Album Remarks & Appraisals:
Scintillating, sexy, electric, elegant, sensuous, risky, robust, and just plain exciting and entertaining--those are some of the words that describe this surprising recording from Les Violons du Roy, the Quebec-based period-performance orchestra usually praised for its first-rate Bach, Handel, and Mozart. Now add Piazzolla to the list of this virtuoso ensemble's repertoire--and "virtuoso" not only describes the orchestra's amazing facility but particularly the artistry of violin soloist Pascale Giguere, long-time member of the group who here shines with big-star brilliance. Her alternately fluid, fanciful, fiery, and always technically assured first movement (Verano/Summer) of the opening Four Seasons of Buenos Aires tells you all you need to know regarding the high energy and artistic level of what's to come. Giguere's subtle phrase-shaping and sensual mood-setting in the Otono/Autumn movement, abetted by her like-spirited orchestral accomplices, captures the essence of tango while proving the genius of Leonid Desyatnikov's violin/string orchestra arrangement of Piazzolla's tribute to Vivaldi (originally scored for quintet with piano and bandoneon). In the same movement's cadenza, Giguere's violin not only sings, but nearly speaks via tricky flicks and digs of the bow on strings. There's plenty more to savor here, ranging from slow and seductive tangos to, well, fast and seductive tangos--and the playing is world-class throughout. Vibrant sound that captures the grit and fiber and sophisticated swagger of this infectious music completes an ideally entertaining--and did I say surprising?--performance. Highly recommended!
Tributee: Astor Piazzolla.