Daniel Binelli, Argentinean bandoneon composer, arranger and performer sits at the centre of this disc’s action in all three functions. He is ably assisted by his duo colleague, American pianist Polly Ferman. The repertoire consists of pieces by Binelli and Horacio Salgán (three apiece), two by Piazzolla and one by Ariel Ramíres - or Ramírez, if you prefer that spelling; 4Tay goes for Ramíres. The theme is, inevitably, the luscious dance – whether tango, milonga, candombe, or other evocative species. They are accompanied by the Montevideo Philharmonic, directed by Federico Garcia Vigil.
Salgán’s A Fuego Lento is a catchy opus, offering both solo instruments separate lines and then opportunities for one or the other to take the lead, before the orchestral strings archly slide in with a dense and rich contribution. Milonga casi Candombe is a lighter textured affair, flightier, exceptionally catchy, and communicatively played. The final of the three Salgán pieces is A Don Agustín Bardi, composed back in 1950, with some deft piano writing to be heard in this Binelli arrangement and plenty of rhythmic vitality too. Binelli has absorbed the work of the great pioneers of the new models in Latin-American music, not least Tango but the three pieces he has selected from his own oeuvre offer ingenious contrasts. Ferman gives us a sensitive piano introduction to Preludio Y Candombe – hers is the Preludio – which leads on to more vigorous Latin percussion and lacy strings which encapsulates both a catchy band section and a warmly romantic string cantilever. Tauter is Metropólis which offers more solidly in-the-groove music, whereas Imágenes de Buenos Aires is a kind of tone poem which begins with string themes of power and melancholy, piano, bandoneon and orchestral passages and a gradual slowing down into intimate reverie. After bandoneon and piano exchanges the music heats up getting rhythmically charged: hot and sweaty.
The piano solo introduction to Piazzolla’s Oblivión (arranged by Zunini – Consentino) – it lasts half the song – is very attractive and prefigures an orchestral presentation that works pretty well, though lacking the last ounce in evocation, perhaps. That’s not something that can be said of the longest work on the disc, the three Tangos Sinfónicos, in which the first is rhythmically vivid, the second largely the preserve of the bandoneon and the last charged, vigorous and full of vitality. This is the most performed and recorded of all the works. Ariel Ramirés’s Alfonsina y el mar makes a delightful close. Some may remember the vocal recording of it by Alfredo Kraus.
There are obviously competing versions of the Piazzolla pieces and of the Salgán trio – a BIS disc has all three Salgán pieces though the arrangements are different, so they are more complementary than competing. This 4Tay disc manages to combine romance and yearning, dance and melancholy nicely. Some may prefer less of an orchestral sheen but I found it warmly collaborative for most of the time. Both soloists are terrific players in their different ways.