The music of Argentine tango-classical fusion musician Astor Piazzolla has been played by an enormous variety of ensembles, going back to the days of Piazzolla himself. Most groups try to replicate the sounds of Piazzolla's own quintets (or other medium-sized groups), making strings stand in for the frictive quality of Piazzolla's own bandoneón, for example. Few have departed from the source material as thoroughly as does Italy's Tuscan Brass and Percussion Quintet, which divorces the rhythmic content of Piazzolla's music from the tonal content and assigns it to the percussion players. The rest goes to a group of brasses, with a violin present in some of the numbers to take prominent solos. The arrangements tend to abstract the rhythm, which somehow loses its tango quality as it is split from Piazzolla's extended minor harmonies. The violin's biggest workout comes in Las cuatro estaciónes porteñas (The Buenos Aires [Port City] Four Seasons), where the arrangement by Donato de Sena is based, without credit, on the version of the work by Russian composer Leonid Desyatnikov; the music includes quotations from Vivaldi's Four Seasons, and as these morph into the somewhat jazz-like Piazzolla renderings you have to stop and give credit to the musicians for the sheer imagination of the whole project. This odd conception is emphatically not a good place to start with Piazzolla, but those already hooked may find it instructive to discover just how far his music can be pushed.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Las 4 Estaciones Porteñas (The Four Seasons in Buenos Aires)|
|Histoire du Tango (History of the Tango)|