SENSACIONES Homenaje a Astor Piazzolla by Neofusión-Tango

CD Cover: SENSACIONES Homenaje a Astor Piazzolla by Neofusión-TangoA homage to Argentine composer Astor Piazzolla who died in 1992. Spanish Import which is only available in the Uk from Creighton's Collection. A fantastic recording, beautifully presented, most of the notes are in Spanish but those refering to the music have been translated into English.

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Audio Samples

Track Listings

01-03 Le Grand Tango A. Piazzolla 12.06
04 Tango (acordeón) I. Albéniz 2.48
05 Tango (acordeón) L. de Pablo 2.57
06 Tango (violoncello) M. Ortega i Pujol 3.38
07 Tango Concierto (violoncello) *** D. Johnstone 8.27
08 Impresionista-tango (acordeón y violoncello) J. Bragato 5.40
Five tango sensations (acordeón y cuarteto de cuerda) - A. Piazzolla
09 Asleep 6.29
10 Loving   6.00
11 Anxiety   4.50
12 Despertar   7.19
13 Fear   3.52
*** = Score available from Creighton's Collection

CD Notes & Credits

Sleeve Notes

This present work arises out of an individual homage to the remembrance of the tenth anniversary of the death of Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992). Therefore it is normal that this disc should revolve around the Tango, the all-important genre of the Argentine composer. Two works of Piazzolla, one of them “Le Grand Tango” (1982) a fundamental piece of his repertoire, and another less well-known “Five Tango Sensations” (1989) are accompanied by compositions of Albéniz, Bragato, Luis de Pablo, Miquel Ortega i Pujol, and the offering of the cellist David Johnstone. Except for the two last mentioned works, the performances change the bandoneon or piano for the accordion, reflecting something very essential in the style of Piazzolla - that of musical adaption. So we propose experiences in a journey of musical sensations around a form so individual as is the tango.

As it is generally known, with this term one describes an urban popular music of the river Plate region (Argentina and Uruguay) which was in the beginning essentially a dance, and later gained ground as a song and as a pure instrumental musical experience. Right from the beginning the tango was heard in small groups which included the violin, piano an bandoneon, a type of concertina which arrived from Germany in the 1890’s. Like all good music of popular roots, the charms of the tango were not able to pass unnoticed by the more “academics”, and in this sense what happened with the tango was more-or-less what happened in the world of jazz in the United States or with the bossa nova of Brasil. From this point of view, the central figure for Argentinian music is Astor Piazzolla, like Heitor Villalobos was for Brasil or Gershwin was for North America.

The arrival of Piazzolla to the Argentine musical panorama towards the end of the 1950’s was decisive. He abandoned the typical orchestra and established the combination of bandoneon soloist with strings. Between 1955 and 1958 he organized the Buenos Aires Octet, which in those moments seemed to represent the rupture with the traditional tango. Contrapuntal textures, advanced harmonies and aggressive free melodies, and the modification of the harmonic base were crucial elements in transforming the traditional works into a way totally unknown in this point in time. The idea that he could ‘do a different tango’, totally instrumental far from the sang versions and dance music began to install itself in Argentinian music. There were two consequences: an one hand, Piazzolla became a notable influence on just about all the composers that developed tango-writing; and an the other, his development seen by the traditional tango consumers became a continual object of discussion about his authenticity in this field,

From a musical point of view his influence can be summed up as follows: the bandoneon as soloist, the compositions divide themselves into two chief sections - one of accented rhythmic character, broken lines, frequent ostinatos, with the use of counterpoint - and the other of moderate time, cantabile lines, which never-the-less orientate the tango towards a dance-like piece. At the same time he used new timbric combinations including effects and sounds not at all conventional, incorporating electronic instruments, and he even experimented with the electronic amplification of the bandoneon. So with traditional elements, and the influence of his academic classical training, jazz feel and timbric investigation, Piazzolla was able to create his own world centring around the tango.

After his death his work began to have influences on some of the best musicians in the world and in different worlds, with figures like the violinist Gidon Kremer, the cellist Yo-Yo Ma, the Kronos Quartet, not to mention numerous symphony and chamber orchestras that came to the music of Piazzolla because his sound attracts them - his own language but also the fascinating mix between the popular feel and the academic control which is only within the hands of the greatest composers.

Le Grand Tango, for Cello and piano, was written in 1982 and dedicated to Mstislav Rostropovich. The present version in transcribing the part of piano to accordion is the work of Javier López Jaso. It is structured in one big movement, however the work is conceived with clear tempo changes which are related to the more rhythmical parts or the more “ cantabile”. This is the way of his basic planning in the tangos: a binary form, with the allegro parts in incisive rhythms and displaced metre, which contrast with others of more moderate tempo and more melodic lines. The work also reflects the classical training of the Argentine composer from the hand of Nadia Boulanger in Paris: extension of tonality but starting out from a diatonic concept, affinity with melody, all of this embedded with musical turns and original harmony from a South American tradition in the line of Barrios, Lauro, etc. At the same time the work shows special interest in searching for specific colours in the use of harmonics, glissandi, and effects which create on occasions a most special atmosphere.

