Magali Léger / Marcela Roggeri

Astor Piazzolla

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This is a collection of oddities and rarities by the Argentine tango fusion master Astor Piazzolla, with songs mostly arranged for voice and piano, or instrumental pieces for arranged for piano alone. You wouldn't know that from the packaging, or from the track list containing some famous titles, or even from the booklet, which gives a standard biography of Piazzolla's career but isn't much help on the music at hand; it identifies the language of the song version of Oblivion heard here as French, when in fact it is in Italian. It's not a Piazzolla album for newcomers to his music, but it does touch on some of his compositions of the 1950s, when he still thought he might like to become a straight classical composer; these aren't often recorded, and they show his adventurous spirit. Some of the pieces aren't tangos at all; the Suite for piano of 1955 is thoroughly Parisian. There are a few of the famous tangos in restrained piano versions or vocal settings, but the only hint of the typical Piazzolla mood comes in Muerte del ángel (track 14). The rest, thanks to the voice of French soprano Magali Léger, is rather delicate. The songs mostly come from the first part of Piazzolla's career, and in only one case do they reflect the contributions of Piazzolla's favorite collaborator, Horacio Ferrer. Instead there are experiments of various kinds, such as Los pájaros perdidos, which contrasts tango with rhythmically regular art song, or the jostling tango-waltz hybrid Valsísimo (track 11), which suggests Erik Satie. More an album for the Piazzolla enthusiast than for the general listener.

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