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JULY 2012, 'Mostly Tangos: Piano Music from the Americas', Eroica JDT3442

JULY 2012, 'Mostly Tangos: Piano Music from the Americas', Eroica JDT3442

Oscar Macchioni, piano

Reviewed by Ray Picot

Oscar Macchioni was born in Argentina but lives and works in the USA. An erudite academic and writer on music, his latest book The Tango in American Music is the inspiration behind this fascinating and varied disc, his first solo project. Listening to him play it is evident Macchioni is a musician and performer of great sensibility. This is an album full of surprises, as it explores a wide range of composers and styles, the music illuminated by a fresh approach and interpretative insights. Arguably the heart of the disc comes from Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras No. 4 and a collection of Tangos by Juan José Castro. Macchioni faces much competition with the Villa-Lobos, a classic piece, and his fast-flowing interpretation works well and does not disappoint. Castro should be better known, coming from a famous Argentine musical family, and this collection, written in neo-classical style represents the composer at his best, and is idiomatically realised. The recital also includes thoroughly enjoyable tangos by Samuel Barber and William Bolcom, and an excellent Adiós Nonino from Piazzolla. I’ve always felt that Ponce’s piano music is underrated and the inclusion of his Preludio mexicano and Intermezzo was quite justified and not over-played. A real rarity ends the recital as Macchioni plays Ginastera’s evergreen Malambo, Op. 7 in the original version later withdrawn by the composer. For a moment the piano imitates the open strings of the guitar, which leads to a meditative passage, before the distinctive malambo rhythm breaks through. Fascinating!



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