The works on this disc span much of Astor Piazzolla's compositional career, from the Sinfonia Buenos Aires of 1951 to the Concerto of 1979. The latter has a title, "Aconcagua", the highest peak in the Andes, but it was not given by the composer. All of this music is stunning, and it's marvelously performed here. The best-known work, naturally, is an arrangement: Las Cuatro Estaciones, here in the version for string orchestra by Leonid Desyatnikov.
I have to confess that I prefer a more varied scoring in this music, but it would be very hard to beat this performance for clarity and beauty of texture. Tianwa Yang handles the solo violin part with aplomb, digging into theRead more "dirty" sounds--the glissandos and other effects--with relish, but without ever coarsening her tone as so many others routinely do. There's elegance here as well, and she finds it. The result is that the "Spring" fugato, for example, has amazing rhythmic definition but also a very welcome lightness and freshness.
The Bandoneón Concerto offers a perfect marriage of Piazzolla's tango-saturated melos with large-scale form. It's worth recalling that the composer spent several years studying with Alberto Ginastera, as well as Nadia Boulanger, and all of his music in whatever form betrays a very high level of compositional craft. Daniel Binelli plays the solo part extremely well, and he's perfectly balanced against the larger ensemble. He also participates (to a lesser degree) in the Sinfonía Buenos Aires, in which the influence of Ginastera is very evident (and entirely welcome).
This early work is thrilling: a blend of Latin rhythm, soulful melody, explosive percussion, and now and then a touch of Stravinsky. The finale will blow you away, and there are some haunting timbres in the slow movement featuring the combination of bandoneón and woodwinds. The Nashville Symphony under Giancarlo Guerrero plays all of this music with the necessary guts and also a welcome degree of polish. The players sound completely at home in the idiom, and Guerrero delivers bold, uninhibited interpretations across the board. This is just a great disc of colorful, distinctive orchestral music, and it belongs in every collection.