Wednesday 11 January 2023 8pm

Music for dancing from South America, chiefly celebrating the Argentinian composer, Astor Piazzolla, around whose Four seasons of Buenos Aires and Angel series the programme is built, together with instrumental solos from other members of the quartet.

We welcome back to Ilkley guitar virtuoso, Craig Ogden and accordionist Miloš Milivojević who, together with David Juritz (violin), David Gordon (piano) and Richard Pryce (bass) make up the London Tango Quintet. They bring ‘passion, energy and the sort of virtuosity which never took itself seriously’ to the rhythmic complexities of the music which arose in the dance halls of the lower-class districts of South American cities at the turn of the 20th century.

Piazzolla, the most celebrated composer and arranger of this genre, was a player of the bandoneon, the Argentinian concertina, who, after studies with Nadia Boulanger in Paris developed a more eclectic style called nuevo tango, incorporating characteristics from classical music and jazz, which has helped to spread this music around the world.

REVIEW BY Chris Skidmore

Tango comes to Ilkley!

An enthusiastic audience greeted the first appearance of a tango group at the Ilkley Concert Club last Wednesday. Although dominated by the revolutionary of the tango, Astor Piazzolla, the eclectic programme spanned a wide range of music, played by the classic tango quintet which Piazzolla introduced in the 1960s. The members of the London Tango Quintet are all of them talented soloists – Craig Ogden (guitar) and Miloš Milivojević (accordion), who are both well known to Concert Club audiences, were joined by David Juritz (violin), David Gordon (piano) and Richard Pryce (double bass). Most of this tango music is composed, but there is room for improvisation and the whole performance had the flavour of a jam session in a Buenos Aires night club, the players ingeniously conjuring extra percussion effects from and clearly revelling in their music making!

The revelation for most audiences is that, despite being focused on a single dance form, tango music has such variety and so many contrasts within each piece – plaintive and emotional melodies linked to rhythmically complex and engaging dance sections. This can particularly be seen in the two Piazzolla suites around which the halves of the concert were built – his ‘Angel’ music, brief and evocative, written originally for a film, and his ‘Four seasons of Buenos Aires’ which reflect the volatility and passion of the inhabitants of the city, rather than the weather! Notable as well was the tango-waltz Ilusión de mi Vida by Brunelli with its giddyingly fast and unexpected triple time.

Each of the players also interspersed a solo piece – Piazzolla’s Contrabajissimo featured Richard Pryce’s fabulously agile bass playing, David Juritz gave us Kroll’s ‘Banjo and  Fiddle’, a feast of pizzicato, like Paganini on speed, and Craig Ogden a version of Django Reinhardt’s Nuages in a typically brilliant evocation of that jazz guitarist’s style. The loudest applause was reserved for Miloš Milivojević’s playing of Albéniz’s Asturias – it is just startling what sounds he can produce from an accordion! David Gordon, a formidable improviser, composer and pianist, delighted the audience in all those roles. With his sideways stance on the piano stool constantly communicating with all the group, he is clearly at the heart of the gloriously talented London Tango Quartet!