Saturday, August 15, 2009

Adios Nonino on a Stradivarius??

Yes, two question marks apply to today's featured performance by Adrian Justus, Genya Podolich, and Edmond Gilmor who form the Trio Libertango. The first question mark applies to the title, Adios Nonino. The arrangement this talented trio plays is highly original. Since Justus is also a composer and student of composition, I am willing to speculate that it is his arrangement. It is good listening and at one point where the bass and piano introduce a strong, repetitive figure - it is wonderful listing. But is it Adios Nonino? Jazz musicians get a wide range of forgiveness for their meanderings from central themes but most keep classical musicians on a tighter leash. Leonid Desyatnikov, arranger of much of Gidon Kremer's Piazzolla catalog, has pushed the boundaries. His insertions of Vivaldi gestures into Piazzolla's "Seasons" are quietly being becoming the orchestral standard, displacing José Bragato's presumeably Piazzolla-approved orchestral arrangements. Other than those additions though, Desyatnikov, is true to the intention of the original Piazzolla scores. On the other hand, Justus adds much to the original Adios Nonino and only occasionally dips into real Piazzolla for harmonic, rhythmic and melodic guidance. For my money, this is not Adios Nonino; this is Fantasia on a Theme by Astor Piazzolla.

The second question mark applies to the Stradivarius. Justus's bio indicates he plays the "Marlborough Stradivarius (1718) which is loaned to him by the Juvi Cultural Foundation." Is it, in fact, that Strad which is used in this video? The Marlborough Stradivarius cello, once owned by the Duke of Marlborough, is a well known instrument. Justus's possibly related violin is apparently not well known enough to spark a mention on the web other than that in Justus's bio nor did I find any further mention on the web of the Juvi Cultural Foundation. My curiosity is piqued. Hopefully a reader will enlighten me.

Question marks aside, I enjoyed this performance. All three members of the trio perform well and the Fantasia is a piece of music worth repetition by other musicians. I would suggest only one change - please end the piece on that penultimate sublime high note on the violin (is that the "Paganini c", four octaves above middle c?) and take away the glissando back down the scale and the thumps on the bass at the end.

If the video does not appear below, click here.

To learn more about Piazzolla videos, visit the Piazzolla Video site.

1 comment:

  1. my name is vadi podolich, the son of genia - the pianist above, Adrian is playing a Stradivarius- i was wandering how could you know that?
    any way, if you would like more informaition about these nice people and their trio- you can contact me at -