The Classics

Piazzolla: "Tango Distinto". Achilles Liarmakopoulos (trombone), etc.
Naxos CD.

The award-winning, Greek-born trombonist (a permanent player with Canadian Brass) serenades and scampers with seductively sweet tones in popular, jerky tango rhythms used by Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992). This composer gained experience of jazz in New York and classical form and technique through studies with Ginastera.

Assisting the soloist are backing musicians ranging from solo guitar in two parts of Histoire du Tango, to a string quartet in the Serie del Angel, with bandoneon (Hector del Curto) and marimba notable in places.

Included is Le Grand Tango, written as a virtuoso item for Rostropovich on cello, and now a brilliant tour de force for trombone and piano (Robert Thompson). Briefer pieces include Oblivion and Soledad.

Highlight: magnificent trombone swoops in Michelangelo '70 herald dazzling performances.

• Roussel: Le Festin de l'Araignee (The Spider's Banquet). Royal Scottish National Orchestra.
Naxos CD.

Albert Roussel (1869-1937) was thought old-fashioned, following in the path of Debussy and Ravel. This coupling contains his most-performed work, a ballet pantomime of the insect life of a garden: ants, butterflies, spiders, buzzing mayflies, even dung beetles.

Also with two suites from his more serious opera-ballet Padmavati, the CD confirms the composer as a great impressionist of the French school, delicately weaving melodies and harmony.

The orchestra under Stephane Deneve performs these stage works in its Naxos series of Roussel discs. It charms with the vibrancy of a light-hearted insect world and more exotic sounds of the quasi-oriental opera inspired by the legendary siege of the city of Chittor by the Mongols.

Highlights: flamboyant entomological cocktail, plus exotic-tinged passions.


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