NAXOS' highlight release for October 2017 is a very special recording titled Legacy, featuring violinist Tomás Cotik and pianist Tao Lin, commemorating the 25th anniversary of Astor Piazzolla’s death. This album includes some of the composer’s most memorable works, like the Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas, Milonga del ángel, Adiós nonino, and Balada para un loco. Other featured artists include singer Alfredo Lerida, percussionists Alex Wadner and Bradley Loudis, and double bassist Jeffrey Kipperman. Cotik and Lin previously collaborated on the popular Piazzolla album Tango Nuevo, in which Fanfare wrote “lovers of tango music will definitely want this fascinating disc.”
Nuevo tango master Astor Piazzolla (born 11 March 1921, died 4 July 1992) packed a lot of living into his writing and his playing.
Tango is the music of Buenos Aires, but the man who would challenge so many of the traditions and clichés within tango, and in doing so create the revolutionary Nuevo tango, was not even a porteño, as the inhabitants of Buenos Aires are called. Astor Piazzolla was born in Mar del Plata, a resort town on the Atlantic coast of Argentina, about 250 miles south of Buenos Aires. When he was just four years old, his family moved to New York’s Lower East Side, then a tough neighbourhood populated by gangsters seemingly from every denomination. Astor was short and walked with a limp due to a congenital condition, so he fought his way to respect. The other kids called him ‘Lefty’, acknowledging his punch.
He grew up listening to Italian songs, klezmer music, jazz and, late at night, the tangos his father played at home to alleviate his homesickness. Piazzolla hated tango, but when his father bought him a bandoneon, the button squeezebox that is the quintessential instrument of tango, he set out to learn it ‘just to please him’, he once said. There were no bandoneon teachers around, so he learned the instrument by playing transcriptions of Bach, Schumann and Mozart. He was 13 when he met the iconic tango singer Carlos Gardel, in town to shoot a couple of movies for Paramount. After hearing him play, Gardel famously told him ‘Mirá pibe, el fuelle lo tocás bárbaro, pero al tango lo tocás como un gallego’ (‘Look kid, the squeezebox you play great, but the tango you play like a gringo’).
Piazzolla was still very much a gringo when the family returned to Argentina in 1937, three years later. Even his Spanish was not that good. While in Mar del Plata, he took bandoneon lessons and also heard violinist Elvino Vardaro’s sextet on the radio. His modernist approach awakened in him a new interest in tango. In 1939, he left Mar del Plata to try his luck in Buenos Aires. He joined the orchestra of the great bandoneonist and composer Anibal Troilo, and after a four-year apprenticeship, he left to form his own orchestra.
But playing tango for the dancers in a cabaret was never Piazzolla’s goal. He studied with composer Alberto Ginastera, wrote music for film and won a classical music competition that led to studies in Paris with Nadia Boulanger in 1954. Whatever musical technique she taught him, the most profound impact was her blessing of his tango. He didn’t have to be a classical musician to write serious music, he could be Piazzolla. So, upon his return to Buenos Aires in 1955, he formed his Octet, which marked a before and after in tango history.
“outstanding from the very beginning”
“a new way of looking at, understanding and perceiving music from different eras”
“The Piazzolla album is not just Cotik as brilliant interpreter, but also as creative mind.”
“Very recently I discovered this marvel ... two extraordinary instrumentalists who, combining their talents, achieve ... something great. ”
“brilliantly performs the complete series of sonatas composed by Mozart ... a masterful musical compendium ..... an essential, addictive set. An almost hypnotic musical journey ”
“clarity and tonal opulence rare in recordings of violin music”
“I’ve had a listen to a few alternatives…including Isaac Stern with Daniel Baremboim and Lydia Mordkovitch, but this duo pretty much ticks all the boxes”
“Cotik…honored not only his professions as musician, but the memory and work of Franz Schubert”
“a musician who prepares thoroughly and has great respect for the music he performs”
“Cotik’s performance is powerful and technically brilliant, the intonation always flawless,... fearless round, and well-balanced”
“violinist Tomas Cotik is always up for a new challenge”
“His pure sound, perfect intonation and fast tempos mean that Bach’s fiendishly difficult challenges become more exposed, yet he never misses a beat. The recording….captures the golden glow of his violin… in sound that is honest and clean”
“My first chamber choice for the year. ”
“this is clearly a team to watch. I am sure we will be hearing good things from them in the future”
“An ideal disc”
“Argentinean violinist Tomás Cotik... is not just another violinist. He is a passionate musician who always seems to get under the skin of the music he performs”
“Some of the music is sultry while other works are fast, rhythmic, and ornamented to show the exquisite virtuosity of Cotik”
“Warmly and sensitively played with beauty of tone, Cotik... captures the essence of Mozart in finely spun tone and sensitive contrasts in dynamics, rhythmic integrity, and clear phrasing. Their deeply felt rendition of this purest of music, from the carefree early sonatas to the more dramatic later opuses, is a model of transparency and genuine emotion. ”
“Cotik transcends even the profoundly meditative”
“intelligent and sensitive...glories in...colorations and shared emphasis”
“one comes away from the recording dazzled by Cotik's musicianship and technique; one is also struck by the agility of his execution, his expert command of tempo and intonation, and his ability to consistently maintain the highest level of performance ”
“Astor Piazzolla and its main interpreter is the Argentine violinist Tomas Cotik's ...musical maturity joins that way of feeling one's roots, which gives the experience of remoteness ”
“'What a Performance 2020' Award Winner”
“a work of high quality, for the originality of the arrangements and especially because he is an excellent instrumentalist ”
“the brilliant musicians’ ability to shift tempos...gracefully wring emotion from heartbreaking ballad tempos or generate fireworks with breakneck riffs...”
