London Tango Quintet with Craig Ogden
October 15 2021
Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham
Review: William Ruff
Passion, energy and the sort of virtuosity which never took itself seriously
Unlike Noel Coward’s Señorita Nina from Argentina who despised the Tango, Australian guitarist and his four friends in the London Tango Quintet clearly love it. And so Friday night in the Royal Concert Hall was as joyous a celebration of that quintessential Latin dance as you’re likely to get without boarding a plane to Buenos Aires and flying 7000 miles.
Although it all started at 7.30 rather than midnight and we didn’t have the milongas, the body contact, the cigarette smoke and the yerba mate we did have lots of atmospheric music, all played with passion, energy and the sort of virtuosity which never took itself seriously.
Despite the overarching Tango theme there was variety too. For the first part of the programme Craig Ogden was alone on stage demonstrating why he has the reputation of being one of the world’s premier classical guitarists, starting with Chôros No 1 by Villa-Lobos as well as paying homage to Aguardo, a major figure in the guitar world from 200 years ago. As well as impressing with his virtuosity Craig Ogden has a way with words too, good at banter and anecdotes.
When the Quintet took to the stage they played Tangos old and new as well as some highly entertaining party pieces. Violinist David Juritz played the impossible-sounding Banjo and Fiddle by William Kroll, pianist David Gordon played his own Bebop Tango and the accordion player Miloš Milivojević played a dazzling arrangement of Asturias by Isaac Albéniz.
But there was one Tango composer who dominated the evening: Astor Piazzolla, the man who turned Tango into an art form, who experimented with form and technique, who made it jazzy and complex. The Quintet movingly performed the piece which Piazzolla dedicated to his father Adios Nonino as well as his most famous numbers: Solidad and Libertango. This was music clearly in the Quintet’s bloodstream and the audience loved it.
London Tango Quintet
Craig Ogden, guitar
David Juritz, violin
Miloš Milivojević, accordion
David Gordon, piano
Richard Pryce, double bass