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TANGO ROMANCE Reviews


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CD: Tango Romance - by Fernando Gonzalez

In 1978, the late Astor Piazzolla tapped Pablo Ziegler to join his New Tango Quintet. In those days, Ziegler was not a tanguero (as tango fans and players are called) but rather a classically trained pianist, composer, and arranger--and a jazz player to boot. By the time the quintet dissolved, a decade later, it had grown to be an exceptional ensemble, a sort of streetwise chamber group, and Ziegler had helped stretch the vocabulary of tango with his jazz style improvisations. It also made Ziegler a leading figure in new tango. Tango Romance, Ziegler's collaboration with New York-based Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, includes arrangements of five Piazzolla pieces, four Ziegler originals, and two classic tangos. The arrangements (mostly by Ziegler) are elegant, lush, and for the most part, effective. But filling out the details in the music becomes at times problematic. Ziegler has always been a romantic--part of what made him essential in balancing Piazzolla's tartness. Now unchecked, he favors rich, sweet textures and borders on sentimentality almost to a point of diminishing returns. At his best, he knows how to dress new tango in tails while holding on to its street smarts. It's a delicate balance that only someone who has lived this music as Ziegler has can begin to attempt.

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CD: Tango Romance - by Kurt Harding

I'm a sucker for checking out any CD containing some of the works of Astor Piazzolla, and since I am familiar with Pablo Ziegler, I figured this album is a sure bet. Well, it is just that. Despite some weakness on the part of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra in its performance of the Piazzolla classics Soledad and Tangata, they do a yeoman's job on the rest of it. Soledad is probably the most somber and majestic song in the Piazzolla catalog and Ziegler is a master interpreter of it but somehow the Orchestra couldn't grasp its proper expression. They fare somewhat better with a moving interpretation of Oblivion. Their best work on the album is done with the Cobian/Cadicamo classic Nostalgias and with the Ziegler composition Milonga en el Viento. Those alone make this album worth owning. On balance, Tango Romance is a fine album that offers the tanguero music to dream by.

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