Classical Music Review: New Releases

Astor Piazzolla - Concierto de Nácar and other works. Fuga y Misterio - Adaptation; Concierto de Nácar - Orchestration; Las Cuatro Estaciones Portñas - Variations; Concierto Para Quinteto - Adaptation; Adios Nonino - Orchestration.  Trio Fundacion Astor Piazzolla (Marcelo Jamie Nisinman, bandoneón; Sebastian Forster, piano; Timora Rosler, cello).  Orquesta de Camára Mayo; Pedro Ignacio Calderón, cond.  Times Square Records TSQD 9014 ().

The first thing that strikes one upon hearing this disc is how at home these performers are with this music.  There is a palpable affinity with the rhythmic complexities, an ease with the difficult shifts of mood and tempo.  Even the orchestra swings!  This is by no means an easy accomplishment.  There are a lot of excellent recordings of Astor Piazzolla's music, almost all of them by the composer himself.  Yet, his case is not unlike Duke Ellington's in that his music will only endure if it can survive the rigors of interpretation.

Of course, the Trio Fundación Astor Piazzolla is anything but an ad hoc group.  Both Marcelo Nisinman and Sebastián Forster carry Piazzolla's personal imprimatur, while cellist Timora Rosler plays with a passion to the manner born.  If, by necessity, the bandoneón is first among equals, the cello and the piano are both given their moments to shine.  These are most prominent in the stop-time cadenzas that punctuate even the most rhythmic passages of Piazzolla's compositions.

Although the notes are not clear, I believe that most of these pieces were originally scored for quintet (bandoneón, violin, piano, electric guitar and acoustic bass) and they make the transition to string orchestra splendidly.  Perhaps, it helps that they were recorded in Buenos Aires by a group composed of local musicians.  At any rate, the adaptations by Marcelo Nisinman are excellent.  The Fuga y Misterio and Concierto Para Quinteto, scored for trio alone, are also masterful; the reduced forces handle the dense counterpoint with aplomb.  This recording gives new hope to the continuance of Astor Piazzolla's rich legacy.

-Tony Gualtieri
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