Astor Piazzolla

The Soul of Tango: Greatest Hits

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One of a number of posthumous attempts by various labels to present a coherent picture of the whole of Astor Piazzolla's genius, this collection makes that attempt by separating his music into a number of different groups. It begins with an orchestral introduction number, then moves into his first major group on the album, the Quintet, with a pair of recordings from a Buenos Aires concert in 1973. It then moves into the music of the New Tango Quintet, possibly his most celebrated group, with three outstanding songs from a concert in Mar del Plata in 1984. Then again it moves to a sextet from a Buenos Aires concert five years later. The second disc starts out with a chapter from his film scoring days, with numbers from two Fernando Solas films: Sur and Tango, el Exilio del Gardel. Here, Piazzolla is still working with the New Tango Quintet. Finally, a group of numbers written for a nonet, an orchestra, or both appear. As would be expected, the music is sublimely performed in all cases, although some of the work for orchestras seems to lose the intimacy afforded by the small groups Piazzolla really specialized in. There are a myriad of posthumous releases of the master of the nuevo tango, and this is comparable to many of them. Others (such as 57 Minutos con la Realidad) feature more stand-alone hits, and are worthy for that purpose. Pick this one up if you are a die-hard fan of Piazzolla and his work, but don't expect the full magic of an album in its entirety, where the conceptual portions all play together to provide a glimpse of the tango at its finest.

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