Joanna MacGregor / Britten Sinfonia

Joanna MacGregor Live in Buenos Aires

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British pianist Joanna MacGregor, with her inclination toward challenging crossover programming, would seem to be an excellent fit for Buenos Aires, and so it is in this recital, recorded live in May 2007. The enthusiasm of the demonstrative Argentine crowds, presented in snippets of applause, builds throughout the daring program, beginning with the jazzy-without-being-syncopated reading of the Bach Keyboard Concerto in D minor, BWV 152. The placement of the Stravinsky Concerto in D minor for string orchestra, with its rhythmically unstable opening movement, is ideal, but nothing quite sets you up for the three pieces by John Dowland, all arranged in different ways. Dowland has been arranged for piano before, but nobody has done anything quite like this intense little trilogy. The South American material is reserved for the second half of the program, with all of it tied to popular traditions in some way. The Forrobodó and Frevo of Egberto Gismonti suggest a contemporary Brazilian Ravel, and Osvaldo Golijov has stated that he wrote his Last Round (1996) as a sort of idealized exrapolation of Astor Piazzolla's tango sound. The arrangements of Piazzolla's Milonga del Ángel and Libertango are MacGregor's own, as are those of the Gismonti and Dowland pieces, and all these received their world premieres at the concert. The cumulative effect gains strength as the program hovers between classical, jazz, and tango influences, emphasizing more public and more inward faces by turns. Predicting the future of classical music may be a fool's game, but nobody should be surprised if it comes out something like this.

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