"A journey, on the strings of two classical guitars, in the fascinating world of the Argentinian Tango."
“Tango keeps unaltered its charm and therefore a disk which offers some great touches of it, with a distinctive and evocative soul, is more than welcome: the guitar duo formed by Massimo Riva and Gian Paolo Lopresti.
It exhales a romantic serenade fragrance that ideally suits to a genre which is maliciously connected, somehow, to sinful things.
Tango, although popular origins in an “etiquette-less” background, has caught everyone's heart. This must, in the end, have a meaning. It demonstrates that Tango, as a musical genre, is artistic to the utmost.
It is certainly not a coincidence that not only "Specialists" like Astor Piazzolla, but also high rank musicians and eclectic composers of undoubtedly "classical" sphere (in the broad sense of the word) took possession of it - like Stravinsky and Schnittke did.”
(Leonardo Osella - music critic of “La Stampa” - Turin)
This work is a journey, on the strings of two classical guitars, in the fascinating world of the Argentinian Tango.
The guitar is one of the instruments that is at the origins of this dance. One of the typical formations (conjuntos) of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries were made up of the flute (or clarinet), violin and guitar. Already endowed with archaic and evocative sounds, adopted from its roots, it provides a metaphoric and nostalgic memory.
During its course over a considerable number of years, it unravels stylistic characteristics of the genre which have both multiplied and evolved.
The track “El Choclo”, composed by Àngel Gregorio Villoldo in 1903, belongs to the original Tango, one of the first to arrive in Europe. The title means “The Cob” (as in corn-on-the-cob), which for a long time, had a sexual “double entendre” attributed to it. In reality, it would appear that the composer dedicated the song to a friend, who, thanks to an amusing tuft of hair, similar to that of the “beard” of the corn on the cob, was called “El Choclo”.
At closer inspection, effectively, the music appears to be more like an affectionate portrait sketched by Villoldo which is in some ironic fashion, somewhat mocking and comical, similarly, the same way in which, probably, the character Josè Roncallo would have appeared.
The guitar arrangement, conceived in a free and authentic style, leaves us with, when all is said and done, a well-recognizable melodic profile, harmonic function and structural framework, which continues in most of the other recorded pieces. The originality of the works has a base, which is idiomatically functional at an esthetic level and a guitar “handwriting” which has a privileged perspective.
Beginning in the 1920’s, the Tango was a phenomenon that easily crossed over national boundaries. Even across North America, they were “infected” by this irresistible fever. Many American artists performed Anglicized versions of some of the most popular Tangos. The Tango returned to Argentina slightly changed, which became the phenomenon “de hida y vuelta” (There and Back), which from set out from its origins, and was then characterized by influences Buenos Aires, Europe, Africa and North America.
The pianist and composer, Juilio Cesar Sanders, is especially associated with the “tango-cancion” “Adios Muchachos” (1927), one of the most celebrated Tangos, sung by, among others, Louis Armstrong (“I get Idea”).
The decision, in this album, to use a slower time signature and the tremolo technique, makes the piece a bittersweet ballad that befits the sad words of the original text by Cesar Vedani.
In 1924, Julio De Caro founded his legendary sextet, destined to define a style and age of the Tango called in fact, “Decarian”. It is sophisticated and romantic music, and generally instrumental, which flirts with intimate North American songs but also characterizes the energetic, rhythmical breaks. It is the Tango of the new, Argentinian executive classes.
“Flores negras”, a “tango-romanza”, is both lyrical and melodic with a strong romantic text, and was composed in 1928 by his brother Francisco De Caro.
From Carlos Gardel, singer, actor composer and legendary character in the world of Tango, we have two pieces: “Golondrinas” and “Volver”.
The first, a “tango-romanza” with text by Alfredo Le Pera, is heard in the film of the same name from 1934, and is one of a long series performed by Gardel himself.
“El Dia que me quieras” (1935), directed by John Reinhardt for Paramount Studios was considered to be the best film interpreted by Carlos Gardel. It certainly contains some of the most beautiful songs such as the sentimental “Volver”.
In the 20’s, the most renowned Tango musicians played the “Bandoneòn”. Pedro Laurenz was one of these. Sought after by the most important orchestras, including that of Julio de Caro, he birthed this formation in 1934. He is considered one of the greatest composers in the history of Tango. In the arrangement of the duet, “Milonga de mis amores” (1937), the song undergoes a type of dissection and reassembly, in a virtuosic context, in which the guitars “chase each other” playfully.
Known as the best Bandoneòn in Buenos Aires, and authentic icon of the Tango, Aníbal Troilo could boast collaboration with the most important orchestras of the 1930’s. “Romance de barrio” (1947), one of his numerous successful compositions, is a Vals Criollo, a dance in 3/4 derived from the Viennese Waltz but with the typical sound of the Tango and a certain ambiguous metric owing to the movement of accents, that sometimes gives us the sensation of being in two time signatures.
“La Trampera” is an amusing and energetic instrumental Tango-Milonga from 1951 that was part of a very famous musical in Argentina: “Buenas noches Buenos Aires”. In 1964 it became a film in which Troilo plays a tasteful version with the celebrated guitarist Roberto Grela.
La Milonga also has a slow variation, which preserves the characteristic rhythmic forms of the original, and is normally in the minor key.
