Luminosa Buenos Aires

Giampaolo Bandini / Cesare Chiacchiaretta

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Luminosa Buenos Aires Review

by James Manheim

Of the numerous ways in which performers from the classical concert tradition have tried to transfer the music of Astor Piazzolla to their own ensembles, the one seemingly suggested by Piazzolla himself has remarkably rarely been tried. The "suggestion" comes from the Double Concerto for bandoneón, guitar, and strings, "Hommage à Liège," composed by Piazzolla himsef in 1985 and making liberal use of the percussive quality of both of the solo instruments, combined with the contrapuntal qualities of the strings. This Italian release offers an ideal program, concluding with the Double Concerto itself. At the beginning is an arrangement of Los Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas (The Buenos Aires Four Seasons) for the same ensemble; the transcription is by one G. Scaramuzzo, who is apparently not otherwise involved with the performance. It's generally straightforward, with the string parts taking over the full-ensemble sections of the original, and it's easy to imagine that Piazzolla himself would have approved of the performance by the Italian duo of guitarist Giampaolo Bandini and bandoneón player Cesare Chiacchiaretta, with the string ensemble I Musici di Parma. The middle work, the Double Concerto "Luminosa Buenos Aires," by Argentine composer Máximo Diego Pujol, takes Piazzolla's tango rhythms as well as other South American forms as a point of departure, incorporating them into a four-movement form that draws in various ways on standard classical concerto forms. It might be argued that this dilutes the tension between popular and classical forms that gives Piazzolla's tango style its kick, but the lyricism of the slow movement is affecting, and the piece works well in this context. An enjoyable outing for anyone interested in classical-style Piazzolla, with impressive 32-bit recording that carries the feel of a live performance but with no loss of detail. Notes are in Italian and English.

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