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Infamia -Tangos de Barcelona
Julia Migenes (mezzo-soprano); Albert Guinovart (piano),
Marcelo Mercadante (bandoleón), Angel Jesús Garcia (violin)
and Vincent Ellegiers (cello)
Lawrence Foster conducts Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona I Nacional de Catalunya
DECCA 466 764-2 [61:39]
 Amazon UK 

Throw away your preconceptions of the tango and enjoy this album for what it is -- a joyful, exuberant, exceedingly colourful, and sometimes dreamy celebration of the tango as arranged for a symphony orchestra with piano soloist (and others) and vocalist.

The opening number, probably the best known, is Jacob Gade's 'Jealousy' and the ear gets accustomed to the symphonic treatment. It's all there the sultriness the sensuality, the exuberance but in a more glossy package. From then on the tracks keep getting better and better until after hearing Ernesto Nazareth's three brilliantly coloured tangos that conclude the album one is left eager for more.

Zara says: -

I enjoyed the opening Jalousie. For me it spoke passionately of anguish, anger and frustrated love. I liked the writing for the piano and violin and for the percussion. Julia Migenes has just the right sultriness of voice with that special Latin throaty twist that adds so much character to these songs. I just loved her creamy, dreamy romantic, then passionate 'Los pájaros perdidos' (The Lost Birds) "It was all a dream, a dream that we lost, just as we lost the birds and the sea" -- and how well the orchestral accompaniment so vividly evoked exotic birds and the sea. The concluding harmonies of the two voices was a beautiful conclusion. Migenes becomes flirty as well as passionate in the amusing Tattoo (with characteristic part for the bandoneón). "He arrived on a ship with a foreign name…He was blond and handsome with a heart tattoed on his chest". She is mysterious and sultry in the very rhythmical Lo más profundo es la piel (Nothing is more than skin deep), and she is street wise and cynical in a song about an ex-jailbird and murder in Araca corazón (Look out heart). Finally she is affecting yet proudly defiant in Cicatrices (Scars) - "Scars that will not heal - I loved her passionately but she was untrue…"

I also liked very much the dreamy 'Infamia', beginning with bitter sweet piano and bassoon solos before some whimsy carries the music forward into a quiet yet beguiling tango. Albeniz's famous 'Tango in D' from España, is arranged so that its accents are smoothed somewhat to become drowsy, dreamy siesta music. I also loved the very romantic 'El día que me quieras' with its beautiful solos for bandoneón, violin and cello as well as piano, and then as a trio, and the ending is quite melting. Bravo!!


Ian Lace agrees :-

Yes, a delightful collection. I would add that I liked very much Harry Wilson's delightful 'Brisa argentina', charming, nicely melodic tender as well as passionate and very colourfully orchestrated. So too are the concluding Nazareth numbers, so marvellously high spirited: 'Fon-Fon' (great fun); 'Guerreiro' and 'Pierrot' all delightful, sunny and equally colourfully orchestrated - and worth the price of the album alone. The arrangement of Albeniz's 'Tango in A minor' is another fine atmospheric and evocative gem beginning with a lovely cello solo. Then there is the sweeping sensuality of  'En esta tarde gris' with strongly accented parts for all the soloists.

Albert Guinovart, empathises with the Latin tango idiom splendidly yet is also equally attuned to the often more classical interpretations too. His contribution is a major factor in the success of this album

Ian Lace



Ian Lace

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