Carmen Piazzini

Piazzini Plays Piazzolla & Other Music From Argentina

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Recorded in 1997, this album was issued by Oehms in 2002 and returned again in budget form in 2010, no doubt due to the ongoing demand for the music of the Argentine tango-classical fusion pioneer Astor Piazzolla. The large-type "Piazzolla" on the cover of the 2010 release should not distract buyers from the fact that they're not getting quite what's implied. For one thing, only 8 of the 21 selections on the album are by Piazzolla; the rest fall under the "other music from Argentina" mentioned in smaller print. More important is the fact that the Piazzolla pieces included are pretty obscure and were apparently chosen to fit into this particular program. The back cover blurb is an assertion by Argentine pianist Carmen Piazzini that Piazzolla was a trained classical pianist and that she feels justified in playing him with her "classical Mozart fingers." That would suggest that presence of some of the major Piazzolla hits, but in fact what you get are Piazzolla pieces that were already pretty classical to begin with. Only one, the opening Retrato de Alfredo Gobbi, has a strong tango element, and even that work uses the tango rhythm more as a gesture than as a structural principle. Several of the Piazzolla pieces date from the 1950s, when he was still toying with the idea of becoming a classical composer and was experimenting with various media; Muerte, from the 1970s, comes from the still-underexamined realm of Piazzolla's film music. So, if you're expecting characteristic Piazzolla played on the piano (which could certainly work), you won't find it here. All this said, the album works well for what it actually is: a collection of music by Argentine composers who attempted to reconcile the indigenous rhythms of their homeland with new European currents. These range from the semi-popular styles of some of the earlier composers to the avant-garde rhythmic treatments of Alberto Ginastera, who actually benefits from being placed in these surroundings. In a way, the album is a survey of paths not taken by Piazzolla, something that may indeed be of great interest to his devotees, but buyers should know what they're getting into.

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