- Ástor Piazzolla
Infobox musical artist
Name = Ástor Piazzolla
Img_capt = Ástor Piazzolla with his bandoneon in 1971.
Background = non_vocal_instrumentalist
Birth_name = Ástor Pantaleón Piazzolla
Born = birth date|1921|3|11|mf=y
Mar del Plata, Argentina
Died = death date and age|1992|7|4|1921|3|11|mf=y
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Ástor Pantaleón Piazzolla (
March 11, 1921– July 4, 1992) was an Argentine tango composerand bandoneónplayer. His oeuvre revolutionized the traditional tango into a new style termed " nuevo tango", incorporating elements from jazzand classical music. An excellent bandoneonist, he regularly performed his own compositions with different ensembles. He is known in his native land as "El Gran Ástor" ("The Great Ástor").
Piazzolla was born in
Mar del Plata, Argentinain 1921 to Italian parents, Vicente "Nonino" Piazzolla and Asunta Manetti. His grandfather, a sailor and fisherman named Pantaleone Piazzolla, had immigrated to Mar del Plata from Trani, a seaport town in the southeastern Italian region of Apulia, at the end of the 19th century. Ástor Piazzolla spent most of his childhood with his family in New York City, where he was exposed to both jazz and the music of J.S. Bachat 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 too young to go along. Nevertheless he played a young paper boy in Gardel’s movie " El día que me quieras" [http://www.tangomalaysia.com/pages/tangoinfo/MuscicianAstor.htm] . This early disappointment proved 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 Colónorchestra 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".
At Ginastera's urging, in 1953 Piazzolla entered his "Buenos Aires" Symphony in a composition contest, and won a grant from the French government to study in Paris with the legendary French composition teacher
Nadia Boulanger. The insightful Boulanger turned his life around in a day, as Piazzolla related in his own words:
quotation|When I met her, I showed her my kilos of symphonies and sonatas. She started to read them and suddenly came out with a horrible sentence: “It's very well written.” And stopped, with a big period, round like a soccer ball. After a long while, she said: “Here you are like Stravinsky, like Bartók, like Ravel, but you know what happens? I can't find Piazzolla in this.” And she began to investigate my private life: what I did, what I did and did not play, if I was single, married, or living with someone, she was like an FBI agent! And I was very ashamed to tell her that I was a tango musician. Finally I said, “I play in a "night club".” I didn't want to say "cabaret". And she answered, “Night club, mais oui, but that is a cabaret, isn't it?” “Yes,” I answered, and thought, “I'll hit this woman in the head with a radio....” It wasn't easy to lie to her.
She kept asking: “You say that you are not pianist. What instrument do you play, then?” And I didn't want to tell her that I was a bandoneon player, because I thought, “Then she will throw me from the fourth floor.” Finally, I confessed and she asked me to play some bars of a tango of my own. She suddenly opened her eyes, took my hand and told me: “You idiot, that's Piazzolla!” And I took all the music I composed, ten years of my life, and sent it to hell in two seconds.
Piazzolla returned from New York to Argentina in 1955, formed the
Octeto Buenos Airesto play tangos, and never looked back.
Upon introducing his new approach to the tango "(nuevo tango)", he became a controversial figure among Argentines both musically and politically. The Argentine saying "in Argentina everything may change — except the tango" suggests some of the resistance he found in his native land. However, his music gained acceptance in
Europeand North America, and his reworking of the tango was embraced by some liberal segments of Argentine society, who were pushing for political changes in parallel to his musical revolution.
During the period of Argentine military dictatorship from 1976 to 1983, Piazzolla lived in Italy, but returned many times to Argentina, recorded there, and on at least one occasion had lunch with the dictator
Jorge Rafael Videla. However, his relationship with the dictator might have been less than friendly, as recounted in "Ástor Piazzolla, A manera de memorias" (a comprehensive collection of interviews, constituting a memoir):quotation|One year before the "Los Largartos" issue you went to Videla's house and had lunch with him, why did you accept that invitation?
What an invitation! They sent a couple of guys in black suits and a letter with my name on it that said that Videla expected me a particular day in a particular place. I have a book around in some place, with pictures of all the guests:
Eladia Blázquez, Daniel Tinayre, Olga Ferri, the composer Juan Carlos Tauriello, there were painters, actors [...] |Ástor Piazzolla, "A manera de memorias", Libros Perfil 1998, ISBN 9500809206, p. 85
In 1990 he suffered
thrombosisin Paris, and died two years later in Buenos Aires.
Among his followers, his own protege
Marcelo Nisinmanis the best known innovator of the tango music of the new millennium, while Pablo Ziegler, pianist with Piazzolla's second quintet, has assumed the role of principal custodian of nuevo tango, extending the jazz influence in the style. The Brazilian guitarist Sergio Assadhas also experimented with folk-derived, complex virtuoso compositions that show Piazzolla's structural influence while steering clear of tango sounds; and Osvaldo Golijovhas acknowledged Piazzolla as perhaps the greatest influence on his globally oriented, eclectic compositions for classical and klezmer performers.
