Perhaps the judges were right after all. The previous post featured nine accordionist from MDA playing Escualo - for which they were awarded second place at the annual NOVAM contest. Now that I have seen the ultimate winner of the contest, I can see that the judges had a difficult decision. The winner, Kwintetto, is also from MDA and is seen in today's video playing Invierno Porteño. The performance is marked by many of the same characteristics found in the second place performance - good phrasing, ensemble precision and particularly good control of tempo. The winning edge may be more a function of the arrangement than the performance skills - the groups are both quite good.
The performers couldn't lose. I have learned from their leader and teacher, Robert Baas, that all five members of the Kwintetto also played in the nonet that won second place. The arrangement of Invierno Porteño for Kwintetto was created by Baas and Tim Fletcher and is excellent. Baas and Fletcher have collaborated before and were part of a group known as Ensemble D'Acht which have issued several CD's of accordion ensemble music including Piazzolla Hoog D'Achtend. You can see a sample of D'Acht in this performance of Balada para un loco.
My congratulations to Baas. He has a wonderful understanding of Piazzolla's music and is communicating it well to his students who I suspect will share his love of the music through the rest of their career.
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