Piazzolla: María de Buenos Aires

Who is María? Horacio Ferrer, lyricist of this unconventional ‘operita’, said that she was a representation of Buenos Aires, embodying the spirit of tango itself. María de Buenos Aires lies outside any known genre. If it has antecedents, they are Weill/Brecht’s The Threepenny Opera and Bernstein/Sondheim’s West Side Story.

According to Ferrer, its highly poetic libretto was written ‘not to be understood, but to create emotion and atmosphere’. Piazzolla’s music, too, offers a charged mix of classical forms and Argentinian traditions – milonga, tango and the sparring spoken word of the traditional payada.

In this, the first major recording since the 1980s, Delphian stalwarts Mr McFall’s Chamber are joined by their long-term collaborators Valentina Montoya Martínez and Nicholas Mulroy, narrator Juanjo Lopez Vidal, and internationally acclaimed tango musicians Victor Villena and Cyril Garac.

"Valentina Montoya Martinez gives the central character a full-flavoured vocal embodiment, intelligently supported by Juanjo Lopez Vidal as the narrator figure…Additional authenticity is supplied by bandoneon player and music director Victor Villena."

"Rhythms are crisp and precise throughout, and the pristine sound brings out plenty of sharply focused instrumental detail. Montoya Martinez, her voice earthy and lived-in, captures the defiance and vitality that drive Marìa on…Best of all, perhaps, is Nicholas Mulroy…singing milongas like one born to it. Exhilaratingly done, and a fine achievement"

"The sultry exchanges between violin and bandoneon are irresistible, as are the voices: smoky narration from Juanjo Lopez Vidal, with Valentina Montoya Martinez unflinching as Maria, and huge-hearted chansons from Nicholas Mulroy. If you know him as Bach’s Evangelist, just wait till you hear his way with a slow milonga. Devastating."

"I think I’ll continue to be fascinated and slightly baffled by Piazzólla’s surreal ‘tango operita’ for months to come, thanks to this scorched-earth recording from quirky Scottish chamber ensemble MrMcFalls’ Chamber. Best known in baroque repertoire, tenor Nicholas Mulroy is outstanding (and unrecognisable!) in multiple roles such as ‘Gaucho Itinerant Singer’ and ‘Sleepy Buenos Aires Sparrow’."

"a performance of slow-burning, appropriately sultry and sinewy sensuality"


" Villena’s playing is magnificent, and his direction of the superb instrumental and vocal forces truly inspired. Add to this a splendidly detailed and atmospheric recording, and one can scarcely imagine hearing one of Piazzolla’s most ambitious works in a more favourable or sympathetic light."

Producer: Paul Baxter
Physical format: Digipak
Number of discs: 2
Number of tracks: 17
Total playing time: 1:28:12
First UK release date: 17 November 2017
Album ID: DCD34186


Maria de Buenos Aires

Romanza del duende poeta y curda


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Album Booklet

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