Piazzolla: Campero; Romántico; Primavera porteña; Acentuado; Tristón; Compadre; Milonga del angel

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COMPOSERS: Piazzolla
LABELS: Channel Crossings
WORKS: Campero; Romántico; Primavera porteña; Acentuado; Tristón; Compadre; Milonga del angel
PERFORMER: Baltazar Benítez (guitar)
CATALOGUE NO: CCS 13798
Seldom has a musician been more specialised than Astor Piazzolla, the Argentinian composer whose entire output (or near enough) was devoted to the development of the tango. Anyone hoping to find seductive elaborations of the standard ballroom dance of yore, however, had better look elsewhere for gratification. Piazzolla was no easy-listening, ‘popular’ tunesmith, writing for superior juke boxes, but a thoroughly serious composer whose teachers included both Alberto Ginastera and Nadia Boulanger, and whose champions include the likes of Gidon Kremer and Daniel Barenboim. In fact, tunes as such weren’t his strong point. Rhythm, of course, was. His music is almost defined by its sometimes complex rhythmical structures, and Benítez brings them expertly and lovingly to life (he knew and worked closely with the composer, and enjoyed his unstinting approval). The playing is spirited and stylish throughout, though I could do with less density of texture, as I could also do with a greater diversity of tone colour. But since the performer has the stamp of the composer’s own enthusiasm, I voice these reservations with some diffidence. Jeremy Siepmann

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