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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My need for Oblivion has a happy ending., 11 Nov. 2003
By 
Bob Zeidler (Charlton, MA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Tangazo (Audio CD)
Not too long ago, I attended a concert by a chamber orchestra on tour. The printed program for the concert was largely "standard fare." There were then two encores, one of which I knew had to have been the work of Astor Piazzolla, but a Piazzolla work I hadn't recalled ever hearing. (I can't claim to have a particularly large library of Piazzolla works, but the library had already included the more popular successes by the Kronos Quartet, Gidon Kremer, Daniel Barenboim and Yo-Yo Ma.) Summoning up my courage after the concert, I went backstage to ask one of the musicians what the Piazzolla encore was. The answer was "Oblivion" (and I was, fortunately, not embarrassed by having to ask who the composer was; the absence of the near-obligatory bandoneon in this chamber orchestra did not "throw me off-track").
Well, I just had to have a recording of "Oblivion" after hearing that encore. And an Amazon search led me to this superb recording by Charles Dutoit and the Montréal Symphony Orchestra, with "Oblivion" smack-dab in the middle of things (track 6 of 11); a centerpiece of sorts.
If there is a sadder, more wistful and languorous work than this brief piece, I have yet to hear it. (Some of the piano works of Eric Satie may come close, but they still miss by the proverbial mile.) "Oblivion" has a way of insinuating itself under your skin, and one wants to hear it again and again; I listened to it three times in succession before I played the entire CD. Scored (by Piazzolla) for strings, oboe solo and bandoneon obbligato, it is simply magical. And quite addictive.
While the attention paid to Piazzolla always seems to be in the context of his tangos, he was nonetheless a trained serious composer, studying with Alberto Ginastera and Nadia Boulanger. The Ginastera connection comes through in a few of the selections here, most obviously in the "Danza criolla" and somewhat less obviously in others (such as the third movement of "Tres movimientos tanguisticos porteños").
The most famous work here – "Adiós Nonino" – was written by Piazzolla in memory of his father. About the work, Piazzolla wrote, "Perhaps I was surrounded by angels. I was able to write the the finest tune I have written. I don't know if I will ever do better. I doubt it." It is a fine and beautiful work indeed, and his abilities as an orchestrator of no mean skill show through clearly.
The remainder of the works are equally fine, and at nearly 76 minutes, this CD can be considered a bargain. Perhaps (to me, at least) the best part of these selections is that all were orchestrated by Piazzolla and that Dutoit respects this integrity by not only playing them as Piazzolla had arranged them, but with a true feel for the style as well.
Back to that performance of "Oblivion" that it was my pleasure to hear. It was an arrangement for string orchestra, and as a result it was with neither oboe nor bandoneon. In that respect, it was "special," and I passed this thought on to the chamber orchestra "powers that be." Perhaps one day it will show up at these Amazon product pages. In the meantime...
If your knowledge of the tango is limited to the ballroom dancing variety, or to the "required element" in ice dancing, this delicious Piazzolla album may not be for you. But it is surely a required element for anyone who enjoys his music.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a sultry survey of a modern master, 29 Jan. 2002
By 
Dr. M. Scott (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Tangazo (Audio CD)
Dutoit and his band have got it completely right with their sexy rhythm and REAL bandoneon player - this is Piazolla rendered in a most authentic and convincing manner. Adios Nonino (in Astor's orchestral arrangement) is superbly done - not as deft and fleet-footed, perhaps, as Bacalov's piano concerto version on his "Misa Tango" disc, but very smooth and simmering nonetheless. A wonderful introduction to anyone not yet familiar with "Tango Nuevo" played with great panache and a real sense of enjoyment. Treat yourself to a new direction in classical music...
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Tangazo
Tangazo by Astor Piazzolla (Audio CD - 2002)
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