Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Review -- QUARTANGO -- El Fuego

Justin Time

Is there any substitute for experience? Yes the question is a cliche, but in the case of Quartango, it begs to be asked since this quartet reaffirms that there is nothing like experience, even in the music business.
El Fuego marks the sixth recording by the quartet on the Justin Time label, and also celebrates their 25th anniversary. That speaks volumes for the Quebec-based group.
Quartango have an unabashed love affair with the tango going on, and that is reflected in the works here, but the music goes so much farther than a single ell-known dance step tune.
The four musicians here are; René Gosselin on double bass, Richard Hunt on piano, Douglas Schmidt on bandoneon (invented in Germany in 1855 that is essential in tango music), and Charles-Etienne Marchand on violin. As a unit the use the tango as a foundation over which they add elements of classical music to create amazing musical tapestries which are rich is flavours you would not necessarily expect when you start with the idea of a tango.
The word classical will scare a number of readers I am sure, but in this case don’t run. This is what I would call accessible classical. While of course significantly different in sound, the approach of Quartango reminds me much of the Canadian Brass. The vision of music that is classical, yet approachable seems to be central to both groups.
That certainly is the case here. El Fuego is light-hearted. It is music that is about passion and joy. Really what else could it be with the tango as its heartbeat.
A disk full of beautiful music with subtle nuances which seem to chase through the pieces like happy sprites at play.
This is a disk that really needs to be heard and appreciated.
Check them out at

-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper Dec. 2, 2009 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

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