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New 5 star review from Fanfare

December 5, 2022

Peter Burwasser

PIAZZOLLA • Adiós Nonino. Vibraphonissimo. Café 1930. Tristango. Aconcagua. Fuga y Misterio. Coral. Allegro Tangabile. Contramilonga a la Funerala. Novitango. Despertar • Bjarke Mogensen (acc); Johan Bridger (vib); Mathias Heise (harmonica); The Danish Chamber Players • OUR 8 226916 (66:07)

This is a loving tribute to Argentinian tango master Astor Piazzolla by the Danish accordion player Bjarke Mogensen. As the soloist puts it in his introduction to the project, “the music is all Astor but with a touch of Bjarke here and there and maybe everywhere.” The music here covers a wide swath of Piazzolla’s career, from the opening work, Adiós Nonino (Farewell, Grandaddy), written in 1959 as a memorial tribute to his father, to Despertar, one of his last compositions, which he wrote for the Kronos Quartet in 1989. In between, there is music inspired by Classical forms, works written for such well known artists as vibraphonist Gary Burton (including the delightful Vibraphonissimo), and the transition, in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, from traditional tango to the more widely accessible nuevo tango (which emphasizes the form as concert music rather than simply dance music). It is Mogensen’s choice of musical colleagues that really makes this CD stand out from the plethora of Piazzolla tributes. The program begins and ends with lovely, if bittersweet accordion solos, but elsewhere there is a variety of ensemble arrangements. The combination of accordion and harmonica in Café 1930 is particularly beguiling. Most of the music is scored for accordion solo and some sort of chamber music ensemble, as provided by the excellent Danish Chamber Players. Mogensen and these fine artists produce a silky, sensuous tonality in much of the material, as well as a raucous joy when called for. For those who can’t get enough of tango music in general and Piazzolla in particular, this beautifully produced CD is self-recommending. But it also makes for a terrific introduction for those new to the great national musical treasure of Argentina. Peter Burwasser

5 Stars: Beautifully played tango music from the master composer of the form.

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