Camerata San Antonio

Miguel del Aguila: Salón Buenos Aires

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You might guess from the Salón Buenos Aires title that composer Miguel del Aguila is Argentine, and indeed there are pieces here that extend the tango/classical fusion language of Astor Piazzolla. Hear the fugal "Obsessed Milonga" finale of the title work, Salón Buenos Aires, Op. 84 (track 5), for example. But even in that work there is a sense of humor distinct from Piazzolla and entirely characteristic of many of the works on this enjoyable album. Del Aguila was born in Montevideo, Uruguay (whose claim on the tango is as vigorous as that of Buenos Aires), lived and studied in Vienna (where a local newspaper, to his credit, judged his chamber music "not serious"), and has been active in the U.S., where his music was championed by Lukas Foss, among others. It reflects all these locales, but if the five pieces of chamber music on this album are put in chronological order, they reveal a progressively greater engagement with the composer's Latin roots. The Charango Capriccioso, commissioned by the Cuarteto Latinoamericano in 2006, as well as Salón Buenos Aires, suggest what Bartók's music might have sounded like if he had grown up in South America, not only in their compositionally rigorous development of folk rhythms, but also in the lyricism of the Tango to Dream movement of the latter work (track 4). Clocks, Op. 58, is not specifically Latin, but reveals the composer's considerable rhythmic charm in evoking a variety of historical landscapes through the rhythms of clocks ticking. The varied forces of the Camerata San Antonio plainly enjoy the music through and through, and the entire effort is highly recommended to anyone interested in the quite vital modern pan-Latin scene.

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