Sunday, 16 May 2010

World Music: Astor Piazzolla

So with this listening.... (see previous post)

The other night I put Astor Piazzolla's name in the box.

Piazzolla was known for his new approach to Tango: orchestral, dramatic, narrative.

Years ago - in the mid-1980s - The Old Man and I saw Astor Piazzolla,and his Quinteto Tango Nuevo, play at the Almeida Theatre in Islington.

It was the first time that I'd seen this music being played. And the bandoneon in particular. That's the accordion sound in tango. The bandoneon looks like a square, Uber-concertina. It pulls out forever. So much so, that the player stands with his foot on a stool or box and lays the instrument out across his knee as he pulls and bends it.

Bang! Bang! Percussion, piano chords, violin bow strikes, double bass slaps. Bang! Bang! And the bandoneon being pulled out in Tango time.

It was a wonderful concert. And my good fortune to see and hear Piazzolla play.

If you prefer a gentler, more old-timey feel - try the singing of Carlos Gardel.

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