Tanguero: Guitar works by Piazzólla, Villoldo, Gardel, Lauro, et al

Christoph Denoth (Signum Classics)

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Tanguero Guitar works by Piazzólla, Villoldo, Gardel, Lauro, et al
Christoph Denoth (guitar)
Signum Classics SIGCD538 69.31 mins

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A dazzling convergence of passion and control, the tango was forged in the 19th century amid the port towns strewn along Argentina’s Río de la Plata dividing Argentina and Uruguay. While tango music is now synonymous with the ‘orquesta típica’ of strings, bandoneon (accordion), piano and double bass, tango music was originally played on solo guitar. In this fascinating collection, Christoph Denoth duly returns us to the tango’s soloistic origins, exploring a wealth of South American works for solo guitar that draw on the bristling energy and emotion of the form.

Ástor Piazzólla, the trailblazer who transported the spirit of the tango from the café to the concert hall, naturally features strongly and Denoth brings lyricism and fire to his performances of this master of the tango, from the restless urgency of the famous Libertango to the delicate melancholy of Adiós Nonino, written shortly after the death of the composer’s father and performed here with affecting immediacy and control. The album also showcases the tango’s wider influence across the continent, from Brazilian composer João Teixeira Guimarães’s playful Sons de Carrilhões to Antonio Lauro’s exquisite Valse Venezelano (Nos 2 and 3). Other highlights include a nifty arrangement of Sueño de barrilete, a much-loved song by Argentinian singer and composer Eladia Blázquez, and a wonderfully mischievous performance of Roland Dyens’s affectionate caricature Tango en Skaï. Piazzólla once stated ‘For me, tango was always for the ear rather than the feet.’ This excellent album is firm confirmation of the power of this arresting form.

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Kate Wakeling