Classical Music Home

Welcome to Naxos Records

 
Keyword Search
 
 Classical Music Home > Naxos Album Reviews

Album Reviews



 
See latest reviews of other albums...

Colin Clarke
Fanfare, September 2019

Piazzolla presents a sequence of four beautiful miniatures, and Draugsvoll seems particularly attuned to the shifting rhythms of “Summer.” The almost ecstatic “Autumn” works beautifully here, the contrasting melancholic melodies taking us once more to an interior space. Again, the ability of the performers to take the music down to a whisper is mesmerizing, as is their way with turning a phrase (Mette Rasmussen finds her moment for this in the final movement, “Winter”).

This well-produced disc is a nice mix of the familiar, the less familiar, plus an interesting arrangement. Highly enjoyable. © 2019 Fanfare Read complete review



Raymond Tuttle
Fanfare, September 2019

…Excellent musicians have a way of convincing us that their way is the right way, and there’s no doubting that Draugsvoll is an excellent accordionist.

His [Piazzolla] music is less likely to be harmed by playing it on the “wrong” instruments than it is by playing it in the wrong style—smoothly, unemotionally, or unrhythmically. Here, the playing is full of energy and bite. I don’t think one should underestimate Rasmussen’s role in making this happen—listen to the crispness of her playing in the third movement of the Double Concerto, for example. Still, Draugsvoll is a strikingly good player, at home in the sentiment of Chiquilín de bachín and also in the virtuosity of Michelangelo 70, which goes like the wind here. © 2019 Fanfare Read complete review



Peter J. Rabinowitz
Fanfare, September 2019

Geir Draugsvoll is probably best known, especially to Fanfare readers, as an advocate of the avant-garde (he’s especially associated with Gubaidulina). But he has a strong connection to Piazzolla as well (this is, in fact, at least his third recording of Hommage à Liège), and he’s sympathetic to the characteristic bittersweet undercurrents that lurk beneath even the most superficially effervescent surfaces, a sympathy shared by pianist Mette Rasmussen, making her first appearance in these pages. …The performance transcends the limits of the transcription, especially in the obsessive, high-energy finale. To add to the disc’s virtues, it’s a pleasure to hear a purer and more compact version of Las cuatro estaciones porteñas (The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires) than the more familiar violin-and-strings adaptation by Desyatnikov. 

All in all…this is a welcome addition to the Piazzolla discography. © 2019 Fanfare Read complete review



Huntley Dent
Fanfare, June 2019

All the arrangements were done by Draugsvoll and his excellent piano partner, Mette Rasmussen, whose playing is seamlessly one with his.

…This album converted me to the beautiful expressive possibilities of the concert accordion. Curious readers are invited to investigate Draugsvoll’s recordings of works by Sofia Gubaidulina, either on CD or YouTube, to discover how creatively the instrument can be used by a modern composer. The unexpected range of expression found on this tango album is remarkable—a marvelous release all around. © 2019 Fanfare Read complete review



Phillip Scott
Fanfare, June 2019

I was taken aback by the tender beauty of the first track, Tanti anni prima (Many years before), and in particular the subtlety of Geir Draugsvoll’s rendering of the melodic line, as sensitive and expressive as any great singer. It is easy to hear why he is billed as a classical accordion player, not a common or garden accordionist. Of course, once into the well-known Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, he and pianist Mette Rasmussen give us plenty of earthiness.

So: varied music, intensely committed performances from two expert musicians who form a genuine partnership, and vivid sound. This disc makes for a truly invigorating experience. © 2019 Fanfare Read complete review



Dave Saemann
Fanfare, June 2019

This CD includes a Double Concerto for bandoneón, guitar, and string orchestra, yet heard on classical accordion and piano it still sounds totally complete and satisfying. All the performing editions on this album were made by the accordionist, Geir Draugsvoll, and the pianist, Mette Rasmussen. Draugsvoll transcribed the final work, an accordion solo, by himself.

This album makes for extraordinarily gratifying chamber music. Geir Draugsvoll is a master of the classical accordion. His playing is always clean and lucid, without the bump and grind one seems to associate with his instrument. Mette Rasmussen is a lovely pianist, who matches Draugsvoll insight for insight. Together they give Piazzolla’s music the loving care that one expects from chamber groups performing Schubert.

The CD’s sound engineering is excellent, with a particularly beautiful balance between the instruments. Piazzolla is one of the pre-eminent voices of the late 20th century. Draugsvoll and Rasmussen let us hear him at his best. Highly recommended. © 2019 Fanfare Read complete review



Lark Reviews, May 2019

For those who only know Piazzolla for Libertango then this might come as something of an eye-opener. I have to admit to loving tango and so this is a very welcome recording, at once so engaging and yet so laid-back. The combination of classical accordion and piano could not be better, hinting both at the classical concert hall and the dive bar all at the same time. A real gem and thoroughly recommended. © 2019 Lark Reviews



David Denton
David's Review Corner, May 2019

It is said all of Astor Piazzolla’s four hundred plus works were based on the Latin American dance rhythm of the tango, though he later moved into a hybrid version. He was to use to good effect the national variant of the piano accordion, the bandoneon, that instrument adding to the sounds of a smoke-filled Argentinian night club. That he moulded and moved his music into the classical world comes from an exposure to those sounds when his family moved to the Little Italy of New York City. His eventual fame was to take him into music for the film industry, and equally into concert halls with a series of works that included his Double Concerto, ‘Hommage a Liege’, heard here in an arrangement made by Anatolijus Senderovas. I will accept the release’s information that all the other tracks are in arrangements for classical accordion and piano made by Piazzolla, the two used on equal terms. Most of his best-known melodies are included here—Oblivion, Milonga del angel and The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, the Norwegian, Geir Draugsvoll and Danish pianist, Mette Rasmussen, play the smoochy music to the manner born in technically immaculate  performances.  The sound quality is outstanding, and I strongly commend it to tango enthusiasts. © 2019 David’s Review Corner





Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group