Håkon Skogstad merges Tango and Classical in his incredible new album 'Visions of Tango'

Made up of arrangements as well as new material, it's available everywhere now


Quite Great

Norwegian piano composer and performer Håkon Skogstad is making music his way. Classically trained and currently pursuing a PhD in classical performance, he is using Argentinean influences to create beautiful musical fusion and his own sound. This is fully realised on ‘Visions of Tango’, an 11-track masterpiece featuring Håkon on piano with the critically acclaimed Norwegian string orchestra The Trondheim Soloists and former principal violinist of the Norwegian Radio Orchestra Atle Sponberg. It even includes a four movement journey into the ‘Histoire Du Tango’ – arranged for violin and piano, influenced by Skogstad’s unique playing style.

Håkon Skogstad (b.1989) is a prize-awarded and musically diverse pianist and composer holding degrees in classical performance from Trondheim, Oslo and New York. He has performed in critically acclaimed ensembles and as a soloist throughout Norway, and played concerts in the U.S., Argentina, Germany, Austria and Sweden. Skogstad released three recordings with recognized tango ensembles in Norway, as well as his debut solo album “Two Hands to Tango” – which has received numerous outstanding reviews worldwide. “… his playing is total precision and full of fiery emotion.” (Dick Metcalf, Contemporary Fusion Reviews), “Skogstad’s touch is rich and romantic […] a collection of tasty treats” (George W. Harris, http://www.jazzweekly.com), "In this way, Skogstad reformulates the use of the piano in the genre and gives it an absolutely personal characteristic, to which he adds a precise technical interpretation not without subtle moments of improvisation." (Carlos Salatino, Tiempo Argentino).

"In my previous album "Two Hands to Tango", I combined my experience from tango, classical and jazz playing to establish a new pianistic performance style in nuevo tango music - greatly inspired from the playing style of the bandoneón. In "Visions of Tango", this style is further developed through my compositions and arrangements with the piano in front of the string orchestra, as well as in duo with the violin." 

Concerto for Piano and String Orchestra in four movements is “riff-driven classical music rooted in the rhythms, articulation and timing of the Argentine tango”. The music dances its way through the resolute, fiery and passionate, to the joyful, expressive and sublime. The piano part is a culmination of classical virtuosity and tango expressiveness. 

Histoire du Tango, originally written for flute and guitar by Astor Piazzolla, explores the evolution of tango – from the up-tempo and high-spirited milonga of the Bordello, through the nostalgic melancholia of the Café, to the Nuevo tango of the Nightclubs and finally – “The concert of today” – in harmonies inspired by Bartók and Stravinsky, but grounded the rhythm of a milonga.

Allegro Tangabile is an instrumental piece from the «tango operita» Maria de Buenos Aires by Astor Piazzolla. In his arrangement, Skogstad has attempted to realize the bandoneon part in the piano -  a tribute not just to the music, but also to Piazzolla - the performer. 

Tres Minutos con la Realidad is a less known Piazzolla tango and a good example of his more provocative compositions – using contemporary harmonies of his day and thus pushing the limits of what a tango could be. 

Adios Nonino is perhaps the most famous composition of Piazzolla. It was composed when Astor heard the news of his father’s passing. The piece typically starts with a piano cadenza, and the most influential pianists who played with Piazzolla made their own. Skogstad’s cadenza is in the footsteps of this tradition.

Source Quite Great

June 7, 2021 6:26am ET by Quite Great  


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