“I find the Cotik and Lin performances most interesting and the sound on their disc is excellent”
“The technical qualities of the recording - which is on the NAXOS label, by the way - are excellent.”
“None of these pieces has ever sounded quite like this before.”
“NOMINATED FOR THE INTERNATIONAL CLASSICAL MUSIC AWARDS 2018”
“I was immediately impressed by their virtuosity and also their understanding of Piazzolla’s music. I was anxious to see them perform in person”
“Cotik sounds consistently brilliant ”
“excellent Piazzollean style, which is not frequently found”
“A revealing album of the mastery of the young performers who sign it ”
“brilliant Argentinean violinist”
“Cotik scales Bach’s solo mountain with skill. His intricate yet soulful take is assured without ever being showy.”
“If anyone's up to the task, it's Cotik”
“Tomás Cotik’s deeply analytical playing adds to an exhilarating display of the musical wonders the composer saw in the violin”
“Everyone who plays these works should hear these exemplary performances...you will never hear these Telemann Fantasias played so well ”
“I marvel at the technical skill which effortlessly encompasses these deeply contrasting styles....a technical as well as expressive master stroke”
“The versions are optimal due to the stylistic understanding of the duo and the instrumental excellence of the admirable violinist. ”
“This album...immediately stands out as a recording of excellent quality. Equipped with a refined technique, Cotik interprets these masterpieces of Bach's genius with a deep sense of style thanks to an attention to phrasing ”
“wonderful album…impressive for the elegance and sensitivity of the interpretations”
“One imagines the Nuevo tango master would be as captivated as any listener by such exquisite performances.”
“Cotik has a consistently brilliant violinism and warm, enveloping sound ”
“Cotik Kicks Butt in Piazzolla! A wild and wonderful CD.”
“Supersonic Award winner. Tomas Cotik’s Piazzolla is carnal, passionate and nowhere easy-going. Together with his group he has produced a riveting CD.”
“remarkable, artistic and expressive interpretations ... at a high level and perfectly adapted to the respective styles ”
“We encounter here an extraordinary violinist, with an overwhelming technique and a musicality; the results are excellent, with little or nothing to envy the greatest interpretations that could have ever been recorded.”
“Cotik plays with a resonant, clear and warm tone, and dynamics, phrasing and tempi are all perfectly judged...a sentiment that is clearly evident in every single track of this exemplary set”
“short this is a great recording if you value warmth and sweetness in Mendelssohn. Here, though, nothing is forced, and, as I say, the world seems a better place.”
“it is a fact that the enthusiastic performance of Argentine Tomás Cotik and the way he captures the audience is captivating”
“It is the result of many years of experience, full attention, research and decision-making....it is a recording of incontestable beauty...an adventure that displays a journey of absolute love for the music of J.S. Bach”
“Cotik phrases this music with such feeling, making you wonder if it could possibly sound better in any other performance.”
“ There are so many delightful details to savour that one hardly knows where to begin...a most rewarding Mozart cycle”
“among the very best Piazzolla albums”
“Overall, these two discs featuring Cotik must be regarded as among the finest performances for their consistent artistry and idiomatic grasp”
“an extraordinary performance that can stand up against any other”
“there is no question but that this is the most exciting rendition of these works I’ve ever hear... this is now my benchmark performance of these works”
“without a doubt, an album to get excited and listen to continuously. Pure excellence. Essential! ”
“a treat from start to finish”
“exceptional...Piazzolla can be played differently than this, but provably not better.”
