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Naked Tango - Satie, Helps, Nazareth, Et Al / Svetozar Ivanov

Release Date: 02/19/2008 
Label:  Gega New   Catalog #: 327   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  John CageRobert HelpsErnesto NazarethWilliam Tisdale,   ... 
Performer:  Svetozar Ivanov
Number of Discs: 2 
Length: 1 Hours 12 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

NAKED TANGO Svetozar Ivanov, Dharshini Tambiah (pn 1 ) GEGA NEW GD 327 (71:54)

SATIE Perpetual Tango. NAZARETH Tango Ninth of July. TISDALE Galiarda. Pavana Chromatica. STRAVINSKY Tango. HELPS Read more class="ARIAL12bi">Radiance. Recollections. 1 Eventually the Carousel Begins. SHCHEDRIN À la Albeniz. RAMEAU Les Tendres plaintes. La Poule. BARBER Hesitation Tango. CAGE Perpetual Tango

There are recital and disc programs that are so thought-provoking as to reveal a window into the musical philosophy of the performer. And then there are delightful rarities like pianist Svetozar Ivanov’s Naked Tango that push the concept even further, coaxing the listener to consider links between pieces and eras in ways rarely examined. The genre of the tango might not seem to be a likely avenue for this kind of scrutiny, but Ivanov’s choices prove wonderfully fruitful.

The connections between works don’t beat you over the head with obvious common threads, nor do they seem like shotgun marriages. “Progression” would be the wrong adjective to describe the long timeline heard here. “Old” does not equate to “primitive,” nor does “modern” imply superiority or innate sophistication. The pianist doesn’t limit himself to the formal European concert hall in this gently arresting group of intimate, often understated and sly works.

If you are imagining from the title that this music might conjure the heat of South America and propel you to the dance floor, think again. Physical movement is implied in many of the pieces, but quiet contemplation is the more likely response. This is also not a brazen attempt to jump onto the overcrowded Piazzolla bandwagon—not a single work from the Argentine appears on the disc.

Renaissance English composer William Tisdale worked centuries before the advent of tango music, but his Galiarda and Pavana Chromatica are airy, light-footed dances that Ivanov brings to life with a sensitive and sure touch. Apparently there are only seven known surviving movements of this composer, most from the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book. Judging by the quality of these gems, we can only hope an enterprising sleuth uncovers more. Robert Helps’s Recollections seem a bit off message, but they’re strong, pithy works nonetheless. Shchedrin’s À la Albeniz is a lush and sultry miniature.

The heaviest work on the disc is Stravinsky’s Tango, which isn’t particularly substantial and seems almost leaden in comparison to the other offerings. Samuel Barber’s Hesitation Tango pushes the genre in a similar direction, with thick, bracing chords that serve as a counterforce to the sharp syncopations. The finishing bars switch gears considerably, and Ivanov’s chops are suddenly put to the test, one that he passes with breathtaking ease. At the other end of the spectrum is Ernesto Nazareth’s lilting Tango Ninth of July and a bubbly version of Rameau’s La Poule in which the fowl pecks away at its food with amusing irregularity.

Dharshini Tambiah joins Ivanov in Helps’s evocative Eventually the Carousel Begins for two pianos. Both tonality and meter are more grounded here than in the composer’s other works, a testament to Helps’s skillful versatility. The disc aptly concludes with John Cage’s Perpetual Tango and a quasi-reprise of the Satie, the work that informed Cage’s dance movement. This isn’t the first time the Satie and/or Cage have begun and finished a program, but it is an effective strategy nonetheless, reaffirming the cyclical and gossamer nature of most of the material.

Some discs are so burdened with long-winded notes it can take nearly as long to read them as listen to the music. While this recording could easily provoke endless commentary, Ivanov goes for the minimalist route, giving the listener a mere two short paragraphs. He lets the music speak for itself, and his clear and thoughtful performances enhance the process. If you occasionally grow weary of the barnstorming ferocity of many piano recordings, you will no doubt enjoy this finely conceived and immensely listenable disc.

FANFARE: Michael Cameron
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Works on This Recording

Perpetual Tango by John Cage
Performer:  Svetozar Ivanov (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1984; USA 
Radiance by Robert Helps
Performer:  Svetozar Ivanov (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1997; USA 
Recollections by Robert Helps
Performer:  Svetozar Ivanov (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1959; USA 
Eventually the Carousel Begins by Robert Helps
Performer:  Svetozar Ivanov (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Tango "Ninth of July" by Ernesto Nazareth
Performer:  Svetozar Ivanov (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Galiarda by William Tisdale
Performer:  Svetozar Ivanov (Piano)
Period: Renaissance 
Pavana Chromatica by William Tisdale
Performer:  Svetozar Ivanov (Piano)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; England 
Tango by Igor Stravinsky
Performer:  Svetozar Ivanov (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1940; USA 
A la Albéniz by Rodion Shchedrin
Performer:  Svetozar Ivanov (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Russia 
Nouvelles suites de pièces de clavecin: no 11, La poule by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Performer:  Svetozar Ivanov (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1729-1730; France 
Souvenirs, Op. 28: Suite - Hesitation Tango by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Svetozar Ivanov (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1952; USA 
Pièces de clavecin: no 13, Rondeau in D minor "Les tendres plaintes" by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Performer:  Svetozar Ivanov (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1724/1731; France 

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