Duo Scofano Minetti
FROM THE RIVER PLATE LITTORAL TO THE WORLD
For international audiences, but also for the majority of Rioplatenses (namely Porteños and Montevideans), the bandoneon is so identified with the tango that we tend to forget that it is also part of our folkloric music, and especially of the chamamé. Richard Scofano is an Argentine musician born in Paso de los Libres, a province of Corrientes. He comes from a lineage of bandoneon players and learned to play the instrument directly from his father Ricardo. He was part of the Orquesta Folclórica de Corrientes (Folkloric Orquestra of Corrientes) and has taken part in countless projects related to chamamé and tango. A resident of Chicago, in 2016 he premiered his Concerto for Bandoneon and Orquestra with the Oistrakh Symphony Orchestra.
Alfredo Minetti is a Uruguayan who constantly migrated. After Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil (where he studied piano under Ondine de Mello), he settled in the United States. There he earned a PhD in Cultural Anthropology from Indiana University, Bloomington. He created Minetti Productions and the ‘Zero Hour Tango Festival’. Minetti has performed in Brazil, Argentina, Canada, Europe, China, and the United States.
Duo Scofano Minetti, presently touring South America, has just released a very attractive CD in which chamamé, tango, and classical music cross paths in very creative ways. The work is called Estaciones and follows the model of Vivaldi and Piazzolla, although, in this case, the main rhythm is the characteristic 6/8 of the Argentine-Uruguayan littoral. Scofano’s ‘Estaciones’ integrate these rhythms with a great degree of flexibility, giving it a chamber-music approach, one that is emphasized by the “classical” touch that Minetti conveys from the piano. It is not often that we find a player trained in conservatories that is, at the same time, so knowledgeable of the popular rhythms of the River Plate and Brazil, and the duo benefits profusely from Minetti’s versatility.
As a bandoneonist, Scofano is super competent, incredibly fast, and his “touch” is clearly different from the more percussive style of the tango “bellows." Scofano composes melodies of abundant gestures, very tonal and melodic, extending the language of the New Tango, romantic, with occasional angular touches, such as Bartok or Stravinsky, but in the chamamé metric. After the four movements of the ‘Estaciones’ comes a fugue, or better, an example of canonic writing entitled ‘Fuga Z’. In the style of Piazzolla in his ‘Fuga y Mistério’, as well as other of his fugue-like exercises, Scofano suggests the fugue but does not stick strictly to it like Bach would do, but he rather explores liberally the rhythmic and melodic possibilities of the theme. In short, the CD is highly enjoyable, very well played and recorded, and opens up a whole new spectrum of possibilities for this pair of artists from the River Plate region but of global caliber.
Elbio Barilari (Musician, Composer, Writer and Critic, Radio Host, professor in the music department at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Artistic Director of the Chicago Latino Music Festival) Facebook Review – July/26/2017
Duo Scofano Minetti has just released a very attractive CD in which chamamé, tango, and classical music cross paths in very creative ways.... it opens up a whole new spectrum of possibilities for this pair of artists from the River Plate region but of global caliber.
Chicago Latino Music Festival
The remarkable CD Estaciones by the Duo Scofano/Minetti reveals a world of images, colors and smells that transports the listener to Northeast Argentina and its unique cultural traditions. It is clear that the traditional Chamamé pulsates inside the veins of the new chamber-music composed by Scofano and masterfully played by Minetti and Scofano. Both artists embody, by birth or acculturation, the cultures of Corrientes as well as the surrounding cultures of Brazil and Uruguay. This is an outstanding work and a fascinating window into culture changing before our eyes and ears.
Beatriz Dujovne, Ph.D.
Author, In Strangers’ Arms: The Magic of the Tango
Being Argentinian I can assure that hearing Richard Scofano, outstanding bandoneonist excelling in his interpretations of Argentinian popular music together with Alfredo Minetti, extraordinary pianist, has been a heart-touching wonderful and unique experience; a perfect duo.
Ernesto Bitetti , Guitar Department Chair
Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University
To hear the Duo Scofano/Minetti is not an ephemeral experience…it is one that leaves an everlasting mark in our hearts, in our memories, and in our souls!
Cristiano Campos Simões - Brazilian Producer
On the one hand, in the presence of Richard Scofano’s talent, we feel that we are facing a pure experience, a tango with open veins…since he, with his bandoneón, doesn’t interpret the tango, he interprets the secret codes embedded in tango. Precisely because of that, I claim that Scofano is unique in the world. On the other hand, Alfredo Minetti is a concert pianist who transits with incredible ease before the complex interpretive pathways of tango.
Prensa Recinto - Universitário de Mayagüez, Puerto Rico
The icing on the cake was when [Yamandu Costa] invited Richard Scofano, a very talented bandoneon player, up for the final pieces in his set, where they played in perfect sync, music that they had never rehearsed or performed with each other before. Watching this interaction of musicians at the top of their game was a sublime experience and felt as though we were observing a private conversation between the two.
JohnPaul Trotter, Guitar Salon International
A “new season” – this was the sensation that I felt when I saw, for the first time, a live performance of the Duo Scofano/Minetti. In between hypnotized and infatuated by the sounds in that stage, I witnessed the quasi-orphic celebration of the perfect partnership between Alfredo & Richard; piano & bandoneón; tango & chamamé! Corrientes, Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, and Campos!!! I got drunk, as Baudelaire suggests, on music! Right there, without constraints. I wish a long life to this duo, under the loving blessings of Apollo!
Edinalda Maria Almeida da Silva
Writer, Art Critic, Professor
Member of the Academia Campista de Letras
Expressiveness, depth, empathy, imagination, and density are some of the first words that come to mind when I think of the Duo Scofano/Minetti. Classically educated in Brazil, pianist and anthropologist Alfredo Minetti approaches music as a powerful means of communication and expression. Listening to his playing, which is not really playing, but the telling of engaging stories using sound as a channel, is both entrancing and transformative. Born in Argentina at the center of the Chamamé culture, Richard Scofano learned to play the bandoneón at home and became a master of the instrument. As a sound chemist, his compositions and his playing are expressive and cathartic. When these two players come together they have the ability to immerse their listeners in a breathtaking realm of sound that is mysterious, dark, and inspirational. Their concentration and ability to anticipate each other’s intention, their timing, dynamic nuances, their balance and coloring, and their rhythmic pulse are nothing short of miraculous. The duo’s artistry and virtuosity are remarkable by any account and this recording is a breakthrough both in the writing accomplished by Scofano as well as in the performance delivered by his bandoneón and Minetti’s piano. We are in the presence of great art.