“absolutely impeccable, with intonation in the centre of every note, and his left hand flying around the fingerboard with remarkable agility”
“Comparisons are inevitable; on my shelves are the Grumiaux- Haskil team, the Stern-Barenboim combination, Szymon Goldberg and Radu Lupu, and Zukerman and Neikrug readings. The Cotik-Lin duo can take its place among those earlier esteemed ensembles with heads held high.”
“laudable level of technical accuracy…tenderness and warmth”
“a first-rate set of Mozart sonatas”
“excellent violin playing...extremely enjoyable interpretations of music that I love”
“the secret here...always let curiosity be a constant inspiration. If Tomas Cotik ever revisits these works on record it will be fascinating to hear the results, but it's hard to see how they could be better that this”
“ Also in the interpretation of Mozart's sonatas, Cotik's excellent performance and perfect technique stand out in the particularly brilliant articulations ”
“an excellent violinist ... who picks up a rigorous, natural and unusual way of understanding and interpreting music ”
“conviction, commitment, diplomacy, and character”
“If you love the solo violin, you won't find a better recording to suit your tastes”
“His interpretation of Bach’s sonatas and partitas his newest album in should add a notch to his reputation as a stellar violinist”
“an exemplary presentation of marvelous music”
“should leave listeners almost breathless…a vibrancy and attention to detail...strong individuality and… vitality”
“The joyful virtuosity and stylish musicianship that Tomas Cotik and Tao Lin brought to their superb cycle of Schubert’s violin-and-piano works for the Centaur label happily permeate their cycle of Mozart’s sonatas”
“His amazing technical skill and artistic know-how...create an indelible interpretation of Bach’s music...Cotik’s combines impeccable technique and an intuitive artistry to fashion a mesmerizing interpretation of these pieces.”
“this superbly produced Schubert disc…comes warmly commended”
“I highly commend Mr. Cotik for his innovative interpretations and I hope many future audiences will experience his musical excellence”
“Cotik makes Kreisler seem almost smarmy, Isabelle Faust almost mannered, and Julia Fischer as though she's filed down the detail”
“The BBC Music team’s current favourites”
“Cotik proves to here to have conquered an impressive variety of repertoire, already now much wider than what is usual today.”
“there is no question that this disc is, by some distance, Naxos's best Piazzolla recording”
“their lofty musicianship dwarfs their profound scholarship”
“unusual depth and broad compass...absolutely brilliant... unmistakable vitality...optimally recorded”
“an excellent violinist”
“recreating the visceral charge of Piazzolla’s legendary quintet concerts and recordings”
“Cotik never indulges in violinistic brilliance at the expense of music, but he sounds consistently brilliant nevertheless.”
“Evocative concert of Jewish classical music”
“Cotik’s performances are full of color, possess an elegant virtuosity and above all achieve the lyrical refinement that springs from a music that catches us by its rhythmic and melodic seduction ”
“This is an excellent recital. I enjoy the Piazzolla Tango Etudes more as played by Cotik than by anyone else. ”
“this is one of the great Piazzolla discs, and in perfect sound quality, I urge you to buy it.”
“a record which quality manages to propose the fascinating freshness of Germanic musical culture as new, as if the music had never been heard before ”
“A neglected stash of unrecorded Schubert”
“true treasure...one of the latest gems to emerge from the season”
“Cotik and the orchestra provided impressive advocacy for a multifaceted work that deserves to be heard more often. Cotik seamlessly handled the frequent changes in mood and adroitly traversed the work’s myriad technical challenges while always keeping the focus on the music.”
Legacy faetured on Bayerischer Rundfunk. Klassikzeit: CD-Neuerscheinungen mit Kammermusik
El trabajo conmemora el 25avo aniversario de la muerte de Astor Piazzolla y su principal interprete es el violinista argentino Tomas Cotik...la madurez musical se une a esa manera de sentir las propias raíces, que da la experiencia de la lejanía. Muchos interpretes del mundo fueron y serán capaces de lograr muy buenas versiones piazzollianas, pero cuando un instrumentista cuenta, además, con ese plus originado en el hecho de haber respirado el mismo aire que el homenajeado, los resultados pueden ir mucho mas allá: así queda admirablemente demostrado en este CD.
Todo ello es ofrecido por nuestros solistas de manera brillante, con arreglos propios y de Osvaldo Calo, como se da en la mayoría de las recreaciones de estas obras, ya que Piazzolla es en Bach, parece que cualquier adaptación de sus obras viene como anillo medido al dedo. Exuberante actuación del dúo con las incorporaciones de percusión que, en su conjunto, resultan una grata experiencia para el oyente.
