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Le Grand Tango - Piazzolla / Eichhorn, Berger, Gallardo

Release Date: 08/07/2007 
Label:  Hänssler Classic   Catalog #: 93205   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Astor Piazzolla
Performer:  Julius BergerJosé GallardoFriedemann Eichhorn
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

PIAZZOLLA The Four Seasons (arr. Bragato). 1,2,3 Oblivión (arr. Bragato). 1,2,3 4 Tangos (arr. Calo). 1,3 Le grand tango 1,3 José Gallardo (pn); 1 Friedemann Eichhorn (vn); 2 Read more Julius Berger (vc) 3 HÄNSSLER 93.205 (61:12)

If you haven’t run into the music of Astor Piazzolla lately, chances are you will before too long. He’s all the rage, especially among classical musicians eager to establish themselves in the crossover market and who view Piazzolla as the perfect bridge. His is a highly idiosyncratic voice, and there’s no apt comparison with another composer. Johann Strauss comes to mind as another who elevated dance forms to unprecedented heights of sophistication and elegance. But even in love duets and the large ensemble set pieces in Strauss’s operettas, you can always imagine dancing to his music. Not so Piazzolla, who routinely moves as far away from the danceable tango as Chopin did from a Polish court dance when he composed the Polonaise-Fantasy. Apparently it was in the mid 1950s that Nadia Boulanger urged this erstwhile Ginastera pupil to seek his artistic destiny cultivating the tango. And cultivate it he did, though by that time the dance’s popularity had waned considerably from the international craze it inspired prior to the first World War.

Despite the best efforts of his supporters, Piazzolla never really caught on in a big way in the States, even though he spent much of his childhood and early adolescence in New York. For decades his music remained a special taste among certain cognoscenti. But judging from the dozens of CDs devoted to his music currently available, the tide has decisively shifted. And it’s easy to understand why. Piazzolla’s ambulating melodies—slightly fragmented, varied in shape and length, evocative of many moods—are seductive. And although one encounters his music most frequently in arrangements by other musicians, Piazzolla was a sure master of counterpoint: interesting voice leading seems to be a characteristic of his wide-ranging imagination.

I quite like this new CD from Hännsler Classic that brings together two German musicians, violinist Friedemann Eichhorn and cellist Julius Berger, with the fiery Argentine pianist José Gallardo. The Four Seasons and what must be the most-recorded of Piazzolla’s tangos, Oblivión, employ all three musicians in arrangements by José Bragato. Osvaldo Calo is the arranger for the Four Tangos for violin and piano. The concluding work on the other hand, Le grand tango for cello and piano from 1982, is presented in the form the composer wrote it for Mstislav Rostropovitch.

Any resemblance to Vivaldi or, for that matter, to early 20th-century neo-Baroque tendencies in Piazzolla’s The Four Seasons is strictly coincidental. These four tangos, written between 1965 and 1970 for various purposes, make a strong, integrated suite. Eichhorn and Berger are terrific players, and bring just the right amount of “down and dirty” to these performances. Their double-stop glissandos, imitating the characteristic sounds of the Argentinean bandoneón, are delicious. Berger pulls off the Grand tango in a genuine tour de force . But I must say, José Gallardo claims the first and last word. Gallardo, who is after all a native of Buenos Aires, is simply all over the piano and the results are stunning: this guy sizzles.

The sound here leaves nothing to be desired and the performances are perfectly characteristic in a fine recording. Highly recommended.

FANFARE: Patrick Rucker
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Works on This Recording

Enrico IV: Oblivion by Astor Piazzolla
Performer:  Julius Berger (Cello), José Gallardo (Piano), Friedemann Eichhorn (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1984; Argentina 
Notes: Arranger: José Bragato. 
Le Grand Tango by Astor Piazzolla
Performer:  José Gallardo (Piano), Julius Berger (Cello)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Argentina 
Las estaciones porteñas (4) by Astor Piazzolla
Performer:  Julius Berger (Cello), Friedemann Eichhorn (Violin), José Gallardo (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1967-1970; Argentina 
Notes: Arranger: José Bragato. 

Sound Samples

Las 4 estaciones portenas (arr. for piano trio): I. Primavera Portena
Las 4 estaciones portenas (arr. for piano trio): II. Verano Portena
Las 4 estaciones portenas (arr. for piano trio): III. Otono Portena
Las 4 estaciones portenas (arr. for piano trio): IV. Invierno Portena
Oblivion: (arr. for piano trio)
Revirado (arr. for violin and piano)
Adios Nonino (arr. for violin and piano)
Milonga del Angel (arr. for violin and piano)
Fracanapa (arr. for violin and piano)
Le Grand Tango

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