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Piazzolla: Symphonic Works Vol 2 / Castagna, Württemberg Philharmonie


Release Date: 06/26/2007 
Label:  Chandos   Catalog #: 10419   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Astor Piazzolla
Performer:  Juan Jose Mosalini
Conductor:  Gabriel Castagna
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Württemberg Philharmonie Reutlingen
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 11 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Exciting, audience-friendly works. Fans of accessible 20th century music need to have this disc.

Argentine composer Piazzolla is famous for his tangos. To typical classical music listeners he is probably most often heard in small pieces for piano or guitar. This disc — the second in a series of the composer’s orchestral works, of which I have not heard the first — is stunning proof that there is more to him than tangos. Yes, Piazzolla is a serious composer.

The movement from popular music to large-scale classical works was a calculated one on Piazzolla’s part. The Sinfonia Buenos Aires was the first fruit of this effort. Its twenty-five minute length, as well as its frequent use of woodwind color, place it
Read more in the same realm as Hindemith’s and Stravinsky’s forays into the genre. It is a highly dramatic piece, building up brass crescendos and percussion outbursts punctuated by elegies in the strings and lower winds.

The bandoneón is, according to the liner notes, “a fiendishly difficult member of the accordion family” on which Piazzolla became “the world’s leading virtuoso.” Juan José Mosalini, the soloist in the Concerto in this recording, must surely be considered a present-day contender for this title. Listeners will not forget the folk origins of the instrument: this is the composition on the disc that will most call to mind a sultry Buenos Aires night club. Yet Piazzolla’s writing and Mosalini’s playing make this truly a virtuoso concerto, rather than merely an evocative curiosity.

Mar del Plato 70 is a short, energetic symphonic dance inspired by the ocean resort area where the composer was born. Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas (roughly, “four seasons in Buenos Aires”) shows little musical connection to Vivaldi’s work. Though originally written for his tango band, this work sounds like compelling film music. It consists of four emotional and at times dramatic vignettes. One could imagine it as music to anchor and carry us through a story whose plot we do not know.

One might wonder whether the Württemburgische Philharmonie Reutlingen, whose very name drips with Germnanness, has the feeling to pull off this South American music. No worries. Their palette of colors is broad, with each hue sharply-etched. Most importantly, they sound like they were born with the rhythmic snap and pulse necessary for this music.

Argentine conductor and musicologist Gabriel Castagna directs the whole effort with passion and expertise, as well as contributing to the booklet notes. I hope that Chandos keeps him on board for further recordings.

Everything here but the concerto is a world premiere recording. That, if I didn’t know better regarding the conservatism of most orchestral programming, would be shocking. Each piece here would be an exciting, audience-friendly addition to a concert program. Fans of accessible 20th century music need to have this disc, and I will eagerly seek out the first volume for my collection.

-- Brian Burtt, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony "Buenos Aires" by Astor Piazzolla
Conductor:  Gabriel Castagna
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Württemberg Philharmonie Reutlingen
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1951; Argentina 
Venue:  Württemburgische Philharmonie, Reutlinge 
Length: 25 Minutes 55 Secs. 
Notes: Württemburgische Philharmonie, Reutlingen, Germany (03/01/2006 - 04/04/2006) 
2.
Concerto for Bandoneon by Astor Piazzolla
Performer:  Juan Jose Mosalini (Bandoneon)
Conductor:  Gabriel Castagna
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Württemberg Philharmonie Reutlingen
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1979; Argentina 
Venue:  Württemburgische Philharmonie, Reutlinge 
Length: 22 Minutes 10 Secs. 
Notes: Württemburgische Philharmonie, Reutlingen, Germany (03/01/2006 - 04/04/2006) 
3.
Mar del Plata 70 by Astor Piazzolla
Conductor:  Gabriel Castagna
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Württemberg Philharmonie Reutlingen
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1965; Argentina 
Venue:  Württemburgische Philharmonie, Reutlinge 
Length: 3 Minutes 29 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: José Carli.
Württemburgische Philharmonie, Reutlingen, Germany (03/01/2006 - 04/04/2006) 
4.
Las estaciones porteñas (4) by Astor Piazzolla
Conductor:  Gabriel Castagna
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Württemberg Philharmonie Reutlingen
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1967-1970; Argentina 
Venue:  Württemburgische Philharmonie, Reutlinge 
Length: 19 Minutes 5 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Carlos Franzetti.
Württemburgische Philharmonie, Reutlingen, Germany (03/01/2006 - 04/04/2006) 

Featured Sound Samples

Symphony "Buenos Aires": II. Lento, con anima
Concerto for Bandoneón: III. Presto
Mar del Plata 70

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