10 Album for AstorAlbum for Astor
Bjarke Mogensen; Danish Chamber Players
Our Recordings 8.226916 (ourrecordings.com)

Danish accordionist Bjarke Mogensen writes in his liner notes that this Astor Piazzolla instrumental release is for “the centenary of his birth.” Mogensen bases his accordion performances and instrumental arrangements here in his admiration, studies and understanding of Piazzolla’s compositions and bandoneon playing. Combined with Mogensen’s personal sound, this is over one hour of perfect Piazzolla.

The attention-grabbing opening track is Mogensen’s accordion solo arrangement of Adiós Nonino, Piazzolla’s work composed in memory of his father. An accented fast beginning leads to the famous slow, sad, emotional melody with rubato, then back to faster lush full glissandos and colours, showing off Mogensen’s skillful musicality, fast technique and respectful interpretations. The closing track solo arrangement Despertar (cadenza) is calming.

The other tracks feature ensembles. Mogensen arranges six works for himself and the Danish Chamber Players. Highlight is Fuga Y Misterio, from Piazzolla’s opera Maria de Buenos Aires. Contrapuntal writing with fast attention-grabbing accordion single lines, fugal instrumental lines, then full instrumentals with accented accordion and orchestra detached notes produce spirited dance sounds. 

Mathias Heise on harmonica joins Mogensen on their co-arrangement/duet of Café 1930 from Histoire du Tango. The harmonica blends surprisingly well with the accordion, especially in high-pitched lines above accordion bellow vibratos. Co-arranger Johan Bridger’s melodious virtuosic ringing vibraphone playing competes with and complements accordion tango runs in Vibraphonissimo. His vibes/percussion tight rendition with accordion moves from moody to tango nuevo in Tristango.

Piazzolla’s music lives on in this clear recording.

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