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Flute Music from Argentina

Exequiel Mantega, Astor Piazzolla


World Premiere Recordings



“In his works for flute, Exequiel Mantega captures the sound of our times without resorting to the cheapness and banality that other composers use to create vividness… Of all the people besides Gary Shocker who might create a duet version of Piazzolla’s famous Tango Studies, Exequiel Mantega would have to be at the top of the list. Hear them as never before! … flute playing is aggressive and punchy but not harsh, and a few extended techniques are rendered very well. I have enjoyed this program so thoroughly it is certainly a contender for the Best of the Year list. Don’t wait until then to hear it!”
Gorman, American Record Guide [May/June 2016]
“[In Emigrantes] Yarritu soon seeps into a warm and voluptuous lower register. Yarritu’s sound has a sturdy core; no matter how much she varies her tone color, she always maintains a steely center to her playing Emigrantes is a wonderful blend of jazz, tango, and classical Western tradition... [In Celebracion] Yarritu plays with laser-accurate intonation in passages of unison between flute and piano, and Mantiega’s accompaniment is thunderous and expansive without ever drowning out the flute... [In Avestruz] Yarritu’s tone on the alto flute is thick and warm... Yarritu and Fain complement each other’s playing extremely well in their performance of Piazzolla’s Tango Études... This is one of the most successfully innovative flute albums I’ve heard in as long as I can remember. Highly recommended.”
Natalie Piontek, Fanfare [March/April 2016]
“The infectious performances present sounds familiar enough but adventurous enough to entice, and their arrangements exude fiery energy and reflective beauty by turn... While Patrick Gallois’s version of these études for solo flute, taped over 20 years ago, are certainly excellent, it is a real point of fascination to hear the first of them with Exequiel Mantega’s counterpoint fleshing out the harmonic implications. His additions of rhythmic elements in the last are equally convincing, as are the lovely drones and harmonies that caress the fourth’s sweet and sinewy melody. The duo plays with precision and finesse, making light of even the most difficult passages. Mantega’s compositions, much more recent than those of Piazzolla, mirror the imagination of his arrangements and of his pianism. Emigrantes, the three-part work from which the disc’s title is derived, is ushered in by Yarritu’s breathily high-frequency invocations and a gorgeously rolled C-Minor chord from a particularly well-recorded piano. Every nuance Mantega brings to his own music, not to mention those offered by Yarritu, would be for naught if the recording were lacking in any way. Fortunately, the huge and hugely emotional crescendo that kicks the first part into high gear, just before that infectious series of ostinatos takes over, is brilliantly captured... This is excellent music, performed by obvious experts with the same excitement and enthusiasm that birthed it.”
Marc Medwin, Fanfare [March/April 2016]
“While this CD is a bit outside my normal Fach as critic, I must say that I enjoyed it a great deal. Mantega’s compositions are excellent light music, engaging and beautifully crafted. Lovers of Piazzolla’s Concierto para quinteto may balk at the loss of exotic tonal coloration, but there is no denying, considered on its own merits, that Mantega’s version is fascinating flute recital music. Yarritu and Mantega certainly are impressive advocates… there is something wonderfully appealing about [the Etude] performances, and the interplay of the two flutists is truly a joy. Flutists will certainly enjoy hearing their instrument so effectively deployed in a repertoire in which it is seldom heard, and fanciers of the tango may well find this a winning take on the form.”
Ronald E. Grames, Fanfare [March/April 2016]
“The writing [of Mantega] is tremendously impressive, and the piano has real presence. Darkly scored, the music grows to the glowing intensity of smoldering embers. The contrasting, rapid section is performed with great verve… [Litoral] refers to a village in northwestern Argentina, and musically points to the folk music to be encountered there. A gentle, slow tango, it is most beautifully played here... Montega’s two-flute arrangement of Piazzolla’s Tango Études speaks of great intimacy... The free nature of Étude No. 2 is beautifully projected here; the intimate but not too close recording emphasizes this impression of a succession of whispered confidences... [In Concierto para quinteto] the piano takes on the role of bandoneon, while solo flute takes the melody. This is a spirited, life-enhancing performance; rhythms have great lift, and there is an airiness to the phrasing that is most inviting. In recording terms, the flutes are perfectly caught... [an] eminently worthwhile disc.”
Colin Clarke, Fanfare [March/April 2016]
“Emigrantes reflects both the spirit of the Tango and the seemingly endless imagination of its composer... The music here is energetic and very fast-paced, as the title suggests... Piazzolla’s Concierto para Quinteto is heard in Mantega’s arrangement for flute and piano in which the partners manage to incorporate lines originally intended for instruments as diverse as the bandoneon, double bass, guitar, and clarinet. How they do that is a miracle of their incredible artistry. Mantega’s piano assays slaps and beats evocative of a percussive instrument. Yarritu shows us the versatilty of the flute, an instrument usually associated with seamless legato melodies. But, as she demonstrates most persuasively, it can also encompass highly rhythmical passages infused with the vibrant spirit of the Tango.”
Phil Muse, Audio Society of Atlanta [Christmas 2015]
When one thinks of tango, the flute isn’t the first instrument that comes to mind. In the last decade or so, a resurgence of instrumental tango music in Buenos Aires has been described as the “new” golden age for the genre, especially so for the flute, which was one of the original instruments in tango. After many decades of non-existence, the flute takes on a prominent role in the music offered here. It is well known that Argentine Tango is a rich mixture of Afro-Cuban, European and indigenous music. Renowned tango musicians of the 1930s and 1940s such as Juan D’Arienzo, Carlos Di Sarli, Aníbal Troilo, Alfredo Gobbi, Osvaldo Pugliese and Horacio Salgán developed diverse tango styles specific to their orchestras that made a considerable impact on the tango that is well-known around the world. Astor Piazzolla brought the musical form “back to life” after its decline in the late 1960s by infusing jazz and classical music into his own compositions. In the present day, tango is alive and well in Buenos Aires. Specialized schools are teaching tango to the the younger generations. Composers and arrangers are feverishly writing, recording, teaching and performing their music in and around Argentina and all over the world, namely Europe and the United States. The term tango in this album, also refers to Argentine music outside of Buenos Aires in places like the Andes, the northwest (Litoral) and southern Brazil.

