All products and recordings are chosen independently by our editorial team. This review contains affiliate links and we may receive a commission for purchases made. Please read our affiliates FAQ page to find out more.

Piazzolla: Cien Años

Juanjo Mosalini (bandoneon); Pro Arte Orchestra of Boston/Gisèle Ben-Dor (Centaur)

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

Mosalini • Piazzolla
Mosalini: Cien Años; Tomá, Tocá; Piazzolla: Aconcagua; The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires (arr. Mosalini); Libertango (arr. Mosalini)
Juanjo Mosalini (bandoneon); Pro Arte Orchestra of Boston/Gisèle Ben-Dor
Centaur CRC 3844   61:51 mins


Born in 1921 in Argentina and brought up in New York, Astor Piazzolla railed against, played on and subverted the somewhat conservative tango tradition to enduring, thrilling effect. Bandoneon virtuoso Juanjo Mosalini is the soloist in this vibrant series of works – including a number of ‘world premieres’ – in this live recording made in honour of the composer’s centenary.

Named for the highest mountain in South America – and not by Piazzolla himself – Aconcagua (Concerto for Bandoneon) is a musical melding of western classical and Argentinian tango, distinctively Piazzollan. Mosalini’s playing is highly expressive, his bandoneon alternately rough-edged, sophisticated and earthy.

The Boston Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra takes its cue from the bandoneon, aggressive, expressive, punchy where needed, infused with the Buenos Aires dance under conductor Gisèle Ben-Dor. Not least in the steady, energised build-up in the final movement of the Aconcagua, or the opening to the Four Seasons of Buenos Aires – four separate Piazzolla pieces reworked very effectively as a whole by Mosalini with bandoneon in the lead – pulsing with energy, dissonant and cinematic.

In between, two of Mosalini’s own compositions, Cien Años in memory of his composer grandfather, and Tomá, Tocá (Take it, Play it), a light Piazzollaesque piece dedicated to Piazzolla’s electric guitarist, and friend of Mosalini’s family, Tomás Gubitsch. To finish, an infectious, vibrant Libertango, the emphases somewhat altered, again arranged by Mosalini.


Sarah Urwin Jones