Fracanapa, the name of a masked character in traditional Italian theater, is also the name of a happy 1963 work by Piazzolla that leaves the listener smiling and perhaps tapping out its catchy rhythm. Not only is Legacy a fine tribute to composer Astor Piazzolla, it serves to show the virtuosity and sensitive playing of all involved: violinist Tomás Cotik, pianist Tao Lin, double bassist Jeffrey Kipperman, percussionists Alex Wadner and Bradley Loudis, and voice-over artist Alfredo Lerida. The sound is clear and it gives the listener the feeling of being in a small hall with excellent acoustics. I found this recording extremely interesting and think readers will want to own it.
While the disk is about to end, and especially after it, the "what's the secret" issue remains unanswered as to the popularity of the Tango. But it is a fact the enthusiastic performance of Argentine Tomás Cotik and Tao Lin and the way they capture the audience with them what is captivaitng.
les brillantíssimes adaptacions realitzades per a piano i violí (i en algunes obres amb l’acompanyament de percussió i contrabaix) que ha realitzat el violinista Tomás Cotik. Nascut a Buenos Aires i amb una exitosa carrera a l’Amèrica del Nord, després d’obtenir distingits guardons acadèmics a les universitats de Miami, Friburg i a la Glenn Gould School de Toronto, les interpretacions de Cotik estan plenes de color, posseeixen un virtuosisme elegant i per sobre de tot assoleixen el refinament líric que brolla d’una música que ens atrapa per la seva seducció rítmica i melòdica. Acompanyat pel pianista sinoamericà Tao Lin (autor de les adaptacions de Revirado i Fracanapa i que s’impregna d’aquesta sensibilitat expressiva de Cotik), en Las cuatro estaciones porteñas, pedra angular de l’enregistrament, transmet una tendresa i nostàlgia descriptiva en una interpretació meravellosament versionada. Els artistes, compenetrats fins al més mínim detall, pouen en l’essència més pura d’una música d’una intensa càrrega emotiva que atrapa aquell que l’escolta. Uns arranjaments deliciosos suposen un tribut i homenatge al gran compositor argentí desaparegut l’any 1992.
Violinist Tomas Cotik, born in Buenos Aires, turned 40 last year, and, having left his natal shores, doesn’t seem to have settled down yet. Recently he landed at Portland State University (Oregon), having briefly been a member of the
Amernet Quartet at FIU (Miami), and before that of the Delray Quartet (Palm Beach) and the Harrington Quartet (West Texas). He has been recording prolifically in the last few years, with a previous Piazzolla disc, as well as a collection of
solo violin pieces, including Telemann, the Bach C-major Sonata, Schubert, and the Piazzolla Tango Etudes, originally for flute. Cotik is a fine violinist and musician, and his career track is rather different from the usual for the USA, with a bachelor’s and masters from Freiburg University in Germany and the DMA from University of Miami. Since Piazzolla
did not write specifically for solo violin, all the compositions here are arrangements, mainly by Cotik, either for violin with piano or joined by bass and percussion as well. I can’t claim to be porteño, but the interpretations of this beautiful (though depressive and neurotic) music sound echt to me. Most welcome.
This new disc is essentially the concert program the duo put together following the success of the first CD, and features new adaptations of some of Cotik’s favourite Piazzolla works...six are adaptations by Cotik himself, including the central work on the CD, the superb four-movement Las cuatro estaciones porteňas (Four Seasons of Buenos Aires).
Cotik has a beautiful clarity and depth to his playing; Lin draws a simply gorgeous tone from the piano, and the bass and percussion contributions are used to great effect. Listening to Cotik brings to mind the saying about blues music: that you don’t play the blues, you live them. Cotik doesn’t just play tango music – he lives it. It’s absolutely captivating and intoxicating stuff.
This album is a commemoration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of Pizzalloa’s death. It contains a mix of his works, selected and performed by violinist Tomas Cotik and pianist Tao Lin. Tomas was born in Buenos Aires and is a well-known recording artist. He currently serves as Assistant Professor of Violin at Portland State University....The two musicians have been recording together since 2010, and have previously recorded another Piazzolla album, Tango Nuevo, released by Naxos in 2013...Tomas and Tao capture the essence...with beautiful phasing and sensitivity...The sound quality is excellent.
