As a child in Buenos Aires in the late 40s, pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim developed such a taste for tango that years later, after he’d settled down in Europe, he would entertain friends with impromptu arrangements of the ballroom tunes he’d learned in those early years. When he returned to his hometown last year on tour, the CSO maestro asked to play tangos with a few local musicians; his jam sessions–with bandoneon ace Rodolfo Mederos and bassist Hector Console–turned out to be so much fun that a recording deal was struck right away. The result is the CD Tangos Among Friends–Mi Buenos Aires Querido (Teldec), which in the midst of tango fever on both sides of the Atlantic has climbed atop the crossover charts. On the album’s title tune (by the great tango popularizer Carlos Gardel and rearranged by Alfredo Le Pera), Barenboim’s arpeggio-heavy lines and markedly shifting dynamics lend a modernist touch that lessens the tango’s penchant for maudlin sentimentality. His extravagant flourishes–which bring to mind Chopin, Brahms, and Rachmaninoff–seem to at once disdain and glorify the lowly origins of the dance that elevated foreplay into a spectacle sport. This concert inaugurates Orchestra Hall’s new world-music series. Friday, 9 PM, Orchestra Hall, 220 S. Michigan; 294-3020.


Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by Estudio Massa.