Tango Concertante, Vol. 1 - ardeTrio
Ars Produktion ARS 38 247
Classical - Crossover
Tango's by Massa & Piazzolla
Omar Massa, bandoneon
Markus Däunert, violin
Danusha Waskiewicz, viola
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- Omar Massa: 3 Tango Etudes
- Omar Massa: Caminos y Desvios
- Omar Massa: Negro Liso
- Omar Massa: Tango Legacy
- Omar Massa: Tango Lullaby
- Omar Massa: The Light from Andalusia
- Astor Piazzolla: Ave Maria
- Astor Piazzolla: Bordel 1900
- Astor Piazzolla: Bruno y Sarah
- Astor Piazzolla: Cafe 1930
- Astor Piazzolla: Calambre
- Astor Piazzolla: Libertango
- Astor Piazzolla: Nightclub 1960
- Astor Piazzolla: Oblivion
Review by Adrian Quanjer - March 7, 2021
Lately, ARS Produktion has produced a series of remarkable SACD’s all meriting high scores, of which this one is a good example. To put it succinctly: You won’t find any better than this. But don’t take my word for it. Read on and decide for yourself. I’m confident you will somehow get positively entangled in this Argentinian sourced world of musical culture. An unusual triptych.
The left panel: The composers.
The purpose of this release, so we read in the liner notes, is to mark Astor Piazzolla’s centennial in 2021. But it also introduces who is said to be his spiritual successor, Omar Massa. Both serve to present an anthology of Tango through the Ages. In origin “The tango was frequently practiced in the brothels and bars of ports, where business owners employed bands to entertain their patrons with music” (quote is taken from elsewhere). Spreading over the rest of the world it was seen as a sexual rather than a musical expression. When Piazzola introduced his Tango Nuevo things changed and dance turned into sophisticated music. Omar Massa, representing today's and tomorrow’s continuing development, has taken the Tango Nuevo to a prestigious ‘Tango Concertante’ level, without losing its original character. It is all explained in Markus Däunert’s finely tuned notes.
The right panel: The musicians.
To present the tango at a prestigious level it is clear that only the best will do. And so are the musicians of the ardeTrio. Omar Massa, playing the Bandoneon - the only person that has ever been allowed by the family to play on Piazzolla’s Bandoneon - is the Argentinian heart of the Trio and responsible for all arrangements for this novelty combination. Markus Däunert, who once held the post of assistant concertmaster of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, plays the violin. Danusha Waskiewicz, with her credentials as Principal viola player in the Berlin Philharmonic and Abbado's Mozart Orchestra, completes the Trio. Needless to say, that I was impressed by not only the first-rate technical but also the intrinsic quality of musicianship by each of the members of the ardeTrio.
The centre panel: The audience.
A positive review is one thing, but what does this kind of music mean for an audience used to triple B (Bach, Beethoven, Brahms)? Argentinians will surely understand the ethereal force of the tango, but what does it say or evoke in my part of the world? I’ve put it to the test. Inviting the under the current covid-19 rules maximum permitted number of guests for a listening session. Instead of putting them on six chairs facing the front speakers, looking at the wall paint behind them, I sat them down in a half-circle of comfortable chairs around an open fire with apple and oak logs slowly burning. No electric lights. Just candles.
The roomy surround, preferred by a large number of ARS customers, turned out to be a particular boon: The sound mingled with the guests enhancing positive entanglement, one might say. With two bottles of Argentinian Malbec red within handy reach, I started the music. I know, it sounds a bit flippant. But is it really? Never underestimating the spiritual and emotional power of music, something extraordinary happened.
Spirited by the sometimes playful, sometimes emotional, and not least by Massa's clever arrangements and intriguingly modern ‘translation’ of the Tango Nuevo, a warm kind of intimacy and confidentiality developed among the guests. Such is the power of Piazzolla’s ‘Oblivion’ and Massa's ‘Tango Lulleby’ played with so much passion by the ardeTrio. But also sharing the pure joy, ignited by a superb display of virtuosity in ‘Libertango’, which concludes this formidable recital.
Looking at the triptych from a distance one cannot but admire the beauty and its cultural impact; for many maybe unexpectedly so. At the end of the day, I was wondering how to classify the Tango Concertante. But does it really matter? Do things have to be put in a predefined slot to be able to enjoy it accordingly? Or can we just take it at face value, appreciating what it does to receptive audiences? I do, and I hope you do, too.
Blangy-le-Château, Normandy, France.
Copyright © 2021 Adrian Quanjer and HRAudio.net