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Piazzolla: Tango Distinto / Achilles Liarmakopoulos

Release Date: 12/13/2011 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8572596  
Composer:  Astor Piazzolla
Performer:  Achilles LiarmakopoulosHector Del CurtoOctavio BrunettiPedro Giraudo,   ... 
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 7 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Piazzolla suits the trombone surprisingly well and when its voice soars so expressively I doubt that anyone will remain unmoved.

The trend to record Piazzolla’s music in “eccentric” instrumental combinations is quite popular these days, and some of the results are worth it. But when one considers a trombone-centred album – isn’t there a danger of lack of variety? We know the trombone as this stentorian guy with a demonic wink, the glaring blare of bassy brass. Right, there is much in Piazzolla’s music that could invite such a hero. Actually, most of his music revolves around two focal points. They are very different, yet both trap and kill you – one brutally, the other softly. The first one is the aggressive, angry,
Read more anxious music. It seems quite natural to use the trombone, this rough, masculine instrument, for its dark, violent fights. The other kind is lyrical and poignant, the stuff of dreams and memories, of longing and yearning. Its long notes come out well on the traditional “singing” instruments, which are capable of emotional nuance. As this disc shows, in the right hands, the trombone can play both roles. Its sound has the necessary vibrancy. As for emotional nuance, apparently it’s just a function of the proficiency of the performer. What is somewhat lacking is the feeling of fragility but this is compensated by the added depth. Also, being smoother than the “standard” Piazzolla instruments, the trombone brings appealing jazziness to the music.
Diversity is secured by the arrangements, which are done with skill and fantasy. The accompaniments vary a lot, from solo marimba in Nightclub, to guitar in Café, bandonéon, piano and bass in Soledad and Escualo, and a complete string quintet (with double bass) in the Angel pieces. The trombone does not monopolise the limelight. For example, in Soledad it enters very late, letting the bandonéon sing with the piano.
Content-wise, the album is not adventurous. The pieces were picked from the “routine” Piazzolla cookbook. But good renditions of the “routine” sets are always welcome. The only relatively new thing is the complete Angel series including the Resurrection, which is otherwise heard less frequently than its perhaps too common companions. Hearing it here alongside the other two, I can understand the reason: it is truly less interesting.
The fast numbers have excellent drive, which helps transcend occasional repetition, as in Michelangelo ’70. When the music is fast, and the notes come hammering in like furious bullets, the trombone is denied the chance to show its vibrant qualities, and so the music sounds unyielding and a little stiff. This happens, for instance, in Nightclub. In the slower places the trombone never assumes a commanding voice. These are the most magical moments, when the music is allowed to breathe. Café is one of them, unhurried and tender. The slower parts of Soledad are excellent, though the rushing episodes are hard again.
The trombone cannot really sustain the entire length and weight of Le grand Tango. It lacks the cello’s catholic range, and fails to make these eleven minutes as breathtaking as they can be. Still, it is a very good reading, and the more relaxed places serve as examples of how expressive this instrument can be. These parts are deeply felt, and the trombone sound is pliant. Escualo is nervous and rapidly pulsing. In the Angel series, arranged by Gabriel Senanes, the trombone is superimposed over the five string instruments. I liked this - successfully combining Piazzolla’s sweet and bitter. The trombone blends with the strings surprisingly well.
Achilles Liarmakopoulos does not show off, does not squeeze surplus emotion out of the music. His performance is noble. He demonstrates rare restraint, considering it’s his debut disc; on first discs people usually want to impress and not necessarily with the music. The recording is clean and good. The trombone does not achieve a completely resolved blend with all the instruments, but you probably wouldn’t expect it. It is placed forwardly.
This disc definitely serves as a good introduction to Piazzolla: I am sure it will only spur further interest. For those who know this composer, it can comes as an interesting alternative to the more “standard” readings. The music of Piazzolla suits the trombone surprisingly well especially when its voice soars so expressively, as in Oblivion or Milonga del Angel. I doubt that anyone would be unmoved when this happens.
-- Oleg Ledeniov, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

