Friday, December 11, 2009

Milonga del Ángel - Anna Verkholantseva

It's a match made in heaven: Milonga del ángel and the harp. A graceful and beautiful melody played on the instrument archetypically played by the angels sounds like a good idea. And it is, as demonstrated in today's video of Anna Verkholantseva on the harp. Her playing is fluid and even and her use of rubato adds significantly to the feeling of peace that the music inspires. It surprises me that others have not claimed this piece for harp but my search efforts find no other solo harp interpretations on recordings or on video. Let's hope others give it a try (Ben Melsky, are you reading this?)

Piazzolla composed five "ángels": Milonga del ángel, La muerte del ángel, Resurrección del ángel, Introducción al ángel and Tango del ángel. The first two on the list are consistently in the most frequently performed Piazzolla pieces on YouTube. The first three represent a set often played together in concert by Piazzolla - most famously in a live recording made in Lugano, Switzerland in 1983 which is available in this reissue. The other two are more obscure but still very nice pieces. Ms. Verkholantseva also posted a video of her playing La muerte del ángel. This is a more complex piece than the Milonga and I was skeptical it would work on the harp. However, the way she handles the walking bass with the left hand while executing the complexities of the treble part with her right hand won me over. I encourage you watch that video also.

I do hope Ms. Verkholantseva records the other three angels. Meanwhile, please enjoy the two we have. If the video does not appear below, click here.

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

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