There were two strong candidates for the January "Best of the Month" award. This blog negligently passed over them as January flew by. These are too good to miss and it is still early in February, so here the are.
The first is a performance by former Piazzolla quintet pianist, Pablo Ziegler in a chamber quintet of his own choosing performing his arrangement of Libertango at the Miami International Piano Festival. Members of the quintet included Alexis Cardenas on violin, Jisso Ok on cello, Pedro Giraudo on double bass and Hector del Curto on bandoneón. Hector del Curto has joined Ziegler on many stages over many years but Giraudo and Ok are relatively new to his music; to my knowledge, this is Cardenas' first appearance with Ziegler - a good addition. The arrangement is focused very much on Zieglers awesome piano talent although both Cardenas and del Curto get a chance to show some improvisational skills. Ok seemed a little awed by the talent around her and was glued to her sheet music while the others improvised but added some class to the group. Ziegler is one of the few performers who have moved Piazzolla's music into the jazz world while retaining the genetic component of canyengue that makes the music special. The audience in Miami got a real treat with this perfomance (and they got good reviews)
The second video strikes quite a different mood. It takes one of Piazzolla's signature quintet works, Buenos Aires Hora Cero, and transforms into a mesmerizing guitar solo. The arrangement and performance is by Alberto Morelli. I have found essentially no information about Mr. Morelli other than hints that he teaches classical guitar at La Escuela Superior de las Bellas Artes in Mazatlán, Mexico. You will also find performances by Morelli on YouTube of Libertango and La muerte del angel. The performances in these videos are good but the perfect integration of the foreboding E-F#-G-F#-E-etc ground with the darting melodic interludes and sound effects shows a mastery of musical engineering on the guitar which makes Morelli's interpretation of Hora Cero great. You won't find a better guitar interpretation. Bravo!
Which one gets "Best of Month?" It's too difficult, I'll decide mañana.
If the videos do not appear below, click here for Ziegler and click here for Morelli.
To learn more about Piazzolla videos, visit the Piazzolla Video site.