Soledad by Astor Piazzolla
Performer:  Achilles Liarmakopoulos (Trombone), Hector Del Curto (Bandoneon), Octavio Brunetti (Piano),
Pedro Giraudo (Double Bass)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Argentina 
Resurrección del Angel by Astor Piazzolla
Performer:  Achilles Liarmakopoulos (Trombone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1965; Argentina 
Milonga del Angel by Astor Piazzolla
Performer:  Achilles Liarmakopoulos (Trombone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1965; Argentina 
Michelangelo 70 by Astor Piazzolla
Performer:  Achilles Liarmakopoulos (Trombone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Argentina 
Le Grand Tango by Astor Piazzolla
Performer:  Achilles Liarmakopoulos (Trombone), Robert Thompson (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Argentina 
La muerte del Angel by Astor Piazzolla
Performer:  Achilles Liarmakopoulos (Trombone), Raul Garcia (Viola), Jiyun Han (Violin),
Edson Scheid (Violin), Arnold Choi (Cello)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1962; Argentina 
History of the Tango: Night club 1960 by Astor Piazzolla
Performer:  Achilles Liarmakopoulos (Trombone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Argentina 
History of the Tango: Café 1930 by Astor Piazzolla
Performer:  Achilles Liarmakopoulos (Trombone), Ian Rosenbaum (Marimba)
Period: 20th Century 
Escualo by Astor Piazzolla
Performer:  Achilles Liarmakopoulos (Trombone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Argentina 
Enrico IV: Tanti anna prima "Ave Maria" by Astor Piazzolla
Performer:  Achilles Liarmakopoulos (Trombone), Maura Valenti (Harp)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1984; Argentina 
Enrico IV: Oblivion by Astor Piazzolla
Performer:  Achilles Liarmakopoulos (Trombone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1984; Argentina 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 Different Tango July 14, 2012 By Leslie A. (Washington, DC) See All My Reviews "You don't have to be European in looks and Latino in your heart to enjoy Piazzolla. It has been demonstrated with hundreds of (sucessful) recordings and arrangements. His music has the temperament of an irascible half-macho/half-precious-[half-grizzly/half-teddy]-man. A quasi-sadness that we, south americans, relate to a gray melancholy (as our winter's drizzle) unknown nostalgias, lots of longing, brazilian 'saudade'... and heart pain. All those human qualities that make life worth living! ... and his music so universal. When you collect so much of what it's out there, in arrangements of all kinds (some truly excentric) you start having misgivings, even prejudices, on an issue as this, which features the trombone played by a Greek musician with such intriguing name as Achilles Liarmakopoulos. So, isn't it great to risk it and be proven wrong? This program is so well produced and thought of that I had to sit down and write this. From the start, it catches you by the gut with a forceful piece in true tango spirit. Then you wonder what can be done of a piece, originally for flute & guitar such as 'Histoire du Tango'. And yet, it succeeds thanks to the vision and extraodinary musicianship ('Nightclub 1960' for trombone and marimba) of thoe involved. And so, with timbres of varied kind, forceful rhythms alternated with serene sadness, we get 60+ short minutes of wonderful Piazzolla. And what can be more meaningful than a recording that brings a greek trombonist with a combination of first-class musicians with multinational temperament? I can think of some nice metaphors. And who but Naxos can bring the whole production with the same vision as the producers? Kudos. Congratulations. Felicitaciones. Sirjxari'tiria!" Report Abuse
 AMAZING CD!! May 11, 2012 By Anna T. See All My Reviews "This is one of the best CD's of the music of Astor Piazzolla. The trombone playing simply takes you to heaven on the lyrical pieces like Milonga del angel, Oblivion etc. You will also be blown away with the incredible virtuosity of Achilles Liarmakopoulos on the fast pieces. This CD is a must!!" Report Abuse
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