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Title: La Cumparsita
Artist: Friedrich Lips & his PIAZZOLLA-Studio,
Friedrich Lips (Bayan), Vladislav Igolinsky (Violin), Svjatoslav Lips (Piano),
Kirill Rodin (Violoncello), Vladimir Tonkha (Violoncello), Mark Pekarsky (Percussion)
Supplied by: Artist
Review date: 26 November 2008

La Cumparsita

Most, if not all, of the individual pieces on this newly issued CD have been recorded, primarily in 1997 in Japan by Tango Piazzollata, and released at an earlier time in different collections. If you have missed them or want them in this particular collection, this is absolutely one of the best CDs you could possibly add to your favorites.

What can one say about the playing of this group beyond what has already been said many times? It is a superlative effort by professional musicians who are each great artists on their own. When they are united one cannot believe the artistry shown throughout each and every piece. These are tangos and yet they are performed with the most exciting and breathtaking musicianship which one normally might only expect in the classical repertoire. You must listen and you will admire!

It has been said that Piazzolla's music is endlessly passionate - full of yearning - and at the same time tremendously contemporary. Piazzolla was both the composer and the performer and, in addition, he experimented with his music. Perhaps because of this, and also because of his ingenuity, focus and hard work, his music has many levels of expression and a tremendous depth. These many qualities are in evidence throughout this recording by Friedrich Lips & the members of his Piazzolla-Studio.

There are ten pieces devoted to the music of Astor Piazzolla and these, along with four pieces by four other composers, no less well-known, comprise the repertoire on this CD.
The Tango was written in 1940 as the very first piece Stravinsky wrote after moving to Los Angeles. Benny Goodman's band performed an arrangement of it in 1941 and Stravinsky made his own jazz band arrangement of it in 1953.

As one of the most successful Russian composers of his generation, the name of Leonid Desyatnikov appears twice, as arranger of both My Happiness by Rosenfeld and El sol sueño, a splendid piece by Peterburgsky.

The CD concludes with the very popular La Cumparsita (The Little Parade) by Gerardo Matos Rodriguez in 1917; it was designated the cultural and popular anthem of Uruguay by law in 1997.

The musicians of Friedrich Lips & his Piazzolla-Studio are solo artists of the very highest order. The technical proficiency in every piece is impeccable! Their dynamics are far-reaching; each instrument is heard regardless of the wealth of musical sound produced. Great attention has been given to the recorded sounds, resulting in the extremely fine acoustics for each piece; it is easy to feel one is experiencing a live performance by the group.

Each selection is a gem for serious students of music, too, more especially for accordionists because of the presence of Friedrich Lips; but the other performers offer equally positive opportunities for their devotees. The clarity and precision shown in every piece is exemplary; the control of dynamics, for example, makes the listeners almost hold their breath just waiting for a release from the building tension. The phrasing can express the most passionate of feelings - the momentary briefness of a caesura or the brevity of a particular breath held in anticipation of what is to follow, an ever so slight ritenuto, the exactness of tempo, the special attention given to articulation of the various staccato, marcato, or tenuto notes, and the gradation of accents and staccatos, for example - all these musical details provide evidence of the presence of experience and brilliance among the members of the group.

The Fugata and Escualo performances are some of the most exciting ever heard in any of the numerous Piazzolla collections. Baritone saxophonists will be anxious to hear and compare the performance of 20 Years After (20 años despues) with that of Astor Piazzolla and the Gerry Mulligan Group 1974 recording.

Listen to the style of each note and the importance placed by Lips in the opening of the Stravinsky! And the bellows work in Bandoneón could be cause for many accordionists to study this piece. The strong but controlled accents, the exciting string effects, the precision of the piano pedal - these all contribute to the exceedingly fine musical qualities of this CD. This recording by Friedrich Lips & his Piazzolla-Studio will provide some of your most enjoyable musical moments. It is my suggestion you add it to your library.
Reviewed by Joan Cochran Sommers, November 26, 2008.

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