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Direccion Sur

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Album Review

Playing tango music on the classical guitar is not a new idea. The instrument's combination of percussive quality, melodic subtlety, and meditative melancholy suits it well to Astor Piazzolla's music. On this release by Uruguayan-German guitarist José Fernández Bardesio there is a good selection of Piazzolla pieces ranging from the extremely familiar (Oblivion, Verano porteño) to the fairly rare (Tanti anni prima, originally for oboe and piano), and three other arrangers besides Bardesio himself are represented. Bardesio's Piazzolla readings tend toward the "classical" end of the spectrum; he doesn't thrash away at the tango rhythms, and he brings out a great many of the dissonances in Piazzolla's writing that are lost when performers follow Piazzolla's own instruction to add more "mud" to the music. There is very little mud here, but there are some fresh insights. Perhaps the biggest news here is the set of pieces by Bardesio himself, which are slated for publication in Germany. There is a group of Tres Piezas Uruguayas, one of them designated with the very slippery term "milonga," and another ("Candombeado," track 11) exploring African-influenced idioms that are rare in music from Argentina; the Estudio Candombeado, track 13, expands on the same ideas. The international success of Piazzolla's music has spawned a certain amount of new composition picking up where he left off, but rarely has it been underpinned with the rigor that Piazzolla himself brought to the tango and that Bardesio deploys here; his pieces are harmonically complex and undertake a variety of rhythmic developments based on popular forms. Ginastera's Danza de la moza donosa provides a spirited finale. The Profil label's absolutely clear studio sound is nothing short of an example that ought to be followed by anyone else recording a solo guitarist, and guitarists and guitar lovers of all stripes will find something new here. ~James Manheim, Rovi

Direccion Sur, Jose Fernandez Bardesio
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