"Argentina as a land of music? In Central Europe, this is rather an unusual association," reads the booklet for this Austrian release. The music of Astor Piazzolla and his compatriots has made strong inroads into classical music scenes in Britain, France, and even Germany, but apparently another 12 hours to the east it is rarer, and it may be rarer still in the homeland of the Trio d'Ante: Bulgaria. Be that as it may, this release on Austria's Gramola label, while not exactly groundbreaking among the recordings of the Piazzolla favorites it contains, has several points of interest. The all-female Trio d'Ante plays mostly the arrangements for piano trio José Bragato, with a couple of its own in the same vein of Milonga del ángel and Le grand tango. The trio format comes perhaps closest of the classical Piazzolla arrangements to the sound of his original ensembles, transferring the friction of the bandoneón to the strings and the percussive element to the piano; the trio doesn't lose the rhythmic element and the characteristic atmosphere of gloom in the Piazzolla works. Another attraction is a work that has rarely if ever been paired with Piazzolla: the Tres piezas originales al estilo español, Op. 1, of Enrique Fernández Arbós (1863-1939), otherwise known mostly for some orchestral arrangemets of Albéniz's piano music. These trio works are something like Spanish counterparts to Dvorák's Slavonic Dances; they're zippy works that are enjoyable in themselves as a finale and also help place Piazzolla, though doubtless a special case, into the long tradition of concert music's engagement with popular traditions. Well recorded, this is a worthwhile pick for tango fans who enjoy classical interpretations. Notes are in English, Spanish, and German.
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AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas|
|Tres piezas originales al estilo español, Op. 1|