Thomas Cotik, Argentine-born violinist and teacher who has done some of his best work right here in the USA, is featured once again with his longtime concert partner in a program that is guaranteed to make even more friends for the creator and master of the Tango Nuevo style, Astor Piazzolla...The stunning arrangements are mostly by Cotik himself, with the further assistance of Osvaldo Calo.
A 25 anni dalla morte di Astor Piazzolla, avvenuta il 4 luglio del 1992 a Buenos Aires, il violinista argentino Tomás Cotik insieme ad un ensemble …ha pubblicato questo cd, prodotto dall’etichetta Naxos nel 2017, che è un vero e proprio omaggio al compositore argentino. In esso, infatti, si possono ascoltare alcuni dei tanghi più belli di Piazzolla che qui appaiono rivestiti di un nuovo sound grazie agli adattamenti dello stesso Cotik e agli arrangiamenti di Osvaldo Calo. Dotato di una ottima tecnica e di una cavata particolarmente espressiva, Cotik sa essere ora malinconico ora sensuale duettando con il pianoforte di Tao Lin…Tra la pagine più belle e intense di questo cd si segnalano Vardarito, che vive tutto del contrasto tra la malinconia di alcune sezioni e il carattere ritmico, quasi percussivo, di altre; Adiós Nonino che, dedicato al padre Vicente Nonino Piazzolla, in occasione della sua morte, essendo un vero e proprio omaggio espresso in stile rapsodico, permette a Cotik di mettere in mostra la sua espressiva cavata, ma anche le sue doti tecniche, e, infine, le magiche Cuatro estaciones porteñas.
....excellence of the playing and the unusually creative arrangements and adaptations... The Cotik/Lin version of the music – Cotik himself made the arrangement – is not as sonically varied as Piazzolla’s original, but it is packed with warmth, verve and rhythmic excitement, and will be especially enjoyable for listeners who already know the music in its original form or in some of the other arrangements that have been made of it. Indeed, it is the reinterpretation-through-arrangement of the music on this disc that, along with the fine playing, makes it so effective. Of the nine shorter pieces here, Cotik did the arrangements of five...the CD as a whole gives the impression of an extended and very enthusiastic “jam session” in which, however, the music and its effects are through-composed and more carefully arranged for effect than they would usually be in jazz. The disc is both fun to hear and insightful into Piazzolla’s sound world – a very successful combination indeed.
4 of 4 stars
Esta es la única versión de un compatriota de Piazzolla, ya que Tomás Cotik, aunque afincado actualmente en Portland, es de origen bonaerense, y quizás podríamos decir que ha realizado un recorrido parecido: escuchando los tangos de su ciudad en la infancia, abandonando esa música en busca de los grandes clásicos en Estados Unidos, y reencontrando la música de su país más tarde a través de Piazzolla. Su interpretación es, para mí, la más técnica y medida, la más delicada, con muchos matices y sutilezas, sin caer en efectismos fáciles, curiosamente me da la sensación de que es la versión más clásica de las que comento aquí, quizás también por el acompañamiento, de piano solo en muchos temas, más contrabajo y percusión en algunos otros. En cualquier caso, una interpretación impecable.
Hay que mencionar que Tomás Cotik desarrolla una gran labor pedagógica, muestra de la cual son los artículos que ha publicado en Deviolines. Su investigación sobre la técnica del violín le ha llevado a profundizar en la mejora de la relación corporal y psicológica con el instrumento, mediante disciplinas como la técnica Alexander.
Piazolla aufgefrischt: Tomás Cotik – Legacy
Cotik, gerade habe ich es geschrieben, ist Argentinier. Er ist auch Professor für Violine an der Portland State University. Und er ist relativ jung. Das spricht für eine spannende Mischung aus Wissen, Temperament und Mut. Und Cotik enttäuscht nicht.
Stattdessen freue ich mich an einer sehr transparenter Akustik. An natürlich klingenden Instrumenten, denen man mitunter fast in den Bauch guckt. An einer aufgräumten Staffelung. Und das, weil all dieses die reduzierte, leicht raue und direkte Interpretation der Musiker erst recht zum Ausdruck bringt. Ihre Sensibilität, ihr intelligentes Zusammenspiel und das hieraus resultierende Erzähl-Potenzial aus dem Klangbild.
Auch so kann Piazolla Vergnügen bereiten: Als echt. Endlich mal.
Le violoniste argentin Tomas Cotik et le pianiste americano-chinois Tao Lin nous proposent un deuxième album consacré aux tangos d’Astor Piazzolla avec un ensemble de compositions adaptées pour leur duo. Il fait suite à leur premier album Tango Nuevo, très bien accueilli par la critique. Les deux musiciens interprètent Piazzolla avec une affinité évidente pour sa musique. Une très bonne introduction donc à l’univers du compositeur argentin.