As in the case of the beautiful and heart-wrenching Milonga of the historical Argentinian composer Alberto Ginastera “Canción al àrbol del olvido”, from the work “Dos Canciones op. 3 for tenor and Pianoforte” (1938), with the text by the Uruguayan poet Fernán Silva Valdés, traditional elements are found in that popular genre which are transformed into an elegant, cultured representative synthesis.
The pianist and composer Ariel Ramírez, fascinated by the popular music of the countryside and mountain regions, dedicated a sweet, romantic Zamba “Alfonsina y el mar” (lyrics by Felix Luna) to the distressed life of the Argentinian poetess, of Ticino decent, Alfonsina Storni, who committed suicide at sea. The interest point of this popular Argentinian dance is that it is made up of an overlapping of 6/8 and 3/4 time signatures.
Journeying through Argentinian Tango we cannot but meet a legendary figure, a genius of the 1900’s who forever upset the characteristics of the porteña dance (of Buenas Aires): Astor Piazzolla. Presented in this work are “La muerte del Ángel” (1962) and “Vuelvo al Sur” (1988).
The first belongs to the Serie del Ángel (Introducción al Ángel, Milonga del Ángel, Muerte del Ángel and Resurrección del Ángel), composed by the celebrated Quinteto Nuevo Tango, here lives,
in this small space of this transcript for two guitars, a rather bold dimension that has the flavor of a bigger challenge.
“Vuelvo al Sur”, a desperate and nostalgic song on the theme of “the return” (in Argentina, at the fall of Videla) makes up part of the sound track of Sur, directed by Fernando Solanas in 1988, a protest film against the Argentinian Dictatorship and the destiny of the “desaparecidos”.
Gian Paolo Lopresti
“[…] today he lives in a dimension of the guitarist/composer, who is attentive to the many stylistic influences imposed in our time, sensitive to the thousands of messages, receptive and adaptable, and to even more than the world of sound that it offers. [...]”
(Maurizio Colonna, Guitar Club, March 2003)
Guitar teacher at a middle school in Torino, Italy and at the “Laboratorio del Suono” (Sermig), holds a diploma in Guitar, under the guidance of Maestro Maurizio Colonna, awarded highest honors in Teaching Music.
From 2009 to the present, with maximum marks, received the “Diploma di Secondo Livello per la Formazione Docenti di Strumento Musicale”, from the Conservatorio di Torino.
He attended master classes, with among others, Alirio Diaz and Leo Brouwer and has won both national and international awards.
From 2006 he collaborated with the “Fondazione Tancredi di Barolo - Museo della Scuola e del Libro per l’infanzia” for the planning and realization of a Musical Workshop, “Giocosuonoimparo” (Play, play, learn), developed in association with the Workshop of the Teatro Regio di Torino.
Together with the flautist Alessandro Molinaro, produced the CD “Musiques enchantées” for the publishers Niccolò, of French composers of the 1800’s and 1900’s.
For the publishers “Sinfonica” from Milan (distrib. Nuova Carisch), he produced "Fantasia I" for guitar and “Notturno” for flute and guitar.
His musical career as a soloist, has led him to work in collaboration both in chamber and full orchestras including the Filarmonica ‘900 del Teatro Regio di Torino, Unione Musicale, Accademia Calatina, Festival di Bordighera, A.GI.MUS. etc.
Along with the l'Orchestra dell'Arsenale della Pace (Sermig) he performed in the Sala Paolo VI, in the Vatican, in the presence of Pope Giovanni Paolo II, and under the direction of Salvatore Accardo, at the Sermig Auditorium of Torino.
A guitarist awarded a diploma with honors in 2002 at the Conservatorio “G. Verdi” di Torino, under the guidance of Maestro Pier Luigi Cimma. In 2006 he completed his studies, graduating in Musical Disciplines with Maestro Paolo Garganese.
From 2002 to 2003 he attended Masterclasses of “Musica en Compostela” a Santiago de Compostela (Spain), which, from 1957 has dealt with training professional performers and students from all over the world in classical Spanish musical repertoire with the participation of some of the greatest national musicians, including Andrès Segovia, who firstly, taught as head professor of guitar, and now with a Maestro of the Conservatory of Madrid, Jose Luis Rodrigo.
He has participated in other various Masterclasses with Alirio Diaz, Wolfgang Lendle, Leo Brouwer and Leonardo De Angelis.
His real interest is in medieval music, a knowledge of which he seeks to deepen, and studies Renaissance lute with Hopkinson Smith, and the Theorbo with Mario D’Agosto, working with l’Ensemble Barocco del Conservatorio di Torino.
His musical career as a soloist has taken him to many important events, such as in 2002 at the Piccolo Regio di Torino, of which he was the highest qualified guitarist of the year; at the Auditorium del Conservatorio di Torino in various seasonal concerts and the Wednesday concert lectures at the Conservatorio; in 2004 for Settembre Musica, as a performer of the works of Goffredo Petrassi, in the commemorative year of the death of the composer; at Santiago de Compostela and in Galizia; as a performer, also at the Perugia Classica show in 2003.
In the same year, he was the promoter and organizer of numerous events at the International Festival of Guitar and Lute, “Nova Camerata dei Bardi”, in Bardonecchia, north western Italy near Torino; a project born in association with Maestro Pier Luigi Cimma, he procured the participation of some of the most authoritative and well known artists of the international concert scene, including Leonardo De Angelis.