California native Elena Yarritu enjoys an active career as soloist, chamber musician, conductor and teacher. Yarritu performs principal flute in the La Jolla Symphony under the direction of Steven Schick and serves as the North American coordinator for Tango Para Músicos, an international tango festival for musicians, held in Buenos Aires and in Portland, Oregon. In the summer of 2015, she joined the distinguished faculty of the IdyllwildARTS Summer Music program in Idyllwild, California. Yarritu has performed solo recitals in The Netherlands, France, Estonia, Czech Republic, Moldova, California and most notably in New York at Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall with pianist Hee-Kyung Juhn. She has earned a Master’s degree from Yale University School of Music, a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Stony Brook University in New York and has worked and studied in Paris. Yarritu plays a 14K Sankyo flute. [ www.elenayarritu.com ]

Flutist and composer Paulina Fain is the director of the Método de Tango series published by Ricordi House, a unique series of bilingual instrumental method books. This series includes The Flute in Tango, a guide that presents her original method for applying tango phrasing and articulation to the playing of wind instruments, with a particular focus on flute, opening up the possibility for tango to be rediscovered. She is also the director of Tango Para Músicos, the Annual International Congress which teaches the tango form to musicians from all around the world. In the United States, she is the artistic director of the yearly Tango For Musicians program at Reed College, in Portland, Oregon. As a performer, she has toured widely and has presented concerts and master classes throughout the world with pianist Exequiel Mantega as the Fain-Mantega Duo, a collaboration that explores the limits of the genre and has established a new role and sound for the flute in tango. Fain also directs the Buenos Aires-based nonprofit arts organization Tango Sin Fin, which promotes Argentine music and music education locally and internationally. Fain is a Yamaha Artist.

A prolific composer and arranger, pianist Exequiel Mantega has published more than 70 works, including a new edition of Astor Piazzolla’s Tango-Etudes arranged for two flutes. Mantega has contributed to more than a dozen recordings, including three with Duo Fain-Mantega, and participated in more than 100 concerts and seminars on tango music in Europe and the United States, where his works and arrangements are performed by a wide variety of ensembles. In Buenos Aires, he is the general producer of Tango Para Músicos, and in the United States, serve as artistic faculty for Tango For Musicians at Reed College. Alongside Paulina Fain, he is co-founder of the Buenos Aires-based nonprofit arts organization Tango Sin Fin. Mantega performs on a Yamaha C7 piano.

EMIGRANTES for Flute and Piano
Part I – El Día Después
Part II – Litoral
Part III – Celebración

AVESTRUZ for Alto Flute and Piano

EL SOPLETE for Flute Quartet

TANGO ETUDES for Two Flutes
Arranged by Exequiel Mantega; Revised by Paulina Fain
Etude No.1 (Decidido)
Etude No.2 (Ancioso y rubato)
Etude No.3 (Molto marcato e energico)
Etude No.4 (Meditativo)
Etude No.5
Etude No.6 (Con ancioso)

Arranged by Exequiel Mantega

MSR Classics
Contemporary Works for Flute & Piano