An Argentinian composer abroad has something more to say in his tangos

Twenty years ago, Alejandro Fasanini – Argentinian musician and composer – decided to leave for the continent of his ancestors. But he did not leave Argentina unaccompanied: he sailed off together with his nostalgia, and this nostalgia he sublimated into music, made it into tango. Thus, in 2010, he released some original pieces of his own, played by an orchestra that Alejandro himself put together, and which he decided to call “Hijos ilegítimos de Astor,” the “Illegitimate Children of Astor.” Astor Piazzolla, the extraordinary twentieth-century Argentinian composer and bandoneonist, is a fundamental forefather for Alejandro, whose works continue in Piazzolla’s footsteps as we can appreciate in the magnificent forms of Alejandro’s first two albums.

“Tentación tango” and “Intuición tango” are the respective titles of these first two albums. They belong to a trilogy of contemporary tango compositions that I hope will soon be released in its entirety for the delight of all tango lovers. The third album, “Contemplación tango,” I believe will strike us as surprisingly modern.

“Tentación tango” was composed almost a decade before its release. In this album, we find the musician’s constant harking back to his own origins, tied to a place which he can never entirely leave nor return to, his beloved Buenos Aires – a complex feeling that the musician is capable of communicating with great emotional depth. In “Tentación tango” we enjoy exquisite dialogues between the voices of the bandoneon and those of the strings, dialogues in which main and secondary voices are delicately balanced. Notwithstanding this balance, we can still appreciate that each instrument is given an important role as well as its own highlights – each instrument having their say at the appropriate moment.

Alejandro displays great agility in combining moments of wonderful delicateness and brilliance of a single instrument with moments tinged by intense sonorities when the orchestra plays ensemble. He manages to skillfully handle different affective landscapes – where nostalgia always forms the background – so as to provoke deep emotional responses in the listener.

In a few tangos another important element appears: it is a female voice which perfectly interprets las letras (the lyrics) – also written by Alejandro – and their tales of falling in and out of love, meeting and parting, presence and absence. The music, the voice, and the instruments create an articulate soundscape in the hands of a solid orchestra, capable of perfectly interpreting the author’s project.

His second album, “Intuición tango,” was composed and recorded in 2013. Alejandro displays the ability to create a soundscape that flows between retro and up-to-date influences, bringing together the past and the present, encouraging a constant dialogue between the two. The material is extremely attractive and potentially more complex, and it knows how to apply further timbric qualities of the instruments in the orchestra as well as further compositional resources. Although the author’s distinctive style is still intact, preserving the same emotions and the forms through which these emotions are communicated, here we notice a musician who knows how to cultivate beauty both in his musical expression and in the handling of harmonic atmospheres. Alejandro appears less nostalgic, and the lyrics deal fundamentally with the meaning of human life.The female singer offers a beautiful interpretation by using multiple expressive devices together with the intense passion she pours into singing each of the melodies.

I expect “Contemplación tango” to be a real surprise, because this musician is raising the bet. I think he has learned how to live with his nostalgia and that he has managed to fill the gap of his displacement with tango, this popular music that is also universal, elaborate, and sophisticated. Alejandro feels tango in the flesh and in the soul, shares it with others, and above all celebrates it in every single one of his melodies. Throughout his trajectory, it strikes me how similar and yet how different Alejandro’s music is from Don Astor’s. The ties this Argentine musician establishes between his works and those of Piazzolla are the emotional core of his music, a music that is so versatile and dynamic. This is why I am waiting so eagerly for the last part of his trilogy: this Argentinian has much more to say.
Alejandro Fasanini – Bandoneón, Composer
Giampaolo Costantini – Bandoneón, Daniela Ferrati – Piano, Riccardo Bertozzini – Guitar, Francesco Bonacini – Violin, Aurelio Venanzi – Viola, Andrea Agostinelli – Cello, Giacomo Dominici, Ivan Stavro Gambini – Percussions, Valeria Visconti – voice
(In “Tentación Tango”: Gianluca Gian Luca Ravaglia – Basso and Francesca Giordanino – Violin)

Trad. Maria Paola Svampa

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