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Dino Saluzzi: Rosamunde Quartett, Kultrum

Although the name Astor Piazzolla tends to dominate discussions and consideration of the process by which tango has taken steps into a new, progressive form over the past few decades, Dino Saluzzi isn’t very far behind. The bandoneon player is undeniably a dynamic and gifted player, capable of bravura technical turns but tending towards introspection and lustrous repose, and, like Piazzolla-but in his own distinctive way-Saluzzi freely traverses the spaces reportedly separating musical genres.

On his latest project, composed for and performed with the Rosamunde Quartett, Saluzzi beautifully crosses over between cultures and musical preconceptions. His very instrument emigrated from Germany to Argentina, and then back again, as tango swept the European imagination. Over the past many years, Saluzzi’s range of projects for the German-based ECM label have involved jazz improvisers and Argentine folklore, among other notions running through the Argentine’s head.

Now, with poetry and logic, comes Dino Saluzzi, Rosamunde Quartett, Kultrum (ECM New Series 1638; 60:11). Saluzzi’s new foray into chamber music, and the world of the string quartet. The Munich-based Rosamunde Quartett is a prime candidate for Saluzzi’s bittersweet scores, in which the composer himself plays the role of a one-person reed voice, seamlessly integrated into the string players’ fabric. The music itself is about muted, exploratory passions, a place where tango music, Argentine folk sonorities, post-Bartok harmony, and the kind of contemplative atmosphere ECM is known for happily coexist.

Originally Published