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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Jason Vieaux Plays Piazzolla

Guitarist Jason Vieaux, bandoneanist Julien Labro and the chamber orchestra A Far Cry make beautiful music together on their recent recording of the music of Piazzolla (Azica 71270). It's a nice program of three works for varying lineups. Las 4 estaciones portenas (The 4 Seasons of Buenos Aires) (arranged by Labro for guitar, accordion and chamber orchestra) brings the full force into play for an elegant dip into Piazzolla's inimitable brightly colored tango palatte. The bandoneon gets the lion's share of the melodic pie until the fourth movement, when Jason Vieaux also holds forth overtly, but the whole work is a delight and the orchestral parts have genuine dash.

The Concerto for Guitar and Bandoneon, "Hommage a Liege" begins with some worthy guitar parts, played elgantly by Mr. Vieaux. Bandoneon and orchestra join guitar in the charming second movement, where the guitar work again shines brightly. Piazzolla's melodic fluidity is at a very high point, as it is throughout. The final movement launches a very fetching tango that allows the orchestra to hold forth along with the soloists.

The final Histoire du Tango (History of the Tango) (arr. for accordion and guitar) has some suitably jaunty passagework for both the principal soloists. It's an interesting suite that brings out some very translucent playing from Vieaux and characteristic accordion melodising, not without virtuoso brilliance from both players.

I cannot imagine anyone interested in Piazzolla not reveling in this one. The guitar work is brilliantly sonic, the bandoneon shines, and the orchestra glows in some typically infectious music from the master of "new tango." Guitar-lovers will find Vieaux at the peak of his considerable expressive powers. This is some great feather-light music that will no doubt cheer you up, so do not expect anything ponderously heavy. Unless you are determined to feel morose or you hate the tango, do not hesitate! Enjoy.

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