Monday, September 7, 2009

Michelangelo 70 - Traffic Strings Project

The panpipe is not new to Ro'Strings, a Romanian string quintet: in 2006, they toured Canada with Gheorghe Zamfir playing Vivaldi's Four Seasons. But this year, Ro'Strings expanded their horizons with the Traffic Strings project and added an accordion and a piano to the panpipe bringing their normal string quintet to an octet. They have recently posted five Piazzolla compositions, all of them excellent. I have included their video of Michelangelo 70 below but the others are equally good: Escolaso, Otoño porteño, Invierno Porteño and Primavera Porteña. And, if you review Ro'Strings YouTube channel you will find even more Piazzolla. Don't let the novelty factor of the panpipes jade your view of these performances. They are very sound string quintet arrangements, created by Ro'Strings violist, Lucian Moraru, which use the panpipes and accordion sparingly and appropriately. These are wonderful musicians who deserve broad exposure. I found the piano work in Michelangelo 70 particularly interesting but there is much good to enjoy here - including the work of young panpipe player, Vladislav Panush.

Wonderful music, yes; but, I admit, it was the panpipes that made me initially linger on these videos. One tends to associate the panpipes with those Andean buskers that I have seen on three continents but the instrument deserves respect. It is perhaps the oldest wind instrument with roots going back five thousand years. Early examples have been found almost literally everywhere in the world. Romania has been particularly active in reawakening interest in panpipes in Europe so it is appropriate that Ro'Strings should deliver a serious treatment to the instrument in their work.

Message to Traffic Strings: where is Verano Porteño?

If the video does not appear below, click here.

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

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