Peter Soave has a unique ability to peer deep into your soul as he is playing the bandoneon or accordion. Somehow he has the innate knowledge as to what goes into the inner workings of a human soul's passion, slowly opening the door and turning on the heat. While most players on his instrument perform with a small ensemble, as did his role model, Astor Piazzolla, Soave is up-front with a symphonic band, adding further to the lush, nuanced, and seductive tones the nuevo tango evokes. Working with the Azzano Laboratories Orchestra, Soave plays while conducting, and the result is some romantic, expansive, in many instances ultra-dramatic music that would make Piazzolla and his devotees proud. Soave is no stranger to this style, as he plays with the smaller Phoenix Ensemble when he is living in Michigan. Familiar short themes, such as the languid signature tune "Oblivion" with bright glockenspiel accents, or the happy, lighthearted "Decarissimo," are child's play for Soave and the band. Piazzolla's version of "Ave Maria" is quite un-tango-like, pastoral, reverent, and practically somber. There are three extended concerto/suites, including the lesser-known "Aconcagua," going through typical emotional ups and downs of extreme drama from the violins and Soave, to calming restfulness, then back to quick and lithe. The middle "Moderato" section is scored for Soave, violin, and harp, sporting a chamber music feel before hitting stride on the midtempo slow but louder "Presto." "Tres Tangos" is more steadying, direct, and animated than implied, as is the nature of the somnolent tango traditionale, and you hear the legato bellows sound more. The non-Piazzolla concerto is written by Carmine Coppola, father of legendary filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola. As you'd expect, it's a Hollywood theme, the first of its kind scored for the accordion. Typically lush, overly theatrical, movie thriller distinctive, and suggesting the calm before the storm, it rivals the landscape music of Aaron Copland. You also hear clarion calls from the strings, Parisian late-night accordion from Soave, and a playful rondo and bluesy conclusion. Timing in at over 75 minutes, this lengthy and effusive dissertation on concrete emotionalism is one that should be savored by world and classical listeners as well as general lovers of great music with a sultry edge.
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AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos
|Concerto for bandoneón & orchestra|
|Tangos (3) for bandoneon & orchestra|