Monday, August 31, 2009

Milonga For Three

This one is important. Slow down, empty your mind and breath slowly before you click Play on today's feature. It is a remarkable version of Milonga for Three played by the Novosibirsk Pops Orchestra led by Viktor Ivanov. The music was a commission by the Intar Hispanic American Arts Center for a production titled Tango Apasionato which depicts the origin and development of the tango. Piazzolla's performance of the work is captured on the Kip Hanrahan produced album, The Rough Dancer and the Cyclical Night. The liner notes for that album quote Piazzolla as saying "this record needs the darkness of a nostalgic dream." For me, Milonga for three achieves that both on the original album and in this performance.

Other than the single website that is linked above, I can find essentially no information about Viktor Ivanov or the Novosibirsk Pops orchestra but am enormously impressed by the seven Piazzolla performances they have posted on YouTube. Novosibirsk is the largest city in Siberia and the third largest in Russia. Their Philharmonic Orchestra is famed for their string section and they have recorded and toured widely. The 25 member "Pops" or "Variety" orchestra is one of a number of "Collectives" which fall under the umbrella of the Novosibirsk Philharmonic. It was founded in 2008, from what was originally the Ensemble of the Siberian Military District. The orchestra structure is unusual. There is the normal piano and large string section but it is augmented by an accordion, two saxophones, two trumpets, two trombones, a drummer, a guitarist and a bass electric guitar. All of the arrangements they play are fresh, bold and respectful of the originals. They are superb and deserve to be performed around the world. They are balanced arrangements. For example, often a pops orchestra with an accordion present would simply play "back-up" for an accordion playing Piazzolla's bandoneon part. For Milonga for three in Novosibirsk they moved the bandoneon part to saxophone and the accordion is actually silent throughout the piece. It was a excellent decision on the part of the arranger. As I listened to the other six performances in the series, I hear many such good decisions.

Superb musicians. Superb arrangements. Important music. OK...time to relax, breath slowly and click play (and if there is no video below, you can click here).

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

No comments:

Post a Comment