Astor Piazzolla’s wild, sensual Las Cuatro Estaciónes Porteños (The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires) combines the sultriness of the tango with the coolness of classical modernism for a vivid portrait of the heat and energy of his native city. Virtuoso bandoneon player Julian Rowlands provides the Latin foil to the Santiago Quartet’s passionate playing, full of ardour and considerable technical skill. In contrast, contemporary British composer Will Todd’s Birthday Quartet explores themes of human struggle—love, loss, resignation—in gentler music of sublime beauty. Both works, in their unique, personal ways, speak directly from the heart.

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