A Catchy Confluence

Review by: Jed Distler


Artistic Quality: 9

Sound Quality: 9

Who would have expected two directors of the Boulder Bach Festival to come up with such a novel composer pairing and (more importantly) to bring it off supremely well? Their program mixes and matches violin/piano tangos by Ray Granlund and the Seven Balkan Dances for piano solo by Marko Tajcevic.

One might describe Granlund’s approach to the tango genre as that of a kinder, gentler, and less edgy Astor Piazzolla. To be sure, Granlund can whip up energy when it suits him. Tango Peregrino, for example, starts off in lyrical territory that wouldn’t be foreign to a Chick Corea ballad, yet a strong rhythmic impetus soon kicks in, complete with emphatic accents and slashing slides from Zachary Carrettin’s violin. Granlund’s compact Tangometria defies conventional dancing in its deft use of mixed uneven meters, while Tango du joli printemps lovingly transports an original Poulenc melody from Paris to Buenos Aires, with a second overdubbed violin line joining in the dance.

Tajcevic’s brief Balkan Dances succinctly make their vivid musical points, helped by the gusto and verve characterizing Mina Gajic’s wonderful rhythmic élan. Despite the disc’s relative brief playing time (38 and a half minutes), adventurous listeners will not feel shortchanged.

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Recording Details:

Album Title: Confluences: Balkan Dances & Tango Nuevo
Reference Recording: None for this collection

RAY GRANLUND: Selected Tangos
MARKO TAJCEVIC: Seven Balkan Dances

  • Mina Gajic (piano); Zachary Carrettin (violin)

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