“Basso Bailando” – PIAZZOLLA: The Four Seasons in Buenos Aires; ROTA: Divertimento Concertanto for double bass & orch.; FALLA: Seite Canciones Populares Espanolas – Rick Stotijn, doublebass/ Malin Broman, v./ Lavinia Meijer, harp/ Swedish Radio Sym. Orch. – Channel Classics multichannel SACD CCS SA 33613, 66:11 [Distr. by Harmonia mundi] (1/14/14) ****:
“Oblivion” – SCHOENFIELD: Café Music; PIAZZOLLA: The Four Seasons in Buenos Aires; Oblivion; La Muerte del Angel; Libertango; TURINA: Circulo; ALBENIZ: Tango – Gelius Trio (violin/cello/piano) – Thorofon CTH2610, 63:40 [Distr. by Naxos] (2/25/14) ****:
These two discs demonstrate definitely that you don’t need the basic tango quintet with bandoneon in order to transmit the wonderful emotional message of tango music. They both feature only strings, and in the second some piano.
Rick Stotijn is a renowned Dutch doublebass virtuoso who was principal double bass player with the Amsterdam Sinfonietta for a decade. The Piazzolla and Falla works here were arranged for the Swedish Radio Symphony by Marijn van Prooijen. while Mats Rondin did the Nina Rota work.
Piazzolla’s Four Seasons had been done in many different versions; this one is for doublebass, violin and strings. The Rota Seite Canciones is just one of the over 150 different concert works he created in addition to his famous film scores for Fellini. It’s really a concerto but Rota called it a Divertimento, indicating a lighter sort of piece.
The Falla Spanish folk songs without words are part of the composer’s strong interest in the musical past of Spain. Echoes of Andalusian flamenco are heard in this work, and most of Falla’s compositions. The seven songs are based on authentic Spanish folk songs, adapted for double bass and harp plus strings. The hi-res surround is perfect for the material.
The second disc is not unfortunately an SACD, but again presents some tangos plus some other Spanish music in just the format of the usual string trio. However, the sonics are excellent. Paul Schoenfield’s Café Music is a classic in three movements and the Gelius Trio are smart to start off their CD with this delightful selection. After the four movements of Piazzolla’s Four Seasons in Buenos Aires, three of the other best-known tangos by Piazzolla are featured. Oblivion may be the Argentine composer/performer’s best tune, and is the title of the CD.
Turina spent time in Paris, and was greatly influenced by the music of Debussy and Ravel in his three-movement Circulo. It was originally written as a piano trio, just before the start of the Spanish Civil War. In it he describes the passing of a single day. The penultimate work on the disc is Albeniz’s Tango, part of his piano suite titled Espana. and probably his best-known work. Both albums do a great job of crossing over the borders between classical and popular music.