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CD Feature/ Viviana Guzman & Anibal Corniglio: "Argentine Music"

img  Tobias

The tango is like a scorpion: Its poison is sweet and deadly and it feels most comfortable in a heat which would melt any other form of life. Once the virus has been injected into your blood, the addiction will last a lifetime. So be careful before picking up this disc, regardless of the endless arguments in its favour which are about to follow and despite the deepest of recommendations we have to give to you – after all, this review was written by an infected one as well and deals with a disc by two artists who have been tango junkies for as long as they can breathe.

Young pretenders and imaginative champions: The artists.

All rules of decency would demand of us to start presenting the protagonists with the lady, but in the case of  guitarist Anibal Corniglio, we have to make an exception, simply for the fact that we have a young pretender here who needs some introduction. Not because he has been idle or dreaming his life away, but because his path has led him away from mainstream media and hardly ever crossed the internet. The “Anibal Arias Quartet”, “Seccion Vermu” and the “Vale Tango Orchestra”, previous stations of his tantalizing train ride through the territory of the tango, are all rooted in the firm belief that is the music that matters, not the way you coomb your hair. So even though Corniglio has toured half of the world, he has left no easy traces. Maybe that’s the way it has always been and maybe this is how it was supposed to be. But it is a good thing nevertheless to see this still young man step into the more immediate limelight for the first time. A classicaly trained musician, arranger and composer, “Argentine Music” puts all facets of his personality into perspective and juxtaposes classics of the genre with his very own pieces.

In the other corner, we find Viviana Guzman, who is not only Anibals musical partner in crime, but thanks to her career as one of the world’s premier flutists and her work as the boss of her own label, Syren Productions, the one who made the dream become reality. Publications more iinfluential than ours have called her “An imaginative artist”, we call her a blessing for the Classical scene. After all, there are not too many musicians with a discography, simultaneously featuring Telemann and contemporary World Music tracks. One of her main achievments has been the championing of the tango as an art form to be taken seriously by fans of the “serious”. On “Mostly Tango Live” she turned San Francisco into Buenos Aires for one night and “Danza Amor” was an effort to unify the various branches of South American music. By all means, it takes more than a tagline to trap her and the same can be said about her contribution to “Argentine Music”.

Beating Piazzolla’s Shadow: Let the next generation step in!

In a sense, the title to this album can be understood both as an expression of regained confidence and of historical reality. After all, the tango may have spread all around the world and even seemed like perfect food for the European recycling machine, which combined it with electronics and deliciously delicate loung atmospheres in quasi-bands such as the “Gotan Project”. But of course, it was Argentina, where it truly originated from and the Corniglio/Guzman partnership is bringing it home. Having said this, it also has to be noted that Argentina has always maintzained a difficult relationship with one of its most famous export products. In the late 70s and early 80s, it was all but extinct and had lost almost all of its former support. Without a doubt, there were several reasons for that and one of them was the mighty shadow of Astor Piazzolla, a creative energy and musical magician second to none. It was him who almost single-handedly transported the dance from the streets to the realms of the fine arts. His compositions continue to inspire and it can not come as a surprise that here, too, three of his pieces are placed in a central position as a sort of axes for the other tracks to revolve around.

But in the end the self-assuredness (and maybe even arrogance) of a new generation got the upper hand. Thank god for that – just like any art form, the tango must live of its constant celebration instead of feeding from memories of the past. Anibal Corniglio does this in many ways: Firstly, his program focusses on the different phases of the tango’s history: He goes all the way back to Angel Villoldo, one of the genre’s pioneers in the defiant “El Choclo”, turns to Piazzolla and other composers of the golden era and finally introduces us to the tango of the 21st century by means of his own music. Eclectic, energetic, elevating and electricising are the words to describe this cocktail and that is quite literally a long way off the typical cliches of eternal sadness and machismo which keep popping up in the tango’s slipstream.

A core of light – Providing hope, not sadness.

It is Viviana, next to Corniglio’s sensitive and uplifting contributions, who makes sure of this. Her playing is as fresh as a fountain, as clear as crystal and full of good spirits. Of course, the music forces a tango-player to drop his head from time to time, but Guzman has recognised that this is not meant as an act of defeatism but of recognising the two-sided nature of life and love – you can not have joy without pain nor extasy without the looming danger of loss. Everything which has a beginning must have an end after all. But as she approaches the inevitable truth, ther tone penetrates the solid crust of this message and reaches a core of light. That is why this music end up being consoling and never sad.

In the end, you don’t need to worry about all of the theoretical background to enjoy “Argentine Music”.Simply put, it is a frutuitious meeting of two incredibly gifted instrumentalists, of the worlds of Classical and contemporary music and of the old and the new. It is a CD to listen to intensely or to enjoy while reading a stimulating book. It is an album for the summer’s heat or to keep you warm in the winter. Above all, it is a living testimony to the ongoing power and prolonged gravity of the tango and its bittersweet magic. And no matter what you do to stay away from it, it will get to you. You can hide from it, yes. But don’t even try to run.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Viviana Guzman

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