March 2021

BBC  Music Magazine

“…Albonetti’s scholarly understanding of the nuevo tango informs his latest orchestrations of Piazzolla’s music…The four pieces were originally scored for quintet – the bandoneón parts (the Argentinian concertina played by Piazzolla) work surprisingly well transcribed for soprano saxophone…Altogether, a stand-out success among recent arrangements for saxophone.”

The Wall Street Journal – Ms. Barbara Jepson – 8th March 2021

… “Chandos recently issued “Romance del Diablo, The Music of Piazzolla,” by the saxophonist Marco Albonetti and the Orchestra Filarmonica Italiana. Mr. Albonetti’s solos on “Oblivion” and other lyrical pieces are nuanced and show formidable breath control as he unfurls long legato lines. His arrangements are invariably apt, and his wailing soprano sax brings out the klezmer influences where appropriate. Perhaps his versions of Piazzolla’s “Las Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas” (“The Four Seasons in Buenos Aires”) will encourage more concert presenters to program that work with Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons,” …

WDR – German Public Radio Station – 10th March, 2021 5 out of 5 stars

“The Italian saxophonist, Marco Albonetti, had studied Piazzolla’s original scores for his dissertation in Buenos Aires, where he also talked extensively with his widow and people of his inner circle including fellow musicians. Albonetti’s intensive study of Piazzolla’s music can be heard in every bar of this CD. He wrote the arrangements himself and transposed the parts for bandoneon to saxophone with great success not only for the slow but also the intensely rhythmical sections. He also allows ample space for the Orchestra Filarmonica Italiana and the other soloists. The CD is based on the Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, however, they are not presented in succession but are spaced apart with other titles in between. This follows consequently the original development and reflects Albonetti’s detailed background knowledge. Piazzolla had composed the four movements during different years and had never conceived them to be played en suite. Romance del Diablo by the saxophonist Marco Albonetti presents a successful transposition from bandoneon to saxophone.”

Classical Notes – Scene Magazine – Nick Boston 

As Marco Albonetti demonstrates, the sax can serve as an effective stand-in for that quintessential instrument of the Argentine tango…And although I generally prefer Piazzolla played with greater grit, Albonetti’s emphasis on the lyrical does provide some unexpected rewards, as in Libertango, where he locates a mournful, melancholic quality.

First up this month, a great new disc of works by Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992). Piazzolla brought the music of the ‘Nuevo tango’ to concert platforms, and is responsible for its wider exposure outside Argentina. HIs music has been performed in many guises, and here, Italian saxophonist Marco Albonetti plays a selection of his works along with the Orchestra Filarmonica Italiana. Most of the works here are arranged and orchestrated by Albonetti, and his sensitive interpretations demonstrate how well the saxophone (mostly the soprano instrument) is suited to taking the role of the bandonéon (a kind of concertina, and Piazzolla’s own instrument). Piazzolla used a musical motif for ‘Diablo’ (as well as one for ‘Angel’) in numerous pieces, and the title track, Romance del Diablo is sensuous and intimate, with the devil definitely in seduction mode here. Albonetti plays with aching melancholy, and the orchestral playing is sumptuous throughout. Spread across the disc are Las Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas (The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires), in which several soloists from the orchestra get the chance to shine (Cesare Carretta (violin), Alessandra Gelfini (piano), and Virgilio Monti (double-bass)). There are some great percussive effects in Autumn, and dark, sensuous rumblings in Winter, along with virtuosic interludes from the piano and sax. There’s more virtuosity in Spring, as well as driving rhythms, and the duet between sax and double-bass gets wilder and wilder at the conclusion. Summer is lively, with pulsing pizzicato strings beneath the sax solo, before the sliding double-bass builds the tempo, to a final scream from the sax to finish. For Años de Soledad (Years of Solitude), Albonetti ups the melancholic ante by switching to the baritone sax, and the warm tones, contrasted with the jabbing orchestral tango rhythm, make this a highlight of the disc for me. Two of Piazzolla’s most well-known works are here too. Oblivion is preceded with a solo sax improvisation over a pulsing double-bass heartbeat, before the slow, melancholic milonga tune takes over, with evocative inflections in the melodic line from Albonetti. The disc ends with Libertango, and once this gets going, the sax repeats its hypnotic, twisting motif over the piano and bass stamping out the tango rhythm. I’ve heard interpretations with greater abandon here, but Albonetti and the players are certainly captivating to listen to. Reinterpretations of Piazzolla can sometimes be a little clinical in trying to replicate a particular sound and style – not so here, as Albonetti has clearly fully absorbed this music, making for a disc full of life and romance.

RM wKulturalny Sposób, Robert Majewski 

“Romance del Diablo: The Music of Piazzolla” is a delicious infusion of Argentine tango, jazz harmonies, klezmer atmosphere and Italian spirit. Albonetti’s instrument is the saxophone. It may not be the sound we associate with Piazzola, but Albonetti is the best saxophonist among bandeonists. (joke!) Anyway, it’s good to listen to, and since the recording brings only hits, even more so. Seasons in Buenos Aires, Libertango, Oblivion are immortal compositions. My favorite on this album is the title Romance del Diablo.

Marco Albonetti says that he didn’t discover Astor Piazzolla’s music until the day he died, and that this discovery changed him. I believe him and recommend this album. Enjoy!

Dailymail – by David Mellor 

Marco Albonetti’s tribute to Piazzolla, Romance Del Diablo, is a fascinating album honouring a fascinating musician in his centenary year.

This Chandos issue, featuring the saxophonist and lifelong Piazzolla fan, Marco Albonetti, is a highly recommendable introduction to Piazzolla’s art, although Piazzolla was a virtuoso bandoneon player – a square accordion that made a fascinating journey from Germany to the brothels of Buenos Aires, where the tango emerged as the core national music of Argentina. This album, with arrangements by Albonetti and others, features a small orchestral ensemble with a similar sound to the nightclub sextet Piazzolla himself regularly performed with in New York.

Albonetti includes some of Piazzolla’s most celebrated pieces: Oblivion and Libertango, plus his most significant piece, the Four Seasons Of Buenos Aires.

Piazzolla’s success was built on a keen ear for tango rhythms, the flair and imagination to develop the tango in his compositions – even though that got him into lots of trouble with traditionalists – and an exceptional musical training in classical music, especially in Paris with the celebrated Nadia Boulanger. He grew up in New York and, as a 13-year-old bandoneon virtuoso, was recruited by Carlos Gardel, the Argentinian film star and another great tango exponent, to tour with his orchestra. Piazzolla’s parents banned him from going. Just as well. The plane crashed and Gardel and his entire band were killed. Leaving Piazzolla to enjoy 50 more years putting the tango on the map all over the world.

A fascinating musician, honoured here by a fascinating album.