PIAZZOLLA and Beyond = PIAZZOLLA: Libertango; Angel Suite; Decarisimo; Soledad; Michelangelo; Invierno Porteno; DAVID GORDON: Augmented Tango; (with SUMMERHAYES:) Milonga Bourgeois; ADAM SUMMERHAYES: When Churchyards Yawn; El Desposeido – London Concertante – Harmonia mundi HMU 907491, 51:03 *****:
There are a lot of transcriptions and arrangements of Piazzolla’s New Tango creations out there today, and they’re nearly all great fun, but this one goes further in including Piazzolla’s synthesis of various musical approaches combined with tango as part of new compositions creating another synthesis. Summerhayes, who is the lead violinist of the mostly string ensemble the London Concertante, comes from a musical inheritance of Eastern European and Celtic music. He was playing violin in a gypsy tango band in Switzerland when he first was blown over by Piazzolla’s music. He has “reforged his own musical impulses over the intense flame” of Piazzolla’s New Tango style.
Composer-jazz pianist David Gordon is the pianist on three of the selections of the album, and follows a similar tack in his contributions. He says that the very different-ness of himself and Summerhayes is an advantage. Their own histories with tango and South American music is different from Piazzolla’s. Their works have no bandoneon and instead rely on a string orchestra, which Piazzolla didn’t use. The four original pieces come from a very European perspective and are nothing like Piazzolla would ever have written, but they pay homage to the tango master. For example, the rhythmic pulse of When Churchyards Yawn is a Piazzolla milonga lenta. The results are compelling and a fine celebration of multiculturalness in music, which seems to happening at an accelerated pace lately. Sonics are good, but I would have enjoyed this even more in surround SACD form.
– John Sunier