Piazzolla's "nuevo tango" was distinct from the traditional tango in its incorporation of elements of
jazz, its use of extended harmonies and dissonance, its use of counterpoint, and its ventures into extended compositional forms. As Argentine psychoanalyst Carlos Kurihas pointed out, Piazzolla's fusion of tango with this wide range of other recognizable Western musical elements was so successful that it produced a new individual style transcending these influences. [Carlos Kuri: "Piazzolla: la música límite". Buenos Aires: Corregidor, 1997.] It is precisely this success, and individuality, that makes it hard to pin down where particular influences reside in his compositions, but some aspects are clear. The use of the passacagliatechnique of a circulating bass line and harmonic sequence, invented and much used in 17th and 18th century baroque music but also central to the idea of jazz "changes", predominates in most of Piazzolla's mature compositions. Another clear reference to the baroque is the often complex and virtuosic counterpointthat sometimes follows strict fugalbehavior but more often simply allows each performer in the group to assert his voice. A further technique that emphasises this sense of democracy and freedom among the musicians is improvisationthat is borrowed from jazz in concept, but in practice involves a different vocabulary of scales and rhythms that stay within the parameters of the established tango sound-world. Pablo Zieglerhas been particularly responsible for developing this aspect of the style both within Piazzolla's groups and since the composer's death.
With the composition of "
Adiós Nonino" in 1959, Piazzolla established a standard structural pattern for his compositions, involving a formal pattern of fast-slow-fast-slow-coda, with the fast sections emphasizing gritty tango rhythms and harsh, angular melodic figures, and the slower sections usually making use of the string instrument in the group and/or Piazzolla's own bandoneonas lyrical soloists. The piano tends to be used throughout as a percussive rhythmic backbone, while the electric guitar either joins in this role or spins filigree improvisations; the double bass parts are usually of little interest, but provide an indispensable rugged thickness to the sound of the ensemble. The quintetof bandoneon, violin, piano, electric guitar and double bass was Piazzolla's preferred setup on two extended occasions during his career, and most critics consider it to be the most successful instrumentation for his works. [ See Kuri (ibid); also Natalio Gorin, "Piazzolla: A Memoir", Amadeus Press 2001. ] This is due partly to its great efficiency in terms of sound - it covers or imitates most sections of a symphony orchestra, including the percussion which is improvised by all players on the bodies of their instruments - and the strong expressive identity it permits each individual musician. With a style that is both rugged and intricate, such a setup augments the compositions' inherent characteristics.
Despite the prevalence of the quintet formation and the ABABC compositional structure, Piazzolla consistently experimented with other musical forms and instrumental combinations. In 1965 an album was released containing collaborations between Piazzolla and
Jorge Luis Borgeswhere Borges's poetry was narrated over very avant-garde music by Piazzolla including the use of dodecaphonic (twelve-tone) rows, free non-melodic improvisation on all instruments, and modalharmonies and scales. [ "El Tango", Polygram S.A. LP 24260 / Polydor 829866-2, 1965, Argentina (currently out of print). ] In 1968 Piazzolla wrote and produced an " operita", " María de Buenos Aires", that employed a larger ensemble including flute, percussion, multiple strings and three vocalists, and juxtaposed movements in Piazzolla's own style with several pastiche numbers ranging from waltz and hurdy-gurdy to a piano/narrator bar-room "scena" straight out of "Casablanca".
By the 1970s Piazzolla was living in Rome, managed by the Italian agent
Aldo Pagani, and exploring a leaner, more fluid musical style drawing on more jazz influence, and with simpler, more continuous forms. Pieces that exemplify this new direction include " Libertango" and most of the " Suite Troileana", written in memory of the late Anibal Troilo. In the 1980s Piazzolla was rich enough, for the first time, to become relatively autonomous artistically, and wrote some of his most ambitious multi-movement works. These included " Tango Suite" for the virtuoso guitar duo Sergio and Odair Assad; " Histoire du Tango", where a flutist and guitarist tell the history of tango in four chunks of music styled at thirty-year intervals; and " La Camorra", a suite in three ten minute movements, inspired by the Neapolitan crime family and exploring symphonic concepts of large-scale form, thematic development, contrasts of texture and massive accumulations of ensemble sound. After making three albums in New York with the second quintet and producer Kip Hanrahan, two of which he described on separate occasions as "the greatest thing I've done", he disbanded the quintet, formed a sextet with an extra bandoneon, cello, bass, electric guitar, and piano, and wrote music for this ensemble that was even more adventurous harmonically and structurally than any of his previous works ("Preludio y Fuga; Sex-tet"). Had he not suffered an incapacitating stroke on the way to Notre Dame mass in 1990, it is likely that he would have continued to use his popularity as a performer of his own works to experiment in relative safety with even more audacious musical techniques, while possibly responding to the surging popularity of non-Western musics by finding ways to incorporate new styles into his own. In his musical professionalism and open-minded attitude to existing styles he held the mindset of an 18th century composing performer such as Handel or Mozart, who were anxious to assimilate all national "flavors" of their day into their own compositions, and who always wrote with both first-hand performing experience and a sense of direct social relationship with their audiences. This may have resulted in a backlash amongst conservative tango aficionados in Argentina, but in the rest of the West it was the key to his extremely sympathetic reception among classical and jazz musicians, both seeing some of the best aspects of their musical practices reflected in his work. [ See Azzi and Collier, "Le Grand Tango: The Life and Music of Astor Piazzolla", Oxford University Press, 2000. ]
Piazzolla, after leaving Troilo's orchestra in the 1940s, led numerous ensembles beginning with the 1946 Orchestra, the 1955 "Octeto Buenos Aires", the 1960 "First Quintet", the 1971 "Noneto", the 1978 "Second Quintet" and the 1989 "Sextet". As well as providing original compositions and arrangements, he was the director and Bandoneon player in all of them. He also recorded the album
"Summit"with jazz baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan. His numerous compositions include orchestral work such as the "Concierto para bandoneón, orquesta, cuerdas y percusión", "Doble concierto para bandoneón y guitarra", "Tres tangos sinfónicos" and "Concierto de Nácar para 9 tanguistas y orquesta", pieces for the solo classical guitar -- the "Cinco piezas", as well as song-form compositions that still today are well known by the general public in his country, like "Balada para un loco" (Ballad for a madman) and " Adiós Nonino" (dedicated to his father) which he recorded many times with different musicians and ensembles. Biographers estimate that Piazzolla wrote around 3,000 pieces and recorded around 500.
