The Blu-ray version of the release 'Tango!' by the Isabelle van Keulen Ensemble features a video of the studio performance of several of the Argentinean composer Astor Piazzolla's most popular pieces, including Verano Porteno, Oblivion, and Libertango. Accompanied by a special documentary, 'Music from the Heart', which presents interviews with ensemble members and behind-the-scenes footage of the studio recording process. The Isabelle van Keulen Ensemble was formed in January 2011 by the critically acclaimed Dutch violinist and violist Isabelle van Keulen especially for a series of concerts in Haarlem's Concertgebouw which showcased the music of Ástor Piazzolla.
A rendition of a tango operita, commissioned by the Argentinian Ministry of Culture (this rendition anyway), was revived by violinist Gidon Kremer, who had such a love for the original LPs from Piazzolla and Horacio Ferrer that he wanted to recreate the music. Ferrer was kept on as El Duende (the Goblin) – the role that he created when he wrote the libretto thirty years earlier. Regrettably, Piazzolla had passed on prior to the remake. Nonetheless, the arrangements and orchestrations are remarkable. The suffering and the passion of Maria (the main character in the show) are perfectly portrayed by the tango. The music changes forms as her character progresses, taking on traditional tangos, modern tangos, milongas, waltzes, and other styles to reflect changes in Maria. The music is always well-composed. This is an opera for the display of modern music, and the tango of Piazzolla is modern music at its finest.
Those who are fans of both Lalo Schifrin and Astor Piazzolla should be delighted by this reissue of important early works. The tunes here were originally on separate albums by their respective artists and have been long out of print until the issue of this BMG compilation. The first eight songs are by Lalo Schifrin and they show the listener both his piano virtuosity and his already strong skills as an arranger. I recognize many of these songs having heard them done by other artists in my father's record collection. Though the "tropical" sound may seem dated and quaint to modern ears, several listens will show you just how far advanced Schifrin was for his time.