see end of review for track listing
Miloš Karadaglić (guitar)
Ksenija Sidorova (accordion - Libertango), Anna Prohaska (soprano - Aria)
* Studioorchester der Europäischen FilmPhilharmonie/Christoph Israel
rec. St. Mary’s Church, Chilham, Nov 2011 & March 2012; b-sharp Studio, Berlin, Feb 2012; Meistersaal Berlin, Jan 2013.
DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 1421 [79:39]
This is first album of the young Montenegrin guitarist Miloš Karadaglić that I’ve heard. I was half anticipating to be disappointed, to find another over-advertised “star” touted by publicity for the good looks and youth. Instead, I was impressed by the subtle and mature performances - first rate in every sense. Put me on the list of Miloš fans, for he won me over.
The programme is aimed at both the “classical” and the “popular” crowds, and presents a good mixture taken from both worlds, without becoming a crossover disk. It has a few “golden tunes” (just look at the list of the opening tracks from Libertango to Somos Novios) but even such “easy shots” won’t work for you if you don’t work for them. This guitarist does not go for a cheap ride on the backs of well-loved numbers, but gives us a thoughtful presentation, where each next piece seems to outdo the one before it. It is difficult to stop listening. The fast numbers have good drive and energy, while the slow ones are lyrical and contemplative. The arrangements are done inventively, and so one meets new delights in the places where one expected to see just the old familiar faces.
So many albums these years open with another arrangement of Libertango. How a plucking instrument can possibly sing this long-noted melody? Well, it doesn’t. The guitar unselfishly gives the stage to violin and accordion, who do the singing, but the guitar definitely sets the colors. The arrangement is raw, the pulse is strong, Piazzolla’s dark passion throbs, and I wish it all lasted longer. In a similar way, in Por una cabeza the long notes of the refrain are given to the orchestral violins. This may reduce the “guitarism” of the disc, but it is good for the presentation of the music, and that’s what I like here: it is a showcase for the music, not just for the guitarist. Overall, the arrangements with orchestra are elegant and are not overdone. Quizás, quizás, quizás is realized as a tender rumba, swaying sensually. In Oblivion the guitar drops the notes, which hang in the air like involuntary tears. This track is the closest one to the oozing love songs à la Fausto Papetti, mostly because of the glossy orchestral strings; it almost turns into Legrand’s Les parapluies de Cherbourg.
Miloš’s abilities are better shown in the numbers sans orchestra. The sound of the guitar is full and well captured; the extra-musical squeaks are rare and hardly noticeable, and the guitarist does not pause in the face of complex chords. He has good control over dynamic nuances and subtle shades, which makes pieces like Somos Novios really breathe. Guitar is great at creating the gloomy atmosphere of a rainy autumnal evening, and the right mood is set in De Ushuaia a la Quiaca, Un día de noviembre and Villa Lobos’ Prelude. He is good in Barrios’ pearly tremolos. Ponce’s Chanson is tired and pensive. There are happy, energetic numbers like Sávio’s Batucada, but most of the album is couched in hushed tones. Even bright pieces like Libertango or Quizás, quizás start with soft introductions. There are works that become instant friends, like the cool and bouncy Danza brasilera by Morel; there are works that bring instant awe, like Cardoso’s exquisite Milonga, a tender, sad gem.
The high point of the album is Villa Lobos’ Cantilena where the guitar assumes the role of all the cellos, and Anna Prohaska sings magically. It makes for expressive and intimate musicmaking. Prohaska’s voice is captured beautifully by the recording engineers. In the last track, with a wink, the guitarist reminds us about the starting point of all Latin music: Spain. It is a short and effective arrangement of Ravel’s Bolero, which serves as a big exclamation mark to end the programme.
This album recycles much from this musician's previous album Latino, with some contents dropped, some re-factored (Libertango gets a new arrangement with accordion) and some added (the new album has about 20 additional minutes of good music). Overall, I liked this disc. The arrangements of the popular songs are done in a sensitive and musically engaging way. The guitarist is devoted and persuasive, with evident good taste and style. He approaches more “serious” works with reverence yet without servility. The acoustics are exemplary. The booklet is rather commercial, with more poise than content, but this should probably be expected.
See also review by Byzantion
Ástor PIAZZOLLA (1921-1992)
Libertango* (arr. C.Israel, S.Goss & K.Sidorova) [3:01]
Jorge BEN (b.1942)
Mas que nada (arr. S.Assad) [3:08]
Consuelo VELÁZQUEZ (1920-2005)
Bésame mucho (arr. S.Assad) [3:29]
Antônio Carlos JOBIM (1927-1994)
The Girl from Ipanema (arr. S.Assad) [3:19]
Armando MANZANERO (b.1935)
Somos Novios (arr. S.Assad) [4:07]
Gustavo SANTAOLALLA (b.1951)
De Ushuaia a la Quiaca (arr. S.Goss) [3:23]
Isaías SÁVIO (1900-1977)
Jorge MOREL (b.1931)
Danza brasilera [3:15]
Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959)
Prelude No.1 in E minor [4:35]
Jorge CARDOSO (b.1949)
Roland DYENS (b.1955)
Tango en skaï [2:27]
Carlos GARDEL (1890-1935)
Por una cabeza* (arr. C.Israel & S.Goss) [2:38]
Agustín BARRIOS MANGORÉ (1885-1944)
Un sueño en la floresta [7:22]
Aria (Cantilena) from Bachianas brasileiras No.5 [5:42]
Leo BROUWER (b.1939)
Un día de noviembre [4:29]
Osvaldo FARRÉS (1903-1985)
Quizás, quizás, quizás* (arr. C.Israel & S.Goss) [3:16]
Oblivion* (arr. C.Israel & S.Goss) [4:17]
Manuel PONCE (1882-1948)
Scherzino mexicano [2:47]
Chanson (Andante from Sonata III) [4:10]
Agustín BARRIOS MANGORÉ
Una limosna por el amor de Dios (El último trémolo) [3:24]
Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937)
Boléro* (arr. S.Baker & S.Goss) [3:02]
Devoted and persuasive, with evident good taste and style.
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