Son 9 - Livret 7 - Répertoire 9 - Interprétation 10
January 2018 Editor's Picks
Cotik and Lin’s 2013 tribute to Piazzolla, Tango Nuevo(Naxos), generated positive reviews, including one from DownBeat. The duo’s new album, Piazzolla: Legacy, has as its centerpiece the four-part, 21-minute suite Las Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas, which illustrates these brilliant musicians’ ability to shift tempos. The violinist and pianist can gracefully wring emotion from heartbreaking ballad tempos or generate fireworks with breakneck riffs...Cotik and Lin are to be applauded for demonstrating ways in which Piazzolla’s music can, in the right hands, retain its core genius in a variety of instrumental settings.
Con motivo de recordar el 25 aniversario del fallecimiento de Astor Piazzolla el violinista nacido en Argentina Tomas Cotik y el pianista americano de origen chino Tao Lin prosiguen con grabaciones de obras de este genial compositor.
Tomás Cotik, profesor adjunto de violín de la Universidad Estatal de Portland, nació en Argentina, es uno de los imprescindibles del Suplemento de discos de Sonograma Magazine...El excelente violinista, así lo contamos en cada reseña de sus nuevas grabaciones, hace dúo con el pianista Tao Lin, y para esta ocasión nos presenta esta selección de temas con una instrumentación variada a cargo de Jeffrey Kipperman, Alex Wadner, Bradley Loudis y Alfredo Lerida.
Los músicos de este grupo camerístico exponen melodías que dan paso a muchos sentimientos entremezclados sobre Buenos Aires. Es notable el rigor interpretativo de Cotik y Lin, que juntos realzan las partituras de Piazzolla en estos exquisitos arreglos, realizados por el propio Cotik. Un disco ideal para quien se quiera acercar al mundo de Astor Piazzolla.
textura is delighted to feature the following artists in its twenty-third ‘Spotlight': The Carn Davidson 9, Tomás Cotik, Søren Nissen, and Mikkel Ploug, all of who have issued superb new albums:
Who: I was born and grew up in Buenos Aires. My early interest, as well as the main focus of my career, has been on classical music, the Viennese classics, in particular. People around the world associate the tango with Argentina, but when I was growing up, the traditional tango was not exactly fashionable or ‘cool' for people my age, and perhaps classical music wasn't either. I would mostly hear tango in the background; it was present on TV and on the radio. I remember listening to it, played by busking bandoneon players or on an AM radio program.
It says much about Tomás Cotik's playing on this Piazzolla homage that it pretty much matches the phenomenal playing of Fernando Suárez Paz, the Nuevo tango master's last violinist—no small accomplishment. But if anyone is capable of doing so, it's the Argentinean-born Cotik, who's lived and breathed Piazzolla's music for the better part of his life.
There's no question Cotik possesses the technical facility to play these pieces, but to do justice to Piazzolla more must be done than simply play the notes on the page; what's critical is to capture the feeling of his music, and on that count Cotik excels. The expansive emotional terrain embodied by Piazzolla's compositions, from romantic tenderness and longing to violent passion, are rendered rapturously by Cotik, and it's this that argues most vehemently on behalf of Legacy. His virtuosity and singing tone are displayed to glorious effect throughout the hour-long recording, whether it be the high-energy syncopations of “Escualo” (Shark) or the romantic languor of “Vardarito,” the former titled in tribute to Paz and the latter after violinist Elvino Vardaro, a member of Piazzolla's Octet and his first Quintet during the late ‘50s.
Among the standouts is the beautiful “Milonga del ángel,” surely one of Piazzolla's most adored compositions. Lin's value is perhaps most apparent here, specifically in the way he replicates the original arrangement's bandoneon part while Cotik delivers the lyrical lead with heartfelt conviction; lovely too is “Introducción al ángel,” which the duo and Kipperman render in stately manner. One imagines the Nuevo tango master would be as captivated as any listener by such exquisite performances.
