This music definitely is nothing you can consume easily, it is hard stuff played easily. Seventy-six minutes with compact and complex compositions by Gustavo Beytelmann (Argentine pianist and composer; *1945), Luis Borda (Argentine guitarist and composer; *1955), Pablo Aguirre (Argentine pianist and composer; * 1961), Miguel Varvello (Argentine bandoneon player and composer; *1943) and Astor Piazzolla (bandoneon player and composer; 1921-1992), played by two extraordinary and outstanding musicians, German viola player Julia Rebekka Adler (*1978) and Argentine pianist José Gallardo (*1971). With the exception of the Piazzolla compositions, all other are world premiere recordings, either specifically written and dedicated to Julia Rebekka Adler (Varvello´s Entelazados) or arranged for the duo. I am not sure which compositions are more easily accessible – it is clearly music for the concert hall and requires our full attention. Maybe the 6 min. composition Entrelazados by Miguel Varvello is an appropriate starter, and then the 5 min. El viento de verdad by Luis Borda. Impressive, how Adler and Gallardo play with the dynamics, modulate the tempo and individually underline the melodic structure of their selected songs. They interact perfectly and highly sensitive.
Yet, this recording might not get the applause of the tango dancers. One could imagine Piazzolla´s frustration that his music was not accepted by the traditional Argentine milongueros. In fact, among the 9 Piazzolla compositions presented here, there is not one like his heart-rending evergreenOblivion which easily finds its way to the listener´s heart. Then, what about his 12 min composition Le Grand Tango? It has its own beauty, but requires time to unfold. It is interpreted elegantly and sensitive by the duo. In contrast to another version with cello and piano (i.e., by Gautier Capuçon and Yuja Wang) which has much more dynamic (male) power, the presented (female) version of Adler and Gallardo is rather coltish-reluctantly but highly sensitive. However, this does not argue against their version, it´s simply a matter of taste.
All in all, an impressive album with chamber music for the audiophiliacs seated in the concert hall rather than for the moonlight milongas of the suburbs.