Libertango, Soul of Liberty – Album Review: Soul of the Tango

Shuai Zhang is an international graduate student at William Paterson University. He got his bachelor’s degree in Music Education and Performance at Shenyang Conservatory of Music in China. Now he is a Music Management major. Shuai started learning cello, when he was 7-years-old. At age 14, he started learning piano. In 2015, Shuai performed piano with Marshall Symphonic Band in Smith Music Hall at Marshall University. You can reach him at zhangs2@student.wpunj.edu.


Libertango, Soul of Liberty – Album Review: Soul of the Tango

By Shuai Zhang

“The role of the musician is to go from concept to full execution. Put another way, it’s to go from understanding the content of something to really learning how to communicate it and make sure it’s well-received and lives in somebody else.” – Yo Yo Ma

Yo-Yo Ma is an incomparable cellist and composer, who has produced more than 90 albums and won 18 Grammy Awards. He was born on October 7, 1955, and spent his schooling years in New York City and was a child prodigy. He began learning cello when he was just 4-years-old. Yo Yo Ma graduated from the Juilliard School and Harvard University. Yo Yo Ma has been a United Nations Messenger of Peace since 2006. He was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 2001, Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011, and the Polar Music Prize in 2012.

“Libertango” starts with an accordion, I was so impressed with this astonishing melody. The beautiful line composed by staccato eighth note is like unruly and free soul. All of a sudden, a cello sounded by Yo Yo Ma. The strong contrast and the smooth lines make the music colorful. The musical quality, tempo and rhythm made me feel like rambling the streets of Argentina. I was absolutely blown away by this feeling of gloom but enthusiastic, euphemism but twist, mild but aggressive. The music just touches my mind, soul and body.

Genius composer Astor Piazzolla perfectly explained Tango music. The Soul of the Tango album is a masterful work. Personally, I think this version played by Yo Yo Ma’s cello and Sergio’s guitar is impeccable and flawless. Even Yo Yo Ma himself founded he could communicate with Piazzolla via music. “Now I feel I have a real sense of how Pizzolla breathed,” he said, “Unlike other tangos, Piazzolla’s tangos you listen to.” Listen to album Soul of the Tango will take you to an imagination land, as Maria Susana Azzi said, “the word ‘Tango’ conjures up images of Buenos Aires,of a dimly-lit dance floor,the smoke of a cigarette curling up into the air,a beautiful woman in the arms of a man,surrendering to a rhythm that is at once love and dream,pain and reality.”

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