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Astor Piazzolla was one of the leading tango composers and
performers of the last century. He revolutionized the tango by
fusing it with elements of classical and jazz, creating a new style
aptly described as “Nuevo Tango”. Over his lifetime he wrote more
than 3000 pieces, many of which are still being discovered. He was
also a virtuoso bandoneonist, and performed with many stylistically
different bands and musicians. This album is a commemoration of the
twenty-fifth anniversary of Pizzalloa’s death. It contains a mix of
his works, selected and performed by violinist Tomas Cotik and
pianist Tao Lin. Tomas was born in Buenos Aires and is a well-known
recording artist. He currently serves as Associate Professor of
Violin at Portland State University. Tao was born in Shanghai and
performs regularly throughout Europe, Asia and North America. The
two musicians have been recording together since 2010, and have
previously recorded another Piazzolla album, Tango Nuevo,
released by Naxos in 2013.
, or “shark”, composed in 1979, is a driving piece marked by
suspense, dynamic rhythms and jagged syncopation. Piazzolla was
inspired to write it after being jolted awake from a sleepy morning
fishing trip by an enormous shark on his line. The slashing violin
melody is matched and complemented by a quick and steady series of
piano bass chords and runs, musically reflecting the drama on the
sea. Vardarito is an interesting tribute to bandleader and
violinist Elvino Vardaro, a long-time musical associate who
performed in Piazzolla’s first Quintet and later in his Octet.
Tomas and Tao are joined by double bassist Jeffrey Kipperman and
percussionists Alex Wadner and Bradley Loudis, the group
alternating slow and dreamy duets with rattling up-tempo ensemble
verses. Milonga del angel, or “Angel’s Milonga “ was
composed in 1965. It is a slow, delicate ballad with a fine tango
milonga arrangement having the melody alternately shared between
piano and violin, with sensitive dynamics and key changes.
Las cuatro estaciones portenas
(The Four Season of Buenos Aires) was written between 1960 and
1970. The collection was inspired by Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons”,
and the four movements can be performed separately or as a set, in
any order, as by each contrasting they complement the whole. Revirado, composed in 1963, alternates a light-hearted
piano dance accompanied by raspy percussion, with a slower, elegant
violin segment for a fine overall effect.
Piazzolla’s most famous tango, Adios Nonino, was written
in 1959 after his father died. It is a dynamic, melancholy classic
that alternates tense, anxious passages with slower, grieving
segments that, together, mirror the phases of saying a final
good-by. Tomas and Tao capture the essence of the piece with
beautiful phasing and sensitivity.
This music was recorded in December, 2014 at Gusman Concert Hall in
Coral Gables, Florida.
Alejandro Sanchez-Samper and Tomas Cotik were the producers, and
Edward Stalzer was the recording engineer. A four page flyer is
included, with notes and comment by music journalist Fernando
Gonzalez. The sound quality is excellent.