Oblivion is amongst my favourite Piazzolla. This performance is tender and warm, and is executed with control and musicianship. Adios Nonino is another well known work, and this arrangement by Ian Murphy is highly effective. The disc ends with the Cuatro estaciones Porteñas (The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires), which were arranged especially for the Cavatina Duo by Sergio Assad. This features some imaginative playing and well-crafted arrangements, which really help to bring the music to life.

This is an outstanding disc, which held my attention from beginning to end. I was particularly struck by the subtleties of phrasing and variety of musical expression that this duo was able to create within the music of a single composer. Piazzolla’s style is distinct, and yet these two musicianly players were able to enhance his style through their artistic expertise, bringing light and shade to the notes and creating an admirable sense of atmosphere.

Carla Rees

Musicianly players … artistic expertise bringing light and shade and creating an admirable sense of atmosphere.