Dienstag, 29. März 2016

Julia Rebekka Adler and José Gallardo: Contacto Tango

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.

Samstag, 26. März 2016

Orquesta Tipica Mistériosa Buenos Aires: Tu lado acustico

The Orquesta Tipica Mistériosa Buenos Aires and their pianist-arranger-director Javier Arias intended to bring closer the vein of classical tango played by the 1940s orchestras to today´s tango enthusiastics and dancers. The nine-person tango orchestra (piano and bass as rhythm section, 3 bandoneons and 3 violins, and 1 singer; - with guest musicians to get the full sound of 9 violins and 5 bandoneons for this recording) follows the traditional tango style, but with fresh and encouraging arrangements. They obviously aim to please the dancers, but also the `listeners-only´ fraction. For me their sound is somewhere between Carlos di Sarli and Aníbal Troilo, and this is a good reference. With Eliana Sosa they have a further good argument at their side, an enthusiastic and passionate singer who definitely attracts the audience also during their shows. 
On their third album within eight years as Orquesta Tipica Misteriosa Buenos Aires (apart from Arias´s 2006 album with the Orquesta Tipica Fervor de Buenos Aires) we hear seven beautiful tangos, four dynamic milongas (two of them candombe milongas), and one vals. These were written by old composers such as Juan d'Arienzo, Ricardo Luis Brignolo, Antonio Buglione, Félix Lipesker, Fernando Montoni, Luis Rubistein, and Rodolfo Sciammarella, and four by contemporary composers, i.e. one by the Argentine rock musician Luis Alberto Spinetta (1950-2012), one by their friend Pablo Sensoterra (guitarist-composer of the Cuarteto La Púa), and two by their director Javier Arias. The idea was to arrange some songs of their generation, “like in the Golden Age when Troilo played an arrangement of Piazzolla, or Pugliese made other arrangement of a Gobbi tune”, as violinist Damián González Gantes  argued.
For me, the album´s “acoustic side” is both, melodically romantic and rhythmically dynamic - and definitely worth it. The dancers will surely have their fun with the music of this ensemble, rich on elegant melodies and a fine pacing paso. When you like the energetic sound of an “acoustic” orquesta tipica, you are definitely at the right place. I see this ensemble and its current album as one of the essentials. 

Sonntag, 20. März 2016

Diana Zavalas: Tango Sentimental

This is not a classical tango album - rather it is a classical pianist from Romania playing classical tangos from Argentina. Most of these 12 songs have been recorded some more than several times (i.e., El choclo written by Ángel Villoldo; Desde el alma by Rosita Melo; Mano a mano  by Carlos Gardel and José Razzano; Milonga de mis amores by Pedro Laurenz). One may critically ask why we need one more interpretation of these standards. - Maybe we don´t need it, but Diana Zavalas definitely has something to offer!
She is a pianist classically trained at the Bucharest Conservatory and Birmingham Conservatoire. Not surprisingly she has won numerous awards, such as Ludlow Philharmonic Concerto Prize and Beethoven Piano Prize in Great Britain, Ginette Gaubert in France, Citta di Stresa in Italy, etc. It is quite obvious that Diana Zavalas has a deep feeling for sound and dynamics, and the selected Argentine tangos, milongas and valses benefit from her talent. You hear them differently, against your expectations and maybe against your personal preferences. Pure piano pieces, sometimes less than 2 minutes long, mostly around 3 minutes, reduced to their essentials. Be open to enjoy 31 relaxing and pleasant minutes with old friends coming as they are. Invite them to take a seat and let them surprise you.