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Piazzolla: Symphonic Works, Vol. 2

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Product Description

Sinfonía Buenos Aires, op.15 - Concerto pour bandoneón, orch. à vent & percussion - Mar del Plata 70 - Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas / Württembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen - Gabriel Castagna, direction

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Amazon.com: HASH(0x94aa2f30) out of 5 stars 1 review
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x94fd11a4) out of 5 stars Fiery and passionate 18 Nov. 2007
By Russ - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992) was a leading Argentine composer and is notable for developing a new style of music based on the traditional tango, referred to as the 'nuevo tango'. Although Piazzolla is primarily known for his compositions for chamber groups, the bold and powerful orchestral compositions featured here clearly portray a composer confident with the genre. Piazzolla's orchestral style owes some to Stravinsky, Bartok and Ginastera (under whom Piazzolla studied), but Piazzolla was very much is own man with a distinctive style featuring seductive harmonies, evocative orchestration and driving ostinatos.

The Concerto for Bandoneón is a rather unique composition. It is the only concerto for a member of the accordion family of which I am aware. Piazzolla himself was a leading bandoneón player and performed this concerto often. The propulsive and vibrant first movement contains the nationalistic elements that are common within the works of Ginastera. The fiery, and insistent, melody of this movement seems to be a perfect fit for bandoneón's unique sonority. The second movement is more subdued, but the energy returns in the finale, which concludes in brazen fashion, with a deliberate, heavily accented, tango melody.

The Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas is a four movement tango suite, with each movement dedicated to the portrayal of one of the four seasons. This suite, with its jazzy rhythms, dark ostinatos and memorable ideas shows Piazzolla at his best. Each brief movement has its own distinctive flavor. Whether it's the nostalgic 'winter' theme opening the suite, or the spirited syncopations of the 'autumn' tango, I definitely found my self engaged by this music.

The nationalist, folk-infused, Sinfonía Buenos Aires would certainly qualify as a 'power' classic, given its virtuosic writing and heavy orchestration, featuring lots of brass and percussion. The brassy processional opening and closing the first movement immediately brings to mind Revueltas' 'La noche de los Mayas'. The rhythmically-charged, whirlwind, finale is definitely one of the highlights of this program. This movement explodes forth with a flurry of percussion activity. After a meditative central section, the movement gradually builds in intensity beginning with double-tonguing flutes, underpinned by an aggressive piano ostinato, with periodic disruptions by angular brass accents. The final three minutes of this composition are among the most intense in classical music - great stuff!

I really enjoyed this music. Fantastic playing, detailed program notes and strong engineering round out this attractive package. If you enjoy music with real flair, or if you are admirer of any of the composers mentioned above, you would do well to pick up this release.

Highly recommended.

TT: 71:10
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