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Posted: March 10, 2020

Tango King and the One-Hit Wonder at Studio 64

On Saturday, March 21, Studio 64 will play host to the popular chamber music trio, La Cafamore, from Rossland, which will be in Kimberley as part of their current tour of the Kootenays.

While the members of the La Cafamore trio will be familiar to many chamber music lovers in the region – Nina Horvath on piano, Carolyn Cameron on violin, and Maria Wang on cello – the music they are performing on this tour will not.

The intriguing title of the concert tour is ‘Tango King and the One-Hit Wonder,’ a title to beguile both the curious and the long-standing classical music lover alike. Perhaps the Tango King may be somewhat familiar to those knowledgeable about South American tango music, for he is Astor Piazzola, a major Argentinian tango composer and musician, master of the bandoneon (button accordion) and creator of “nuevo tango” which revolutionized traditional South American tango by incorporating elements of jazz and classical music.

Piazzola, born in 1921 in Argentina, spent much of his childhood in New York City, which may account for his interest in jazz and classical music. He recorded albums with both jazz saxophone great Gerry Mulligan and classical cellist Yo-Yo Ma. Back in Argentina he composed works for quintets of violin, electric guitar, piano, double bass and bandoneon, as well as music for full orchestra, for big bands, and for solo cello and bandoneon. His music has been featured in film scores, television, and commercials and has gained popularity in North America and Europe, though not so much in his native Argentina where the traditional tango still holds sway. Piazzola died in 1992.

The One-Hit Wonder, though, is less well known. He is Anton Arensky, who was a Russian romantic classical composer, pianist, and professor of music at the Moscow Conservatory, born in 1861, died in 1906. Arensky studied under Rimsky-Korsakov at the St. Petersburg Conservatory and was much influenced by the music of Tchaikovsky. He wrote chamber music for string quartets, piano trios, and a piano quintet as well as 11 orchestral pieces, three operas, a ballet, and many solo piano pieces. He is probably best known for his ‘Variations on a Theme of Tchaikovsky.’ Is this, perhaps, his one hit?

You’ll have to come to the La Cafamore concert on March 21 to find out. The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are just $20, available in advance from Centre 64 (250-427-4919 or [email protected]) or at the door.

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