Visions of Tango
Håkon Skogstad with Atle Sponberg and the Trondheim Soloists
Norwegian Grammy Award for Best Classical Album 2021
Music and Stars Awards 2021:
Grand Prix Crown of Stars (Best CD Performer)
Gold Star (Best Chamber Music CD & Best Concept)
Global Music Awards 2022:
Gold Medal (Composer & Instrumentalist)
«Fantastisch fetzig sind die Piazzolla- Interpretationen des Pianisten, höchst unterhaltsam sein Klavier- konzert, das die große Virtuosen- geste der Romantik augenzwinkernd mit bittersüßen Tangotönen mixt. Caramba!»
(Frederik Hansen, Der Tagesspiegel, Berlin)
«Concerto for Piano and String Orchestra is a virtuoso feast that pushes the genre of tango a little further into the contemporary."
(Magnus Andersson, Musikkritikk.no)
Piano / composer / arrangements
Håkon Magnar Skogstad (b.1989) is a prize-awarded pianist and composer holding degrees in classical performance from Oslo and New York as well as a PhD in Artistic Research from NTNU, Trondheim. He has performed in ensembles and as soloist throughout Norway and played concerts in the U.S., Argentina, Germany, Austria, Spain and Sweden. He has also composed several large-scale works on commission. Skogstad released five critically acclaimed tango recordings both in groups and as soloist in the period of 2008-2021
Atle Sponberg (b.1964) is a diverse and sought-after Norwegian violinist, former concert master of The Norwegian Radio Orchestra and known for his affinity for tango. Sponberg has been a soloist with several of the leading Norwegian orchestras. He has toured Norway extensively and played on festivals throughout Europe as well as in the U.S., and Australia. He plays on a violin by Giovanni Battista Guadagnini from 1752 lent by Sparebankstiftelsen.
The Trondheim Soloists
The Trondheim Soloists (founded in 1988) are one of the best young ensembles on the international scene. With its passion and enthusiasm, the orchestra quickly established itself as the most innovative chamber orchestra in Norway, with invitations to collaborate with artists of the highest level, in a wide range of genres. The Trondheim Soloists’ own recordings have won great acclaim not only earning two Spellemann-awards, but a total of 10 Grammy nominations, as well as glowing international reviews.
In my previous album “Two Hands to Tango”, I combined my experience from tango, classical and jazz playing to establish a new pianistic performance style in nuevo tango music – greatly inspired from the playing style of the bandoneón. In "Visions of Tango", this style is further developed through compositions and arrangements with the piano in front of the string orchestra as well as in duo with the violin.
Concerto for Piano and String Orchestra in four movements is “riff-driven classical music rooted in the rhythms, articulation and timing of the Argentine tango”. The music dances its way through the resolute, fiery and passionate, to the joyful, expressive and sublime. The piano part is a culmination of classical virtuosity and tango expressiveness.
Histoire du Tango, originally written for flute and guitar by Astor Piazzolla, explores the evolution of tango – from the up-tempo and high-spirited milonga of the Bordello, through the nostalgic melancholia of the Café, to the new tango of the Nightclubs and finally – “The concert of today” – in harmonies inspired by Bartók and Stravinsky, but grounded the rhythm of a milonga.
Allegro Tangabile is an instrumental piece from the tango operita "Maria de Buenos Aires" by Astor Piazzolla. In my arrangement, I have tried to realize the bandoneón part in the piano - a tribute not just to the music, but also to Piazzolla - the performer.
Tres Minutos con la Realidad is a less known Piazzolla tango and a good example of his more provocative compositions – using contemporary harmonies to push the limits of what a tango could be.
Adios Nonino is perhaps the most famous composition of Piazzolla. It was composed when Astor heard the news of his father’s passing. The piece typically starts with a piano cadenza, and the most influential pianists who played with Piazzolla made their own. My arrangement for piano and string orchestra starts with a cadenza in the footsteps of this tradition.
Producer: Rannveig Ryeng
Recorded by: Jo Ranheim and Kyrre Laastad
Mixed by: Jo Ranheim
Mastered by: Karl Klaseie
Piano technician: Arve Skjegstad
Cover design and photos by: Kristoffer Hylland Skogheim