Sonntag, 5. Juli 2015

QuarTango: Tangopera

In the booklet, mastering engineer Bernard Slobodian wrote about this recording that initially he had the intention “to test out a new piece of recording equipment by using the performances of these excellent musicians as testing samples. I didn´t even tell Quartango that I was recording them…” Now these unexpected live recordings were published as a programmatic 14-track album, entitled “Tangopera”.

QuarTango are classically trained musicians with a passion for tango; after 30 years and death of their pianist-composer-arranger Richard Hunt in 2011, now with a new line-up, comprising Stéphane Aubin (piano), Antoine Bareil (violin), René Gosselin (double bass), and Jonathan Goldman (bandoneon). For this showcase they were accompanied by the Canadian opera singer Marie-Josée Lord; Tango meets Opera.

Does this experiment work? Yes, it is an intimate set of excellent songs presented as chamber music with opera flavor. We hear classical tangos (i.e., Gardel´s “Mi Buenos Aires Querido”, Villoldo´s “El Choclo”, Rodriguez´s “La Cumparsita”, Laurenz´s “Milonga de mis Amores), tango nuevo (i.e., Piazzolla´s “Adios Nonino”, “Yo soy Maria” and “Oblivion”), but also songs adapted from several other genres (i.e., Pucini´s “Quando men vo”, Bizet´s “Habanera”, Gershwin´s “Summertime”, Brubeck´s “Blue Rondo à la Turk, “Weill´s Youkali”, Velazquez´s “Besame Mucho”) – and “Milonga Celtica” from deceased Richard Hunt.
These non-tangos were elegantly arranged, sensitively presented, and several can be taken as tango-sound-alikes.

What about songs such as Oblivion, will these recordings add something new? Richard Hunt´s arrangement is more transparent than several others, and Marie-Josée Lord sings this beautiful song really elegant, creating a floating atmosphere which keeps the listener on her site. Of course a trained opera soprano is singing unlike a passionate vocalist from the cafés in the suburbs; this has its special charm. Also the nearly-played-to-death song “La Cumpasita” benefits from its new arrangement and the quartet´s passionate interpretation. 

Are the songs danceable? – Let´s argue: Are you dancing to chamber music or during an opera performance? Forget your expectations and enjoy an evening with some exciting interpretations performed by accomplished musicians. 

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