Carel Kraayenhof and his Kraayenhof Tango Ensemble. Solists: Quirine Viersen (cello), Stijn van Beek (uilleann pipes, low whistle). Attended: Amsterdam, Concertgebouw, July 28.
Review: Het Parool,July 30th 2007Kraayenhof presents a pearl of improvisationCarel Kraayenhof will always be remembered for having made Princess Maxima cry with his Argentinian bandoneon sound but that occasion gave the bandoneon player the fame that he needed to show the world what he can do. Since the wedding that appears to be much more than performing the Argentinian tango in all its aspects. So it was a good idea to let him fill five programmes as part of the Robeco Summerconcerts in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw last weekend.There was a session with Irish influences and one with pure tango; there was an afternoon of a tango lecture and an afternoon of dancing (Tango Milonga), with his Sexteto Canyengue. Most interesting perhaps was the Saturday night programme when, in a fully sold-out venue, he presented his new orchestra: The Kraayenhof Tango Ensemble.Large parts of his cd-repertoire need an orchestral accompaniment. His first choice, the Sinfonietta Amsterdam, was on holiday and so he decided to form his own orchestra. The result was a beautiful collective of seventeen musicians around his own Sexteto Canyengue that turned out to be the heart of the whole event.Apparently effortlessly the ‘collective’, mainly consisting of string-players, went along with Kraayenhof’s changes of tempo – a dream ensemble, a pearl of improvisation.He also performed with this orchestra his arrangements of pieces from Bernstein’s ‘West Side Story’, both spectacle and musical poetry, and the premiere of ‘Te llevo en mi alma’, ‘I carry you in my soul’, a touching Cuban bolero, dedicated to his father, in which he played the piano himself.The revelation of the evening however was the co-operation with cello-player Quirine Viersen. She played tangos with Kraayenhof, some by Kurt Weill, and a handful of traditional Argentinian pieces – music not belonging to the classical cello repertoire, but played by Viersen to a world level.In such a rich programme he couldn’t miss out ‘Adiós Nonino’, the piece which produced those Argentinian wedding tears five years ago but still doesn’t sound like a hackneyed tearjerker. As on that previous occasion the public showed its appreciation in a moment’s silence.