The first rule in arranging music is "start with a good piece of music." I don't know what the other rules are but Sverre Indris Joner met the first rule and all of the others with his orchestral arrangement of Contrabajísimo which is featured in today's video. Contrabajísimo was composed in 1984, in honor of contrabassist, Héctor Console, a member of Piazzolla's second quintet. It is one of the longer, over eleven minutes long in the original, and more serious pieces composed by Piazzolla. Some would even say, it is the best piece composed by Piazzolla. The Azzi/Collier book, Le Grand Tango, reports that Contrabajísimo sounded from the cemetary's speakers as Piazzolla's coffin was taken to its final resting place at the Jardin de Paz, the only piece of his music so honored.
It must take some courage to attempt a symphonic arrangement of such an important piece. Joner's courage has been rewarded with what I believe is a masterpiece of arrangement which deserves a permanent place in the contrabass/symphonic repertoire. This is an audience pleaser and, judging from the faces of the performers, a musician pleaser too. There are four stars here: the bassist, Steinar Haugerud; the violinist, Atle Sponberg; the pianist (and arranger) Sverre Indris Joner; and the Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Rolf Gupta. Each deserves five stars for this performance.
Joner is a composer in addition to being an arranger and, clearly, a student of Piazzolla's music. You can find some of his music on the indris63 YouTube channel. Most of his Piazzolla work has been done in conjunction with the group Tango for 3 which includes Steinar Haugerud, the bassist in today's video. That groups first album is available as a download. But if you are looking for just one more of Joner's symphonic arrangements of Piazzolla, I suggest you view this video of Adios Nonino.
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