Tomas Cotik and Tao Lin return to the music of Argentinian composer Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992) in Legacy. The release pulls together special arrangements for violin and piano of ten of the composer’s works
Things kick off quickly with “Escualo” (“Shark”), an almost scherzo-like, driving work with a brief moment for melodic relaxation. A more sensuous selection, “Vardarito” follows which soon moves rather quickly into some of the noted rapid passage work. The pieces have these sort of instant improvisational feel to them and is one of the hallmarks of Piazzolla’s musical appeal. A bit of percussion and double bass lend this a bit more jazzier flare. These shifts between raw energy and lyrical beauty can make the music seem a bit melodramatic but this is part of the general style as well. Even in the languid “Milonga del Angel” the tango rhythms begin to slowly pull the energy forward. The pieces are a good blend of favorites exploring the sheer variety of Piazzolla’s melodic gifts. The release is certainly a nice addition to the Piazzolla discography of which there is certainly plenty, but this makes for an excellent hour of engaging and excellent energetic performances.
Cotik Kicks Butt in Piazzolla!
Perhaps one reason I liked these performances so much was that Cotik and Osvaldo Calo arranged these pieces for violin, bass and piano, but surely the main reason is that Cotik is a hell of a violinist who plays with tremendous vitality and rhythmic acuity. In his very able hands, the music practically jumps off his bowstrings, and in the process, both he and pianist Tao Lin sound as if they’re practically dancing as they play...the slow, sensual Milonga del ángel for a good example of how well Cotik can draw a sweet legato from his instrument, equaling anything that such masters as Yehudi Menuhin or Jascha Heifetz did in their prime. In addition, he injects a feeling of lightness and fun into the proceedings that most classical fiddlers simply cannot, with the possible exception of Gilles Apap of the Transylvania Mountain Boys.
I do hope that Cotik will consider it a compliment when I say that his playing reminded me of such jazz masters of the violin as Joe Venuti (especially) and Stéphane Grappelli. Certainly, Menuhin himself thought Grappelli one of the greatest violinists of his genre, so much so that he played with him, both in public and on recordings, for a decade. If Cotik ever turned his attention to jazz violin, he’d have absolutely no trouble swinging.
When I say that Cotik reminds me more of Venuti than Grappelli it is due to two factors. First, the looseness of Venuti’s rhythm was always a shade wilder and less inhibited than Grappelli, and second, Cotik, like Venuti, has a slightly thinner and brighter tone quality. This is not a negative quality; by employing a somewhat thinner tone, Cotik is able to loosen the rhythm easier and more naturally. Indeed, most classical violinists (and cellists) cannot swing because they are so tone-focused that they can’t loosen the bow tension enough to make their instrument “fly,” and you absolutely have to do this in order to achieve this kind of sound.
As for the music, it’s delightful because of how Cotik plays it. Cotik, Lin and the percussionists close out this set with the effervescent Fracanapa, which moves like a freight train from start to finish. Cotik is at his most daring here, pulling on his violin strings and hitting them with the edge of his bow, and the music practically jumps at you.
A wild and wonderful CD. I’m so glad I decided to review it!
Lynn René Bayley
Violinist Tomás Cotik grew up in Piazzolla's homeland of Argentina. Cotik moved away at age 18, studying, teaching, and performing in Canada, Germany and the United States. Cotik's new recording takes him back to his homeland, as he celebrates the legacy of Astor Piazzolla.
"Astor Piazzolla: Legacy". Un nuevo álbum imprescindible sobre la música del gran maestro del Nuevo Tango.
Naxos USA acaba de lanzar al mercado americano la edición en formato de Audio CD “Legacy”. Celebrando el 25 aniversario de la muerte de Astor Piazzolla, el violinista argentino Tomás Cotik y el pianista chino-americano Tao Lin continúan sus aclamadas performances del Nuevo Tango con más de las composiciones más ricas y excitantes de Piazzolla. Previamente ya habían grabado para Naxos Records “Tango Nuevo”, lanzado por Naxos en 2013 y que obtuvo excelentes críticas por parte de la prensa especializada.
“Legacy” es un álbum sin desperdicios, disfrutable de principio a fin y para escuchar una y otra vez. El perfeccionismo y calidad interpretativa de Cotik y Lin realza las partituras de Piazzolla en estos nuevos arreglos (exquisitos, realizados por el propio Cotik) y los conduce a un nivel aún superior. Un álbum profundo y sentimental que cala hondo en quien lo escucha. Un pedazo de Buenos Aires a través de su música más excelsa. “Legacy” es, sin dudas, un álbum para emocionarse y escuchar continuamente. Excelencia pura. Imprescindible!
