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Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992)  tango composer  and bandoneòn player. His music is with no doubt one of the greatest artistic expressions Argentina has ever given to the world. He is also one of the most educated composers by international music chambers and symphonic orchestras. It is possible that he has taken Tango to its limits so far aesthetically speaking, enriching and revolutionazing its conceps. Incorporating jazz and classic music to tango, Piazzolla reaches a magnificent and yet original outcome.

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. Bach at an early age. At the age of 13, he met Carlos Gardel, 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 [1], 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 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.

“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 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, 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 she answered, “Night club,, but that is a cabaret, isn’t it?” “Yes,” I ….” 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.

—Ástor Piazzolla, A Memoir

Horacio Ferrer, Uruguayan and Eladia Blázques, Argentinean, poets, among others like Neruda who collaborate with Piazzola combining words with notes; they convert beautiful poems in rich metaphors, new aesthetics of new verses which seem never to have been written before. Social content which makes citizen life deeper, as well as human being´s life and the world, passion and sensuality give life to an artistic composition of the highest quality.

 

Edited

Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992). Tango Composer and Bandoneòn Player.

Piazzolla’s music is undoubtedly one of the greatest artistic legacies Argentina has ever given to the world. He was also one of the most experienced and cultured Argentine composers, having spent time in numerous international music chambers and symphonic orchestras. Aesthetically speaking, it is quite possible that Piazzolla has taken Tango to its limits, enriching and revolutionizing its concepts. Incorporating jazz and classic music into tango, Piazzolla reaches a unique and magnificent balance.

Piazzolla spent his childhood in New York City, where he was exposed to artists and genres as dissimilar as jazz and J. S. Bach. At thirteen, he met Carlos Gardel, a luminary of tango, who invited the young prodigy to play with him on tour. Much to the young man’s dismay, Piazzolla’s father deemed him too young to accompany Gardel. This early disappointment, however, proved to be a blessing in disguise, as it was on this tour that Gardel and his entire band were killed in a plane crash. In 1953 Piazzolla entered a composition contest for the Buenos Aires Symphony and won a grant from the French government to study in Paris with the legendary French composer and teacher Nadia Boulanger.

In his memoir, Piazzolla writes about his first encounter with Boulanger: “When I met her, I showed her my kilos of symphonies and sonatas. On reading them she suddenly offered a crushing statement: ‘It is very well written,’ she said, and stopped—with a big period—round, like a soccer ball. Then continued, ‘Here you are like Stravinsky, here like Bartók, and here like Ravel, but you know what has happened? I can’t find Piazzolla anywhere.’ And then she began to investigate my private life: what I did, what I played and did not play, if I was single, married; and I was ashamed to tell her that I was a tango musician. Finally I said, ‘I play in a night club.’ She answered, ‘But that is cabaret, isn’t it?’ ‘Yes..’ It wasn’t easy to lie to her. She kept asking, ‘What instrument do you play then?’ I didn’t want to tell her I was a bandoneón player because I thought, she will throw me from the fourth floor. Finally, I confessed and she asked me to play some bars from a tango of my own. She 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.”

Piazolla’s work also inspired new communions, principally with Uruguayan Horacio Ferrer and Argentine Eladia Blázques—poets who, like Neruda before them, collaborate with Piazzola.  Combining words with notes they infuse beautiful poems with rich metaphors, new aesthetics of new verses never written before; with social content that make one’s life deeper, with grace, beauty, passion and sensuality, bringing to life an artistic composition of the highest quality.