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Tête-à- tête: Bach and Piazzolla
Astor PIAZZOLLA (1921-1992) and Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Regreso al amor - Prelude in G minor, BWV 861 [6:48]
BACH
Sonata in B minor, BWV 1014: Allegro [2:33]
PIAZZOLLA
Tangata [7:34]
BACH
Suite française BWV 813: Allemande [3:43]
PIAZZOLLA
Fugata [4:01]
Milonga is coming [11:33]
Muerte del angel [3:32]
BACH
Partita BWV 826: Sarabande [4:02]
PIAZZOLLA
Primavera porteña [5:36]
BACH
Sonata in B minor, BWV 1014: Andante [3:09]
PIAZZOLLA and BACH
Zita [6:09]
Sébastien Authemayou (bandonéon); Marielle Gars (piano)
All arrangements by the performers
rec. 22-24 April, 2013, Le Sémaphore de Roussillon, France
INDÉSENS INDE054 [59:29]

I don’t know what I like more about this disc, the Bach or the Piazzolla. It’s a joy and a relief to hear Piazzolla’s music on his own instrument, the bandonéon, rather than its cousin the accordion or any of the other instruments there have been arrangements for recently (trombone, violin, solo piano and so on). That said, the Bach performances are also good, and the two composers pair unexpectedly well.
 
It helps that Sébastien Authemayou and Marielle Gars have assembled the program to make the transitions as easy as possible. Not one of them feels incongruous or unnatural. Two of the tracks combine Bach and Piazzolla in medley especially skillfully. Each performer gets a solo Bach outing: Authemayou offers a sarabande tenderly played on his bandonéon, and Gars provides a well-rendered allemande from a Suite française.
 
If anything there could have been more Bach; the center of the disc is a twenty-minute stretch of uninterrupted Piazzolla which is very good, but the alternations between composers unexpectedly prove the disc’s high points. “Fugata” is a riot, too. The performers, who made their own arrangements, are consistently outstanding, and the recording is excellent. Booklet notes are in French only, but here’s a chance to enjoy an unlikely but successful union between two composers separated by over 200 years and 7,000 miles.
 
Brian Reinhart