Versus Ensemble

Piazzolla: María de Buenos Aires Suite; Verano Porteño; Milonga del Ángel

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This Naxos disc by the five-member Versus Ensemble contains a potpourri of seven different works by Argentinean composer Astor Piazzolla. It includes many of his best known major works -- the Milonga del ángel, Verano Porteño, Libertango, and Oblivion -- plus five excerpts from his least known major work: his operetta Maria de Buenos Aires. Of the 11 tracks here, four feature either vocalist Enrique Moratalla or soprano María Rey-Joly, one features reciter Horacio Ferrer, and six are instrumentals. The performances are generally bright, stylish, and swinging with a nice sense of the drive and sway of the ubiquitous tango rhythm, but, it must be admitted, they don't have much of a sense of the emotional melancholy and the sexual mystery that pervade better performances of Piazzolla's music. It must likewise be added that there are no texts or translations provided in the slender program book and only the briefest of composition descriptions. Recorded mostly at Caja Rural Auditorium in Granada in 2006, the performers' self-produced digital sound is remarkably bright and close.

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