MANU COMTE & Others: “Homilia” – Works by PIAZZOLLA, JEREZ LE CAM, GUBITSCH, GISMONTI & COMTE – Avanti

Striking works for bandoneon, string quintet and guitar.

MANU COMTE & Others: “Homilia” – Works by PIAZZOLLA, JEREZ LE CAM, GUBITSCH, GISMONTI & COMTE (TrackList Follows] – Avanti multichannel SACD 5414 706 1046-2 [Distr. by Naxos] (10/14/16) *****:

(Manu Comté – bandoneon; B’ Strings Quintet; Tomas Gubitsch – guitar)

Bandoneon master Manu Comté is internationally acclaimed and performs with the Soledad Ensemble. This SACD is the first time he has recorded under his own name, and in addition to the terrific B’ Strings Quintet he has added Piazzolla’s last guitarist, Tomas Gubitsch, who also contributes two of the eight selections here.

This combination of instruments is truly superb in expressing the exquisite and easily understood music which Taylor intended. The emotional level often gets as high or higher than some of the Piazzolla works. Gubitsche says that the combination of these strings and the bandoneon have immense musical qualities. He also says that the more ethereal sounds of  the string quintet seem to him strangely reminiscent of the bandoneon. The construction materials – resonators, metal and wood – are similar.

The Piazzolla concerto is lovely and it and all the works are given a separate paragarph of description in the note booklet. Los Pibes evokes the atmosphere of a place on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, with its vacant lots, stray dogs and narrow alleys.

Listening on headphones sets this set of works apart from and ahead of the usual chamber music, and the surround is also very good.

—John Sunier

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