PREPÁRENSETHE PIAZZOLLA PROJECT
Wonkak Kim, clarinet
M. Brent Williams, violin
Katherine Decker, violoncello
Eun-Hee Park, piano
Transcriptions and Arrangements by M. Brent Williams
“enhake capture the essential core of Piazzolla's music: to please... The playing throughout is sublime... the intensity is real, the sounds gorgeous, the rhtythms infectious... In a chamber music series or at a classical music club, the fans would go wild. Enhake play as if each track were a universe in itself... razor-sharp yet warm recordings...”
Laurence Vittes, Gramophone [November 2016]
[ * * * * ] “M. Brent Williams is responsible for arranging Piazzolla for this recording, and he does so with considerable skill. All nine works here come across with a pleasant mixture of exotic sound, concert-hall solemnity and a kind of “street smarts... The CD is short...but long enough to give listeners a strong sense of the quality of Piazzolla’s music and the effectiveness of hearing it on instruments other than those for which it was originally composed.”
Mark J. Estren, InfoDad [May 2016]
“The opening of this disc, an arrangement of Revirado, is positively delightful. Carefree expression is not, perhaps, what one might immediately associate with Piazzolla, but it is not long before the aching nostalgia arrives. [Brent Williams'] arrangements are uniformly excellent and imaginative... The showpiece Escualo showcases Williams’s violin, and is thoroughly enjoyable; the performance is faultless... [Libertango] receives an arrangement and performance here of the utmost verve. The sense of ensemble is near-miraculous... The close recording accorded to enhakē [in Concierto para Quinteto] only enhances the sense of involvement... The cleanliness and sharpness of ensemble [in Prepárense] really pays off here... [In Kicho] Decker plays with intense concentration and confidence in the longer solos before the music breaks out into a blaze of energy... A most rewarding and enjoyable release. Piazzolla admirers need not hesitate.”
Colin Clarke, Fanfare [March/April 2016]
“playing of the very highest caliber”
“keen instinct for exciting programmes”
“strengths in balance, intonation, and musicality”
NEW YORK CONCERT REVIEW
PROGRAM NOTESIt seems lately that everyone is attempting to claim Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992) as their own. He was born on 11 March 1921 in Mar del Plata, Argentina, and although his music was largely disparaged by his countrymen for most of his life, the porteños at least seem to have changed their tune when he was eventually named the Illustrious Citizen of Buenos Aires in 1985. Astor and his immediate family moved to New York City in 1925 (when he was four) where he was to spend fourteen of his formative years. Speaking as a citizen of the United States, I can safely say that we were lucky to play a role in what he was to become. Another country with strong ties to this Tango Nuevo innovator was Italy. The birthplace of his grandparents (in Puglia on his father’s side and in Tuscany on his mother’s), he called that country his home starting in 1974 with the signing of his Curci-Pagani Music contract. The Italian audiences, as told by Piazzolla, always supported his musical adventures even when Argentina held tight to its “old guard” allegiances.
Considering that he studied with Argentina’s most revered composer, Alberto Ginastera, and one of the most famous composition teachers in the world at the time, Nadia Boulanger, it is no wonder why classical musicians like ourselves look to him. While growing up in New York, Piazzolla famously snuck out of the house on numerous occasions to hear greats like Cab Calloway play in Harlem. Later, he would also name Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson, and Stan Kenton as influences and he even collaborated with Gerry Mulligan and Gary Burton. The element of jazz in his music and the admiration given his work by modern jazz musicians, then, should come as no surprise. And of course, Piazzolla’s work is almost universally celebrated by today’s Argentine tangueros—even if it took longer than he would have liked. Given the wonderfully syncretic nature of his music, it is no wonder why audiences worldwide want to stake a claim on his legacy.
Celebrated for adventurous yet accessible programming, enhakē (in-HA-kee) has distinguished itself with performances of startling intensity. Drawing its name from the Seminole (Creek) word for “sound” or “call”, the group is comprised of clarinetist Wonkak Kim, violinist M. Brent Williams, cellist Katherine Decker, and pianist Eun-Hee Park. Their distinctive instrumentation provides a rare flexibility to perform repertoire from the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic eras in addition to the most captivating contemporary masterworks. The grand-prize winner of the Yellow Springs Chamber Music Competition (2009), gold medalist of the International Chamber Music Ensemble Competition at Carnegie Hall (2008), and laureate of the Osaka International Chamber Music Competition (2011), enhakē has successfully toured on three continents and in many of the world’s notable venues and series, including Carnegie Hall, the OK Mozart Festival, South Korea’s Young-San Arts Hall, the Pan-Music Festival at the Seoul Arts Center, and in Costa Rica at the Promising Artists of the 21st Century Series under the auspices of the United States Department of State and Costa Rica-North America Cultural Center. They have also been the ensemble-in-residence for the Albany Symphony Orchestra in Georgia and Tallahassee Youth Orchestras in Florida. Strong advocates for new music, enhakē has had works written for and dedicated to them by numerous leading composers including Libby Larsen, Peter Lieuwen, and Edward Knight. Members of the group have also been on faculty at the Chapel Hill International Chamber Music Workshop, Interlochen Center for the Arts, Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, and the Music in the Mountains Conservatory. As a recording ensemble, enhakē has CDs on the Naxos and Emeritus labels.
[ www.enhake.com ]
PROGRAMASTOR PIAZZOLLA (1921-1992)
Transcribed and arranged by M. Brent Williams
Concierto para Quinteto
Buenos Aires Hora Cero