Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

For the past five years or so I've posted reviews of classical music CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays, in various places on the web: Amazon.com, iTunes and other sites. I'll collect those earlier reviews, and add four or five new ones every month.

"Music, both vocall and instrumental, so good, so delectable, so rare, so admirable, so super excellent, that it did even ravish and stupifie all those strangers that never heard the like." - Thomas Coryat, after hearing 3 hours of music at the Scuola di San Rocco in Venice, 1608.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Piazzolla's chamber music in impressive performances

From May 2, 2012:


One of the highlights of Piazzolla's final years was his collaboration with the Kronos Quartet. He wrote and was involved in recording two important works with the group: Four for Tango for String Quartet and Five Tango Sensations for Bandoneon & String Quartet. These two great works focus more on the classical side of his music, though the traditional tango and to a lesser extent the jazz component remain in play. They are performed by Interensemble Padova on two CDs just re-released by Newton, in impressive performances that nearly match the famous Kronos recordings on Nonesuch: Piazzolla: Five Tango Sensations and Kronos Quartet : Winter Was Hard.

Interensemble Padova released two discs of Piazzolla chamber music on the Italian label Rivoalto in 1997 and 98. This new Newton re-release, in their standard two-disc format at a bargain price, should help bring this music to a wider audience. Besides the two works already mentioned, the two generously-filled discs include a variety of works for various combinations that represent the wide range of Piazzolla's chamber music. While not every piece is a masterpiece, this set has the great advantage of variety, which unfortunately doesn't happen with many Piazzolla discs of tangos and milongas for a particular ensemble of instruments. It's a valuable showcase for a composer who studied with Alberto Ginastera and Nadia Boulanger, and who claims significant interest even if you set aside the tango wave he rode to his current fame. I'm especially impressed with Bernardino Beggio's Trois Preludes for solo piano, and with the Tres Piezas for solo guitar, as played by Marco Pavin. The whole package is highly recommended.

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