25 Piazzolla tangos: for alto saxophone and piano

This review was published on: June 17th 2017

The Argentinian composer Astor Piazzolla is famous for his distinctive style of tango music, and this is a collection of 25 of his huge output of works. They have been adapted from arrangements by Hywel Davies, Rachel Kelly, Joshua Parman and Richard Walters.

Presentation is clear throughout, though there are some very awkward page turns for both players, and six fl ats or six sharps with added accidentals in the piano part came as a shock! I found some unnecessary additional accidentals in the saxophone part which could confuse the player (in Danseé).

The tangos comprise a contrasting selection, with both well and lesser known titles included. Piece lengths are varied too, with a few needing good stamina and control. The rhythms are sometimes complex, but very typical of the style. The full range of the saxophone is often explored, and there is plenty of scope for rubato and expression.

The length, rhythmic and tonal complexity, range and need for expressiveness and colour all add to the diffi culty of these pieces, which start from at least Grade 5. It is worth noting that the accompaniments have musical and technical challenges also, and some very low left-hand notes might have benefi ted from 8va notation. In addition there are a number of 10ths that I could not stretch (for example in Fracanapa).

Carol Taylor

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The Clarinet and Saxophone Society of Great Britain is a company limited by guarantee registered in England No. 3010228, whose registered office is at Flat 51, Parkview Apartments, 122 Chrisp Street, London, E14 6ET. Email: membership(@) Tel: 01642 769 558

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