CD Review: MISA A BUENOS AIRES (Martín Palmeri)

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by Eve Meadows on April 18, 2018



Martín Palmeri (b. 1965) is not a well-known name, but based on his Misa a Buenos Aires, a rich orchestral and choral work that uses as a subtext both polyphonic music and tango, I hope more folks get to know him soon. Born in Buenos Aires, it’s clear that he’s a composer, pianist, choirmaster and orchestra conductor – all of those elements come shining through, as well as the Tango Nuevo technique used so often by his fellow countryman and composer, Astor Piazzolla, who is represented on this new Capriccio release as well. Recorded live in Germany’s Martinikirche in Siegen, conductor Ulrich Stötzel and his tango orchestra “El Arroyo” (a quintet I assume was created for this recording) are joined by the Bach Choir of Siegen, the astoundingly stunning mezzo-soprano Dagmar Linde, pianist Peter Scholl, and bandoneon player Rocco Heins.

This tango mass (misatango), premiered by the Orquestra Sinfónica de Cuba in 1996,  employs the text (in English and German in the thorough liner notes) of a classical Roman Catholic mass – Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Benedictus, and the Agnus Dei – that would be found in any liturgical setting, yet the music here is spiritual but also exciting. And in the “Sanctus,” exuberant rhythms are juxtaposed with a somewhat serious observation of the Latin text before the low-key and solemn beginning of the “Benedictus,” which is achingly beautiful. (But then doesn’t the tango have strains of both longing and sensuality?) There isn’t much here that I would call musically adventurous, but it’s very inventive well paying homage to the sounds of Palmeri’s forbears Ismael Spitalnik, represented here by his spunky, delightful El Troesma, and Piazzolla, whose short, exquisite gems Oblivion and Milonga Sin Palabras round out the stunningly produced CD. The players are strong and heartfelt on Milonga, but especially sensitive on Oblivion, a beautiful piece that induces you into a languor that blurs the line between melancholy and pleasure of an unspeakable nature.

Misa a Buenos Aires – Martín Palmeri
conducted by Ulrich Stötzel
9 tracks | 55:05
released on March 2, 2018
available at Amazon and Naxos

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