Piazzolla, A :: Tango Etudes

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  • Composer
    Piazzolla, A
  • Instrumentation
    Flute Alone
  • Publisher
    Editions Henry Lemoine [24897H.L.]
  • Orchestration
    fl
  • Includes CD
    No
  • Classification
    Not Applicable
  • Genre
    Undefined
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Tango Etudes
Piazzolla, A

Editions Henry Lemoine presents Astor Piazzolla's 'Tango etudes', or Etudes tanguistiques for flute, composed in 1987.

Poverty drove Piazzolla's ancestors to emigrate from their homeland, and the young Astor was born of Italian parentage in Mar del Plata in Argentina on 11 March 1921. In 1925 the family moved to New York to try their fortune in the big city. As Astor Piazzolla has said himself, 'It was at the time of prohibition and the mafia...I hung around the streets more than I went to school...my musical world gradually grew up round jazz, Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway who I managed to hear at the door of the Cotton Club, although I was both too young and too poor to go in. My father used to play the old nostalgic tangos by Carlos Gardel on the gramaphone. For my ninth birthday he gave me a bandoneon (button accordian), and I had lessons with a teacher who introduced me to classical music'.

in 1937 the Piazzolla family returned to Mar del Plata, but Astor was soon attracted more to the capital, and when only sixteen he moved to Buenos Aires, renting a small room as a lodger. He had been engaged as a bandoneon player in the band directed by Anibal Troilo, himself a specialist on the instrument, and was thus able to pay the rent with his first fees. At the same time he did not neglect his studies but took lessons in piano and harmony with a young teacher by the name of Alberto Ginastera, who went on to become a renowned composer.

in 1946 Astor got his own 'tipica' band together, playing nothing but tangos. It was the springboard he needed for his own development: 'I played my own arrangements, and started using triple rhythms in what had been a very four-square rhythmic pattern up to then, and experimenting with bold harmonies'. His innovations, however, met with little success and the group disbanded. He renewed his studies even more enthusiastically and founded a new string orchestra - which led him right back to failure and bitter disillusionment. Still he persisted; his hard upbringing in New York had taught him to be stubborn, with an aggressive edge.

The turning point came when Astor travelled to Europe in the 1950s to study conducting with Hermann Scherchen, and met Nadia Boulanger, the famous teacher of composition in Paris. She showed him that his identity was not in intellectual music but in the tango, spiced with a touch of classical style and jazz, and moulded by his own intuitive sense.

Once back in Buenos Aires he formed his first octet in 1955 and, by using what he had learned from Ginastera and Boulanger, as well as phrasing borrowed from jazz, he made his tangos swing with new life. As was to be expected this caused quite a stir in the ranks of the conservative tango players, but Piazzolla was not to be deflected from his new course. From now on his tango was a distinctively modern form that he exploited with his new quintet which achieved fame for their 'tango nuevo'. International recognition was at last his, and concerts and recordings flowed unceasingly. From the 1960s until his death in July 1992, his success never stopped growing.

From 1980 onwards, many classical guitarists started playing his music, and it was in response to a commission from the Argentinian guitarist Roberto Aussel that Piazzolla began writing for the guitar. His 'Histoire du Tango' for flute and guitar, as well as the 'Double Concerto' for guitar, banoneon, and string orchestra, are regularly performed and have been the subject of several recordings.

  • Composer
    Piazzolla, A
  • Instrumentation
    Flute Alone
  • Publisher
    Editions Henry Lemoine [24897H.L.]
  • Orchestration
    fl
  • Includes CD
    No
  • Classification
    Not Applicable
  • Genre
    Undefined
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