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No. 5, April 2000
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Astor Piazzolla
For sheet music by Astor Piazzolla click here
Biography and albums - Tango: Zero Hour, La Camorra
 
Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992) was a composer and bandoneón player who revolutionized tango music. In 1924 Piazzolla's family moved from Buenos Aires to New York City - Astor was only three years old. They stayed there, with a brief interlude, until 1936. He listened to Cab Calloway in Harlem. Later, again in Buenos Aires, he played traditional tango on his bandoneón in Aníbal Troilo's orchestra. In 1940 he composed a piece for Arthur Rubinstein who was in Buenos Aires on a tour. Rubinstein recognized Piazzolla's talent and told him to take lessons in composing with Alberto Ginastera - and that is what he did. With Ginastera he listened a lot to Bartók and Stravinsky. In 1944 Piazzolla left Troilo - the tango scene considered this to be ingratitude and treason - but the 25-year old went his own way and created his own group. He introduced counterpoints, fugues and new harmonies into tango music. But it took Piazzolla up to the 1980s to become recognized in his homeland of Argentina. I had the chance to see him towards the end of his life in a memorable concert at Geneva's Victoria Hall. He suffered a brain haemorrhage in Paris which he never recovered from and he died in Bueno Aires in 1992.
 
La Camarro is an album recorded in 1988 in New York City - by the way, a camorra is a quarrel. Soledad is a harmonious, tonal ballad. La Camorra I is more like a traditional tango. La Fugata is some sort of chamber music. Sur: Los Suenõs and Sur: Regreso Al Amor are emotional, passionate compositions. The CD Tango: Zero Hour is more radical. It is an album which challenges traditional listening habits. This is no dancing music like traditional tango, no easy listening music, but as Piazzolla put it himself: This is "... the greatest record I've made in my entire life. We gave our souls to [it]. This is the record I can give to my grandchildren an say, 'This is what we did with our lives'." La Hora Zero was recorded in New York City in 1986 with Piazzolla's famous New Tango Quintet. Tango: Zero Hour is still avant-garde, as its title says, a reinvention of a music as if it had not existed before.
 

 

Get the album Tango:
Zero Hour from Amazon.de,
Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com
.
 

Get the album La Camorra
from Amazon.com or
Amazon.de.

www.cosmopolis.ch
No. 5, April 2000
current edition & archives
Art  Film  Music  History  Politics  Archives
Links  Advertise  Feedback  German edition  Travel

Copyright 2000  www.cosmopolis.ch  Louis Gerber  All rights reserved.