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

Tangos in an ice storm

From September 30, 2010:


Opposites attract. That's one explanation for the odd connections between the music of Latin America and music enthusiasts in subarctic places. Tropical music of all kinds has had an amazing uptake in Scandanavia, for example, and the music of Villa-Lobos looms large in chilly Alberta. And one of the world's greatest Bandoneon performers & composers makes his home in Quebec.

Denis Plante's original compositions use traditional forms in original ways. Plante is described as "a spiritual son of Astor Piazzolla", and from start to finish the new disc Tango Boreal bears this out. The elements of jazz and Baroque music that Piazzolla melded to traditional tango to create "Nuevo Tango" are important parts of Plante's musical upbringing. The Argentine roots of this music are clear, but I'm thinking as well that Plante sometimes incorporates folk traditions closer to his Quebec home.

Plante's interesting and enlightening liner notes mention that his first tango compositions were written at the time of the famous Ice Storm that hit Quebec in 1998. That brings this world-spanning music into focus.

Denis Plante's playing, on an ancient and very special instrument akin to the one played by Piazzolla himself, is completely assured, and ably supported by guitarist David Jacques and bassist Ian Simpson.

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