Joaquim Alem is once again a fantastic bandoneonist, accompanied not only by string instruments but also by pianist Akiko Kapeller. He can make his instrument gasp or lead it into great expanses with the highest virtuosity. The longing of this music, once so heartbreakingly felt, has been combined with universal thoughtfulness. It is a wonderful refinement that does not avoid jolting the musicians or the listeners.
How does one design new music in the spirit of Piazzolla and still maintain its independent character? Alem seems to be able to do this inimitably. His Hommage a Piazzolla, which premiered at the Kleines Haus, has the unwieldy title "No se desalienta y sigue su camino màs que nunca" (he does not get discouraged and goes further than ever before), but it aims straight at the heart with its ostinato feelings, rhythmic jerking and a pensive solo.
(23.02.2022 - NWZ - Horst Hollmann)