Ksenija Sidorova - Piazzolla Reflections - Stereophile

Performance 5*
Sonics 4*

The German-derived bandoneon may have been tango composer Astor Piazzolla's instrument of choice, but had he access to Ksenija Sidorova's 44lb Pigini accordion, who knows where his music might have gone? Sidorova takes an orchestral approach to Piazzolla's captivating melodies. The result is one of the most seductive Piazzolla recordings I've encountered.

Piazzolla Reflections ends with a rousing, previously unissued 2012 take on Piazzolla's Libertango with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. Aconcagua, Piazzolla's masterly, three-movement Concerto for Bandoneon, String Orchestra, and Percussion, is distinguished by the playing of the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester under Thomas Hengelbrock and the acoustic of the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg's Grosser Saal. It is capped by a thrilling final movement that contrasts deep percussive blasts with the accordion's higher octaves.

The remaining compositions, set down in Germany's Schloss Elmau, feature up to four other soloists and, on four tracks, the Goldmund Quartet. Unexpected revelations include a gorgeous performance of Bach's Adagio in D minor, BWV 974, that reflects Piazzolla's advocacy of Bach for bandoneon. Equally moving is Sidorova's ability to express the yearning melodic heart of Sergey Voitenko's tender Revelation. Those tracks and others of contemporary works by Pietro Roffi, Franck Angelis, and Sergey Akhunov cast Piazzolla's surprisingly touching tangos in a new and revelatory light. Special kudos to violinist Alexander Sitkovetsky for his soulful playing on Piazzolla's multifaceted Café 1930.

01 July 2021