In the summer of 1985 he appeared with his Quinteto Tango Nuevo at the
Almeida Theatrein London for a week-long season.
*"Adiós Nonino" (1960)
*"Tiempo Nuevo" (1962)
*"La Guardia Vieja" (1966)
*"ION Studios" (1968)
*"María de Buenos Aires" (1968)
*"Reunión Cumbre (Summit)" (1974) with
Amelita Baltar" (1974)
*"Buenos Aires" (1976)
*"Il Pleut Sur Santiago" (1976)
*"Suite Punta del Este" (1982)
*"Concierto de Nácar" (1983)
*"SWF Rundfunkorchester" (1983)
*"Live in Wien Vol.1" (1984)
*"Enrico IV" (1984)
*"Green Studio" (1984)
*"Teatro Nazionale di Milano" (1984)
*"El exilio de Gardel" (soundtrack, 1985)
*"Tango: Zero Hour" (1986)
*"The New Tango" (1987) with
*"La camorra" (1989)
*"Hommage a Liege: Concierto para bandoneón y guitarra/Historia del Tango" (1988) with
Liège Philharmonic Orchestraconducted by Leo Brouwer. The concerto was performed by Piazzolla with Cacho Tirao, the "Historia" by Guy Lukowski and Marc Grawels.
*"Bandoneón sinfónico" (1990)
*"The Rough Dancer and the Cyclical Night (Tango apasionado)" (1991)
*"Five Tango Sensations" (1991) with
*"Original Tangos from Argentina" (1992)
*"The Central Park Concert 1987" (1994)
María de Buenos Aires", a tango opera by Piazzolla
Estaciones Porteñas", Piazzolla’s 4 Seasons
12 Monkeys", a movie whose soundtrack is derived and excerpted from Piazzola's Suite Punta del Estehttp://video.aol.com/video-detail/piazzolla-ave-maria/30536734
* [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:kifoxqw5ldke~T0 Astor Piazzolla] in
* [http://www.piazzolla.org Piazzolla.Org] founded by
*es icon [http://www.todotango.com/spanish/creadores/apiazzolla.html Todo tango:Piazzolla]
*es icon [http://www.terra.com.ar/especiales/piazzolla/ Piazzolla Revolucionario]
*es icon [http://www.usuarios.interar.com.ar/josnell/astorpiazzolla.htm Querido Astor]
*es icon [http://www.piazzollazzo.com.ar/ Piazzollazzo.com.ar]
*fr icon [http://www.e-astoria.be E-Astoria.be] (Ensemble Astoria).
*sl icon [http://www.astorpia.com Astorpia.com] (Astorpia Tango Quintet).
* [http://www.abnir.co.uk/shop/ Piazzolla Sheet Music For Accordion]
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i53PKYzkZOQ "Fuga Y Misterio"] Played by [http://www.classicaljam.org Classical Jam]
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gzq9kPN7lH8 "Fracanapa"] Played by [http://www.classicaljam.org Classical Jam]
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cL6maP3flsA "Libertango"] Played by
Astorpia Tango Quintet.
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRhs0KQUK0g "Oblivion"] Played by Cellistanbul and
Julian Lloyd Webber
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DoPR7CKPB08 Performance of Oblivion]
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Astor Piazolla — Astor Piazzolla Ástor Pantaleón Piazzolla (* 11. März 1921 in Mar del Plata; † 4. Juli 1992 in Buenos Aires) war ein argentinischer Bandoneon Spieler und Komponist. Er gilt als Begründer des Tango Nuevo, einer Gegenbewegung zum traditionellen… … Deutsch Wikipedia