Tangos and Dances

0 of 5 stars

Pieces by Albéniz, Gade, Ginastera, Granados, Piazzolla, et al, together with a bonus DVD of Fionnuala Hunt in conversation with Sean Rafferty

Tango: “The vertical expression of a horizontal desire”
(Angela Rippon, 1993)

RTE Concert Orchestra
Fionnuala Hunt (violin)

Recorded in May 2004 in Studio One, RTE, Ireland

Reviewed by: Douglas Cooksey

Reviewed: June 2006
Duration: 62 minutes [excluding bonus DVD]

The Angela Rippon quotation is taken from the CD’s booklet and if the release itself is maybe not for the dyed-in-the-wool Tango aficionado, this issue still deserves every possible success. Too few really good records of light music get made, and this one is very good indeed.

Besides music by Piazzolla, Gardel and Ginastera, there are also dances by the Dane Jacob Gade whose “Jealousy” was the first million-selling light-music record (Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops) and the Uruguayan Gerardo Rodriguez whose “La Cumparsita” is probably the most famous tango ever written. There is also music by the Spaniards Albéniz and Granados, represented respectively by an arrangement of “Tango” and “Andaluza” (the latter from Danzas Espanolas).

The Belfast-born violinist Fionnuala Hunt, a one-time Schneiderhan pupil, and the RTE Concert Orchestra may be some way from the bite of a traditional Tango orchestra – Gidon Kremer’s records come much closer in that respect – but this is a classy production. Expertly recorded, it would be impossible to imagine this release not giving pleasure to a wide audience. Especially affecting are Ginastera’s “Dance of the Graceful Girl”, and Piazzolla’s “Oblivion” and “Libertango”.

Perfect for in-car or in-kitchen listening, this disc would also make an excellent dinner-party gift instead of the more usual bottle of wine.

Also included is a bonus DVD of Fionnuala Hunt (who has composed “Fino Irish Tango” to complete the CD, a “slightly tongue in cheek number, where Ireland meets Argentina”) in conversation with Sean Rafferty – but the CD is the thing. The performances are uniformly simpatico, and this is ‘easy listening’ at its best.

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