Music of Astor Piazzollaby Astor Piazzolla
An album of solo guitar transcriptions of Astor Piazzolla's tangos, done with the blessings of Piazzolla himself. Baltazar Benitez has been an outspoken musical advocate of the nuevo tango for some time, with this album standing as his first full-length recording of the genre (though he had performed tangos on-stage for some time before this). Along with the "Five Pieces for Guitar," Benitez chose a small number of other pieces from Piazzolla's archives: "Contrabajeando" (from his early years with Anibal Troilo), "Milonga del Angel" and "La Muerte del Angel," from the early '60s, and "Verano Porteño" and "Primavera Porteña" from the "Seasons" series in the late '60s. The "Five Pieces for Guitar" run through the history of the tango (though not as effectively perhaps as the Histoire du Tango series), taking it from its Creole roots through the club scenes of the '40s and '50s up to the era around the '60s (but still largely pre-Piazzolla). "Contrabajeando" is a showcase for the double bass in general, here giving Benitez space to add attention to the bass end of the guitar. The "Angel" works are milongas stretched to their limits of expression, and the "Seasons" pieces are full examples of the nuevo tango at its peak of composition. Being performed on the solo guitar, there is an air of serenity added to the works which normally isn't present. At the same time, though, the full ensemble of timbres and effects that was so central to Piazzolla's compositions is lost in the process. The shrieking violins and heavy percussion can only be approximated by the guitar. This is an outstanding album for fans of the classical guitar (Benitez even studied under Andrés Segovia for a time), but for those looking for the sounds of Piazzolla, it would be suggested that they pick up the actual Piazzolla albums first, as they hold the real power of his music.
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- Channel Classics Nl
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