Thursday, August 19, 2010

Angels - Kevin Kenner and Piazzoforte

Kevin Kenner is one of the best known young pianists in the classical world: renowned as an interpreter of Chopin on period instruments but less known as an interpreter of Piazzolla, which is a mistake - he is one of the best as demonstrated in today's video of a suite arranged from Piazzolla's Angel series. The Angel series were originally composed as incidental music for Alberto Rodriguez Muñoz's 1962 stage play, Tango del Angel.

Kenner was born in Southern California but at an early age transcended country with studies around the world. He currently splits residency between London, where he on the faculty of the Royal College of Music, and Krakow, where his heart appears to be. Kenner "discovered" Piazzolla at a concert by a tango ensemble led by bassist, Grzegorz Frankowski and later joined elements of that ensemble to form Piazzoforte and record a successful album, Piazzoforte, although that album was criticized for not including a bandoneón. That criticism has been addressed in today's video by the addition of the superb German bandoneónist, Christian Gerber.

The performance in the video occurred near midnight on August 15, 2010, at the Dominican Church of St. Trinity in Krakow as part of the third annual Sacred Nights program. There were evidently some concerns over the propriety of performing tango music in the church. Those concerns were unjustified as it becomes immediately apparent with the opening notes that this is music of the spirit - not of the flesh. The music they play is an arrangement of at least three of the Angel series and the arrangement is probably that of Frankowski and Bernard Chmielarz, based on that of José Bragato as found on the Piazzoforte album. Unfortunately, the continuity of the performance is interrupted by both narrative and creative film editors but you can nevertheless feel the magic of the evening. This is beautiful music, well played.

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