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It Takes One To Tango / Jeanne Golan

Release Date: 01/01/2021
Label: Steinway & Sons Catalog #: 30164
Composer:  Pablo Ortiz ,  Wanda Landowska ,  Eric Moe ,  Wilhelm Grosz  ...  Performer:  Jeanne Golan Number of Discs: 1

Pianist Jeanne Golan performs tango-inspired music by contemporary composers and "recovered voices composers" (composers who were persecuted and censored by the Nazi regime). This collection of unknown gems includes several world premieres.

Album Credits:
Recorded July 1 and 2, 2020 at Oktaven Audio, Mt Vernon, NY.
Pacita’s Lunch recorded August 18, 2009 at Peter Karl Studio; Peter Karl, engineer.
Producers: Christopher Oldfather and Jeanne Golan
Engineer, Editing, Mixing and Mastering: Ryan Streber
Piano Technician: Dan Jessie
Piano: Steinway Model D (New York) rebuilt by Ludwig Tommescu

Executive Producers: Eric Feidner, Jon Feidner
Read more Production Assistant: Renée Oakford
Cover Art: Terciopelo Negro II by Fabian Perez
Art Direction: Jackie Fugere
Designer: Cover to Cover Design, Anilda Carrasquillo

Pianist Jeanne Golan has specialized in the music of composers who perished in the Holocaust, and there are some of those here, by Erwin Schulhoff. The "Works of Contemporary and Recovered Voices" subtitle suggests a dual theme, and it might seem that the Holocaust-related works are an uneasy fit with the contemporary takes on the tango that make up the rest of the program. Actually, though, the two sides of Golan's album go together persuasively, for the tango certainly fell under the Nazi category of Entartete Musik, and the tango art form has not lost any of its edge. Golan has unearthed some gems here. There's a delightful Reverie d'automne, Op. 6, of Wanda Landowska (persecuted by the Nazis, but successful in escaping), and a heavily jazz-inflected Tanzsuite, Op. 20, of Wilhelm Grosz, who also fled and succeeded, as Hugh Williams, as an American popular composer. The Schulhoff Five Etudes de Jazz are remarkable in the degree to which they stretch popular materials in truly avant-garde directions, and they form a bridge with the contemporary works by Pablo Ortiz, Eric Moe, Chester Biscardi (the title of whose Incitation to Desire is taken from disapproving language about the tango in the 1944 Grove Dictionary of Music), Theodore Wiprud, and Toby Twining. The latter's An American in Buenos Aires is delightfully arranged into a toy piano and conventional piano duet. Golan expertly teases out the varying levels of tango presence in these works, and her performance is as skillfully thought out as her program. An intriguing and fresh find for those interested in the popular impact on concert music, with fine sound from New York state's Oktaven Studio.

-- AllMusic Guide

This new disc is subtitled, “Works of Contemporary and Recovered Voices Composers”. Ms Golan has performed in Recovered Voices programs. Those concerts have music by composers persecuted (and sometimes murdered) by the Nazis. My reviews of 20th Century Foxtrots, Vol.1 & 2 included detailed information about the genesis of these dance and cafe songs written during the German Weimar period by German, Czech, and Viennese composers. In this recording, Ms Golan has selected tango and other cafe music written by three of these composers, Wanda Landowska, Wilhelm Grosz and Erwin Schulhoff. (Two selections are in 20 Century Foxtrots, Vol.1). Landowska, mostly known as a harpsichordist, also composed music early in her career. She narrowly escaped the Nazis and left most of her compositions in Poland, thinking that she would soon return. Almost all that music was lost. This is the first recording of 'Reverie D’Automne', a melodic fantasia that hints at Tango rhythms. Grosz escaped from Germany, but later died in the US. His Tanzsuite 2 includes five rhythmically interesting dances: a seductive 'Tango', a lively 'Foxtrot', a romantic 'Boston', a lighthearted 'Shimmy', and an interesting combination of several dance types in the disorderly 'Quasi-Fivestep'. Schulhoff died in the Wurzburg concentration camp. His Etudes de Jazz includes five dances in more modernistic arrangements: 'Charleston', 'Blues', 'Chanson', 'Tango', and a 'Toccata sur le Shimmy' that is a playful version of 'Kitten on the Keys'. The contemporary composers approximate dance rhythms and are more idiosyncratic. They range from Pablo Ortiz’s alternately elegiac and nervous Three Pieces, Eric Moe’s meandering 'Laminar Flow in Upsidedown Creek', Chester Biscardi’s moody 'Incitation to the Dance' to Theodore Wipraud’s 'Pacita’s Lunch', whose jittery music is further emphasized by tapping on the piano case. The final selection, Toby Twining’s American in Buenos Aires uses hypnotic jazz and blues themes with gentle Tango rhythms. Ms Golan plays all the pieces with authority.

-- American Record Guide

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