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Friday, June 7, 2019

Tangos for Yvar, Hanna Shybayeva, 18 Tangos 1927-2004

Some albums excel for embracing and executing a great idea well. Today's example gives us this with Tangos for Yvar (Grand Piano 794), pianist Hanna Shybayeva's idiomatic and inspired reading of some 18 Tangos for solo piano, all composed in Modern times, most on commission by pianist Yvar Mikhashoff between 1983-1993.

The thread very much is of course the Tango, as a rhythmic tendency corresponding to the dance form, as a melodic-harmonic sensing of pacing and recurrence, as a periodic set of flowing form, all the things one can identify as defining a piece of music as a "Tango."

In the 18 examples that appear on the program in each case there is a particular intersection between the Modern or Post-Modern new music language and that of the Tango. Sometimes the New Music of edgy non-periodic melody and harmony prevails, or a hypnotic Minimal repetition, sometimes the Tango is in every way a Tango proper yet it goes about it in ways that are contemporary. Across this spectrum of possibilities we experience a wealth of inventive realizations that continually fascinate and surprise.

Some are chosen outside of the Yvar series to stretch the temporary and stylistic realms. So we have a nice one by Stefan Wolpe from 1927 on one end, and something by Piazzolla from 1973 since completeness demands he be included. Most the rest are from the remarkable commission series. In all we get short and characteristic works from the likes of Biscardi, Pender, Nichifor, Rzewski, Fennelly, Aharonian, Schimmel, Nyman, Hill, Mumford, Johnson, Finch, Babbitt, Berkman, Vigeland and Nobre.

It might not be something you'd imagine if you did not already know but it is fully as good or a good deal  better than you'd have any right to expect. Charming. Wonderful. Imaginative. The ideal meeting of the Modern and the rooted. I strongly recommend this one if you seek adventure and, why not, a little fun?

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