Tangos for Piano – Amy Briggs, piano [TrackList below] Raviello RR7808 [Distr. by Naxos] *****:
I think this theme has been done before, but this album is packed with more and more unusual selections, 22 tracks in all, and the many varieties and possibilities of the tango form are beautifully captured by Amy Briggs – a specialist in contemporary music, having previously recorded albums of works of Nancarrow, Feldman and Varese as well as David Rakowski.
Each composer here comes from a different background and uses the tango as a form on which to hang his own particular style. There are short pieces by Nancarrow, Rzewski, Lous Harrison, Piazzolla and the pianist herself, and things are kicked off by Igor Stravinsky’s well-known Tango. Some are so atonal and avant that it is only the subtle tango rhythm that qualifies them for inclusion here, while others use some clever note-spinning to create a sort of skeletonized Argentine tango feeling.
TrackList: 1 Tango Stravinsky 3:36 2 Requests Smooke 2:53 3 Tango Variations on a Cantus Shapey 3:19 4 Zipper Tango (Tango étude ongrace notes) Rakowski 3:21 5 Tango? Nancarrow 2:55 6 Tango à deux Vigeland 3:15 7 Teeny Tango Garrop 1:31 8 Tango Beep Beep Wiemann 3:04 9 Steptangle Rzewski 3:11 10 Tango Clandestino Eckardt 4:18 11 Tandy’s Tango Harrison 3:04 12 Tagrango (Being a Brief Identity Crisis for Piano Solo) Biggs 1:43 13 Astoria Williams 3:32 14 Tangled in Smoke Chang 3:05 15 Esperanza (Hermit Crab Tango) Norgard 3:03 16 Mango Bauer 2:54 17 Piglia Ortiz 3:38 18 Fantango Tiensuu 5:32 19 Tango-Variations Mumford 2:53 20 Tango Si Mumford 1:34 21 Tangozilla SanMartin 2:37 22 Escualo
— John Sunier