I am in LOVE!

Posted by M ws On Sunday, September 11, 2011 0 comments
Have you ever heard of Ástor Pantaleón Piazzolla? He was an Argentine tango composer and bandoneón player. Wikipedia says that his oeuvre revolutionized the traditional tango into a new style termed nuevo tango, incorporating elements from jazz and classical music. A virtuoso bandoneónist, he regularly performed his own compositions with different ensembles

Ástor Pantaleón Piazzolla was born on March 11, 1921 in Mar del Plata, Argentina, only child of Vicente “Nonino” Piazzolla and Asunta Mainetti. In 1925, the family relocated to New York City until 1936 with a brief return to Mar del Plata in 1930.

In NYC, he was exposed to both jazz and the music of J. S. Bach at an early age. While there, he acquired fluency in four languages: Spanish, English, French, and Italian. He began to play the bandoneon after his father, nostalgic for his homeland, spotted one in a New York pawn shop. At the age of 13, he met Carlos Gardel, another great figure of tango, who invited the young prodigy to join him on his current tour.

Much to his dismay, Piazzolla's father deemed that he was not old enough to go along. While he did play a young paper boy in Gardel’s movie El día que me quieras. This early disappointment of being kept from the tour proved to be a blessing in disguise, as it was on this tour that Gardel and his entire band perished in a plane crash. In later years, Piazzolla made light of this near miss, joking that had his father not been so careful, he wouldn't be playing the bandoneon—he'd be playing the harp.

He returned to Argentina in 1937, where strictly traditional tango still reigned, and played in night clubs with a series of groups including the orchestra of Anibal Troilo, then considered the top bandoneon player and bandleader in Buenos Aires. The pianist Arthur Rubinstein—then living in Buenos Aires—advised him to study with the Argentine composer Alberto Ginastera. Delving into scores of Stravinsky, Bartók, Ravel, and others, he rose early each morning to hear the Teatro Colón orchestra rehearse while continuing a gruelling performing schedule in the tango clubs at night. In 1950 he composed the soundtrack to the film Bólidos de acero. (from Wikipedia) You can read more about his biography at this link called Astor Piazzolla Tango Nuevo.

According to THIS SITE:

Returning to Argentina in 1937, he found tango to be the reigning style of music. Continuing his love of playing the bandoneon, he and his various ensembles performed in a multitude of nightclubs throughout Argentina. Quickly becoming known as the best bandoneon player in Buenos Aires, Astor Piazzolla expanded his musical knowledge by studying under Alberto Ginastera. Covering a number of composers like Stravinsky, Bartok and Ravel, he began to take from their excellence when composing his own music. That was until he met Nadia Boulanger. She quickly noticed his own magic and encouraged him to focus on his own style and talent leaving the others to theirs. In 1955, he organized the Octeto Buenos Aires and began playing his own style of tango.

Astor Piazzolla is well known in the music world for his contributions to the tango. He took elements from jazz and classical music, added them to tango and created Nuevo tango. As an accomplished composer and bandoneon player, he commonly performed his compositions adding electronic and acoustic sounds creating his unique form of music. While this new form of the tango was widely accepted in the United States and Europe, Argentina in general showed resistance to this change. Among some of his most notable pieces are Adios Nonino (written in 1959 in memory of his father), Libertango (written in 1974 symbolizing his liberation from the traditional tango), Oblivion as well as Milonga Del Angel. In 1990 he suffered a thrombotic event that eventually led to his death in Buenos Aires in 1992 at the age of 71.

It was only yesterday that my younger boy told me about Astor Piazzolla. He turned 13 three days ago and has started his classes for his ATCL in violin and piano. He introduced me to two of Astor's compositions - Oblivion (which moved me to tears and which I have been listening to the whole afternoon) and also Fugata or Soul of the Tango. When I shared the links with my older boy, it was then he told me that he had played Oblivion in his second semester and then he told me about another clip of Piazzolla which he played for his graduation recital )which I could not attend as it was in the midst of his brother's exams) - Piazzolla Plays Escualo at Montreux.

Here are some of the videos:

Such beautiful music - I am so in love!!!! Happy listening and here's wishing you a lovely Sunday with your loved ones!

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