Musical Adventures with Tango Nuevo

Ahead of the APO’s next In Your Neighbourhood concerts, Piazzolla Tangos, accordionist and Piazzolla expert Grayson Masefield delves into the details of the wildly popular and infectious 'tango nuevo' repertoire they will be performing.

Our Piazzolla Tangos concert begins with the iconic Por Una Cabeza, written by legendary Argentine tango singer Carlos Gardel. Astor Piazolla and Gardel met in New York City when Piazzolla was just a child, and Piazzolla went on to play with Gardel on tour, and feature in a cameo role in Gardel’s film El día que me quieras.

Next is Piazzolla’s Primavera Porteña. Primavera, meaning Spring, is one of the Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas or Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, originally conceived as individual works (though Piazzolla occasionally performed all four together as a suite), they give an impression of the four seasons in Buenos Aires.

En Pampa y la Via is a modern tango composed by two internationally renowned bandoneonists, Damian Torres and Pablo Jaurena, and combines the elements of traditional tango with the influences of Piazzolla’s ‘tango nuevo’ style. This is followed by Kicho, Piazzolla’s tribute to Enrique Kicho Díaz, an Argentine double bass player who performed extensively with Piazzolla. In 2000, Díaz was declared ‘Tango Double Bass Player of the Century’ by the legislature of Buenos Aires.

When Astor Piazzolla heard the news that his father Vicente "Nonino" Piazzolla had passed away, his son Daniel Piazzolla wrote:

“Dad asked us to leave him alone for a few hours … First there was absolute silence. After a while, we heard dad playing the bandoneon. It was a very sad, terribly sad melody. He was composing ‘Adiós Nonino’.”

Adios Nonino is one of Piazzolla’s most haunting works.

Next the APO’s Section Principal Flute Melanie Lançon will play two selections from Six Études tanguistiques pour flûte seule (Tango studies for solo flute’). After this the ensemble will regroup for Escualo (The Shark).  Escualo was originally written for solo violin, commissioned by the acclaimed violinist Fernando Suarez-Paz. The piece perfectly demonstrates the passion and virtuosity found in Piazzolla’s compositions.

“I play with violence; my bandoneon must sing and scream – I can’t conceive of pastel tones in tango.” – Astor Piazzolla

Piazzolla composed Serie del Ángel for Alberto Rodríguez Muñoz’s play Tango del Ángel, which tells the of an angel who enters a house to heal the broken spirits who live there, but the outcome is tragic for the angel. This In Your Neighbourhood concert performance features the exceptionally lyrical first movement, Milonga del Ángel, the second, La Muerte del Ángel, a virtuoso fugue conveying rage and violence, and concludes with Resureccion del Ángel.

To close our concert we will play one of Piazzolla’s most-played pieces, Libertango. The name is a portmanteau merging "Libertad" and "tango", symbolizing Piazzolla's break from traditional tango, to ‘tango nuevo’.

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