Martín Palmeri: Misa A Buenos Aires

Album cover art for upc 761203509225
Label: CPO
Catalog: 555092-2
Format: CD

Taubert, Heidi Maria; Dresdner Kapellsolisten; Sächsisches Vokalensemble; Cuarteto Rotterdam; Laabs, Annekathrin; Heidrich, Clemens; Jung, Matthias

Martín Palmeri's tango mass is inspired by his native Argentina's traditional tango and in particular by Astor Piazzolla's tango nuevo. Piazzolla developed a "new tango" intended no longer as dance music but for the concert stage; by incorporating contemporary forms and musical developments it gave rise to a complex genre of art music. The Misa a Buenos Aires premiered by the Orquesta Sinfónica de Cuba in 1996 demonstrates Palmeri's impressive and equally entertaining talent for integrating stylistic features of the tango into his compositions. The textual basis of the work is the classical Catholic Ordinary of the Mass as it has been set to music for centuries. The scoring for mezzo-soprano, mixed choir, tango quartet, and string orchestra remains close to the authentic ensembles of the tango orchestras of Palmeri's native country. Here what is above all exciting is how imaginatively he employs the playing resources of the instruments. Typical techniques of the tango, this rhythmically emphatic dance in which the melody instruments are also used percussively to give impulses, play an important role here. The outstanding employment of the bandoneón, sometimes as a singing voice, then again as a rhythm instrument, here guarantees the preservation of the "tango soul." Melodic leading, harmony, and the rhythmic structures are also recognizable as tango stylistic means to non-experts. It is with great melodic imaginative richness that Palmeri blends the various tone colors of the tango with the various characteristics of the individual parts of the mass. The Gloria, premiered in 2014, a good eighteen years after the tango mass, is of somewhat greater complexity – both in compositional technique and in harmony – and leaves behind the pleasant tone of the mass. In all of its parts, however, here too the melodic and emotional expressive variety remains. Here European tradition and the tango are brought together in a finely crafted and compelling manner.

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