Saturday, February 6, 2010

Live from Moscow

"And in Piazzolla's music we find everything we seek in any kind of music - the rhythm of heartbeat and vibration of human soul: ecstasy and devastation, happiness and yearning, dreams and despair. It seems to be a fused reflection of our present day reality."

That quote directly from the website of Moscow's Piazzolla Quintet says a lot but to hear it all you need to listen to their music. Their arrangements are fresh - not duplicates of Piazzolla's originals but very true to the original intent. Instrumentation is not identical to Piazzolla's original - a vibraphone replaces the guitar and, in these videos, an accordion replaces the bandoneón. The performances are crisp and nuanced - among the best I have heard. Members of the group are all classically trained musicians who have overcome that handicap and include Mikhail Khokhlov (piano), Mario Durand (violin, vocal), Yuri Medianik (accordion), Andrey Doynikov (vibraphone) and Mikhail Khokhlov (double-bass). All have a connection with Gnessin Musical College - a center for musical training in Moscow since 1895.

The group posted twelve videos from a November, 2009 performance in Moscow's Orchestrion Hall. If you are snowed in like I am today, there is no better way to spend an hour than to watch all of them. I chose to feature Concierto para Quinteto just because it appears to be the opening piece of the concert - you can find the others on their YouTube channel. For a bit of surprise, watch their Se potessi ancora. This is a lovely but rarely heard Piazzolla canción and it's even rarer to hear it sung (very well) by the violinist.

The group has recorded several albums but they are difficult to find. Fortunately, they have also generously posted quite a few mp3's for download on their website.

If the video does not appear below, click here.

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

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