Julius Berger / Friedemann Eichhorn / José Gallardo

Astor Piazzolla: Le Grand Tango

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In our modern age where practically anything goes, it's difficult to imagine that a dance and its associated musical form could be held in such disrepute that it could be in danger of falling into oblivion. Such is the plight of the tango, which has composers like Astor Piazzolla to thank for not only saving it, but promoting it to a desirable form of music and putting it on concert stages the world over. What makes or breaks a tango performance is the degree of passion and lust with which it is played -- the same characteristics for it was previously admonished. His recording, featuring a German violinist and cellist and an Argentinean pianist, offers listeners strong, very accurate performances. However, apart from pianist José Gallardo, they're a bit lacking in the unabashed emotional output. Gallardo's playing is rife with risk-taking and passionate flourish, but his string-playing companions don't quite make it up to his level. Violinist Friedemann Eichhorn comes very close to a great tango sound in the Four Tangos for violin and piano, but still plays a little on the safe side. Cellist Julius Berger, however, simply doesn't have an appealing sound for this type of music. His instrument produces a very focused, narrow sound, which would be great for most any other type of music except the tango and his playing in the Grand Tango is just too safe.

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