Winner of the Supersonic Award
Der argentinische Geiger Tomas Cotik, der chinesisch-amerikanische Pianist Tao Lin und ihre Tango-Gruppe haben mit dieser Produktion eine sehr sinnliche Tango-CD produziert, in der Piazzollas Musik ebenso sehr Lebens- und Erlebniswillen in Endzeit-Eleganz ist als Nostalgie, Tristesse und… Trotz. Unbekümmert klingt hier nichts, vor allem nicht in Cotiks phänomenal sinnlichem Geigenspiel. Nackter Tango als tief empfundener, leidenschaftlicher Abgesang, der eine Substanz freilegt, die man bei Piazzolla in dieser Form nicht kannte. Eine spannende, eminent musikalische, ja eine regelrecht berauschende CD auf sehr, sehr hohem künstlerischem und spieltechnischem Niveau.
Tomas Cotik’s Piazzolla is carnal, passionate and nowhere easy-going. Together with his group he has produced a riveting CD.
For the Record, Op. 32: Tomás Cotik; Dover Quartet; Altius Quartet; Quatuor Arod
Welcome to "For the Record," Violinist.com's weekly roundup of new releases of recordings by violinists, violists, cellists and other classical musicians. We hope it helps you keep track of your favorite artists, as well as find some new ones to add to your listening!
Big news from the Portland State School of Music and Theatre, as violin professor Tomas Cotik prepares to release his latest CD, Piazzolla: Legacy, on Oct. 13 through leading classical music record label Naxos. The album consists of music by Argentinian composer Astor Piazzolla and follows Cotik’s previous critically acclaimed album, Tango Nuevo, also featuring Piazzolla’s music. Professor Cotik will celebrate the release with a solo recital, “From Bach to Piazzolla,” at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 22 in PSU’s Lincoln Recital Hall (Room 75). The recital is free to all students, who should reserve tickets online
Turn the clock back fifty years and I attended a concert of music by the Argentinian composer, Astor Piazzolla, played by a traditional South American touring group. It wedded me to the composer, but sadly I have seldom heard that evening recreated, his music having been arranged, rearranged and generally mauled by those wanting to use it for their own commercial purposes. Here we have it serving to display the quite remarkable virtuosity of the Argentinian violinist, Tomas Cotik, who ideally creates the steamy atmosphere of some sleazy South American dance hall, as you look through the cigarette smoke filled vista, his small group seemingly fashioning the music as the mood takes them. Notes are bent as the dancers go through the erotic actions of the tango that is the basis of all Piazzolla’s music. In a previous review of Cotik playing Piazzolla, I begged the question, was Piazzolla composing ‘Classical’ music? That was his oft stated intent, but here we have ‘Classical’ musicians sending it in reverse, with jazz the dominating factor. There is the well-known Milonga del angel; the highly emotional, Balada para un loco; seductive Jeanne y Paul from the film, Last Tango in Paris, and my particular favourite, Las cuatro estaciones portenas. They are all quite superb, and if you want Piazzolla played by a violin, piano, double bass, and percussion, this has to be one disc you cannot afford to miss.
Portland violinist pays tribute to a tango composer and fellow Argentinian
Violinist Tomas Cotik may never become a tango dancer, but he can get you to feel like one when you listen to his latest album. It's a tribute to the music of the great Argentinian tango composer Astor Piazzolla on the 25th anniversary of his death. Titled "Legacy" and released on the Naxos label, Cotik's new recording explores several of Piazzolla's most popular pieces as well as a few obscure ones...Maybe some of the secret sauce that Cotik pours into his playing has to do with being born in Buenos Aires. The 40-year-old violinist can channel the street scenes of his boyhood and stir up intangible elements...So far, Cotik has been involved in 14 CDs, some of which feature him as the violin soloist.
But recordings tell only part of Cotik's musical journey. He has been busy since he arrived in Portland a little over a year ago as the assistant professor of violin at Portland State University. In addition to his work on campus, he has visited local high school music programs and youth orchestras..."I love what I do," said Cotik. "I often work until midnight. Even when I'm on vacation, I have to find time to work on my projects, like the article on violin technique that I'm finishing for The Strad magazine"..."I feel very lucky to be in Portland and to have fulfilled my dreams, teaching and recording and performing," he said. "I want to help students get closer to their dreams."
Shion Yamakawa, concertmaster of the Portland State University Symphony and recipient of the David E. Wedge Music Scholarship for music majors, feels Cotik's guidance has been beneficial. "I like studying with Dr. Cotik because he inspires me," said Yamakawa. "He has very high expectations and his work ethic is extraordinary. Dr. Cotik has helped me to truly listen to my own sound, and he has taught me that you can be the best teacher of yourself. He taught me to become more independent as a musician in terms of self-learning, time management and preparations. Dr. Cotik has helped me immensely on technical aspects as well, and my body is more relaxed now when I practice or perform."