“Five Tango Sensations” is a work far less known in concert activity. Recorded in 1989 with the Kronos Quartet and Piazzolla himself at the bandoneon, it is a magnificent example of how the Argentine composer adapted the tango to chamber-music formations in a conventional or classical surrounding. The fine movements are linked together by the way that the repetitive ideas are based on the intervals of the fourth and fifth. The second movement is distinguished for its clear influence from the world of jazz: rhapsodic form, new harmonies, and improvisations on the part of the performer. On the other side, Piazzolla achieves in the fugue of the fifth movement a masterly way of combining the classical language and elements of counterpoint “a la Bach” with the popular taste of the tango.

José Luis Bragato, born in Italy (12th October 1915), has a reputation as one of the most prestigious cellists of the tango, invited by virtually all of the greatest leaders of the typical orchestras and formations. He worked in most of the ensembles led by Piazzolla. which shows in his composition of vanguard tangos in the line of Piazzolla as is the case with “Impressionista”, originally for cello and piano, and again adapted on this occasion for accordion and cello,

The “tango” of Isaac Albéniz (1860-1909) was originally originally for piano and here presented on accordion; it is the second piece of his work “España”, Its popularity shows in being one of the piano pieces of which most transcriptions have been made, as is the case here. The inspired theme and light playfulness are the ideas of a piece which reflected nationalist tendencies by including a type of tango written akin to the habanera, which makes us remember the words of Manuel do Falla when he said that the habanera is really the tango”.

Tango (1992) for piano of Luis de Pablo (b. 1930) is the third piece from the suite “Retratos y transcripciones”. The work was born out the suggestions of Vvar Mikhashoff and was the origin of the piece with the same title in “J.H. for Clarinet and Cello”, and was later adapted for accordion. The composition of do Pablo is noted for the rhythmic treatment, leaving to one side the more amiable aspect of the genre, that is to say the melody. The cutting rhythms, the changes of accented metre, and the harmony outside “ tonality” makes this piece a real transfiguration of the tango, leaving aside the formula of Piazzolla where the popular and academic come together in a very particular way.

Something of this kind also happens with the Tango for Cello composed in 1998 by Miquel Ortega i Pujol, by commission from David Johnstone; and the Tango Concierto written by Johnstone himself in 2001, a work of great technical demands displaying contrasting registers, multiple chords, pizzicatos, spiccatos etc.

Marcos Andrés Vierge

Album Information

Instruments: Accordion and Cello
Genre: Contemporary
Format: Audio CD
Our Ref: A0031 (Johnstone Music Cat. No. JM02CD)
Label: Zeta
Year: 2002
Origin: Spain

Artist Information & Contact Details


Image from CD case of Neofusion-TangoNeofusion started in the year 2000 as a result of the interest of Javier López Jaso and David Johnstone in the promotion of new music and of music in other fields during the past hundred years or so. They met as members of the Vasco-Navarre Composers Association, and as a result their principal objective is the involvement in the creation of new works which involve a close relationship between composer and performer.

This is an original concept always based around the accordion and cello which was until recently not considered by composers. The two artists have a well-proven experience on the concert platform who are working as soloists bringing the repertoire of their own instruments to the public. Their high level of musicianship shows itself in original compositions and transcriptions by both artists.

At the same time the base is versatile because in certain projects and according to the music performed they invite the collaboration of distinguished soloists, especially worthy being the Neofusion-Tango Project organized with a string quartet and accordion. In only two years of existence they have given concerts in music festivals, town halls and music series, including the Cartagena International Mediterranean Music Festival, the Government of Navarre (Artinex Festival and Cultur Festival) and concerts for the banking foundations Ibercaja and Vital Kutxa and many concerts in towns across Spain.

Neofusion recently have completed ambitious musical projects such as a tour of Morocco organized by the Cervantes Institute, the launch of ‘Sensaciones’ (a C-D homage to Astor Piazzolla) and important premieres in the Musikaste series Eresbil-Ereziak (Renteria, Basque Country, Spain). For 2003-04 they have Spanish concerts in Zaragoza, Huesca, Logroño, Barañain, San Sebastian, Alicante etc, and tours to Great Britain, France and Italy.

There are also new premieres to be undertaken of works for the cello-accordion duo and for string quartet with accordion.

Francisco Javier López Jaso - accordion
David Johnstone - violoncello
Raffaela Acella - violin
Angelo Vieni - violin
Fernando López Garcin - viola

Contact Details David Johnstone
PO Box 7003
31080 Pamplona
Telephone & Fax 0034 - 948 - 351869
Booking Please contact David Johnstone (details above)
Web site

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