Friday, July 31, 2009

Very Early Piazzolla Video

Eight very early Piazzolla videos were posted today. Some of these videos from the 1970's already exist on YouTube but others are new. This blog may revisit some of these as individual videos but I wanted to get them included in the blog as soon as possible. I'll embed the first one and provide links for the remaining seven. I have not had a chance to view all of these myself but believe they all come from a performance by the electronic octet. Piazzolla's son Daniel plays synthesizer in this group. Can you find him?

These videos all come from the personal collection of YouTube member, Iomega973 who also runs the Jazz Researcher website.

Thanks, Mr. Iomega.

If the video does not appear below, click here.

Additional videos: two, three, four, five, six, seven, and eight

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Meditango - Duo Consonance

What creates the winners? Is it the performers or the song? In today's video, I think it is the performers. Maria Grigoryeva and Natalia Potapenko, on violin and accordion, respectively, perform here as "Duo Consonance". The piece they play in this video, Meditango, was a commercially driven composition written to fill up an LP that would sell. Like almost all of Piazzolla's works, it is good music but it doesn't make my list of the 30 most frequently played Piazzolla compositions. I have heard it before, of course, but I don't think I ever really listened to it before this video. And the reason I listened this time, I believe, is the musicality that these two very talented women bring to the piece. The notes are technically perfect but it is the way the notes are played - the micropauses, the subtle dynamics within phrases, and the marvelous synchronization - that really captured this listener.

If you follow Maria's link above you will discover she is a composer and a competitively well recognized violinist who also is developing an interest in electronic music. Please, Maria, don't stray too far from your performance skills, you have a rare gift. Natalia, the other half of Duo Consonance, is from Saint-Petersburg, Russia and graduated from the Rimsky-Korsakov conservatory of music where she studied under accordionist masters V.Zaviruha and O. Sharov. She plays not only in classical venues but in an "Extreme Girl Folk" band called Iva Nova. I have sampled Iva Nova's music and will affirm it is not Piazzolla.

Duo Consonance has one other video on YouTube: Oblivion. It is also good but did not speak to me the way Meditango did. I certainly hope Duo Consonance have more Piazzolla on the way.

If the video does not appear below, click here.

To learn more about Piazzolla videos, visit the Piazzolla Video site.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Grace Jones In Hollywood

In March, 2009, I awarded Grace Jones "Most Bizarre Video of the Month" for her windswept performance of Libertango - I've seen that face before in Amsterdam. She returned to the Hollywood Bowl this week with a new, typically outrageous performance featuring a "tango" with a mannequin which bears a striking resemblance to herself. In Amsterdam her costume was the minimum required for a 60+ year old woman. In Hollywood, she is covered from wrist to ankle. The Batman mask has disappeared but a new Mohawkish headdress has appeared. The slightly vague sense of pitch is still there.

It sounds like the band is still playing from the same charts they used in 1981 when Ms. Jones issued the song as a single from her album Nightclubbing. The reggae beat and the words - written by Jones and Barry Reynolds - haven't changed. The song has it's own Wikipedia entry and the original MTV video is a classic of the genre.

We purists may grimace a bit at Grace Jones but I am willing to bet that she has performed the music of Piazzolla before more people than any other performer in history - including Piazzolla himself. She has packed large venues for 25 years and, I suspect, rarely given a concert that did not include Libertango - I've seen that face before. It is a signature song and her of fans demand it.

If the video does not appear below, click here.

To learn more about Piazzolla videos, visit the Piazzolla Video site.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Violentango - Burton and Corea

Gary Burton has appeared in this blog several times - first in a "reunion" concert in Rosario, then in a "reunion" concert in Buenos Aires and most recently in an early appearance in Ravenna with Piazzolla. At the risk of going into Burton overload, I am going to feature one more Burton video. This one is with his frequent performance partner, Chick Corea, on piano. The piece they perform is Violentango which Piazzolla first recorded in 1974 with studio musicians in a commercially oriented recording titled Libertango (caution, there are many Piazzolla CD's titled Libertango - the linked album is the original). It was recorded a second time in 1977 on the relatively rare recording, Olympia 77, with the electronic octet but, to my knowledge, was never recorded or played in quintet form by Piazzolla.

Violentango lends itself well to a jazz treatment and Burton and Corea and six other fine jazz musicians provide a spirited and highly improvisational version of it here. Daniel Freitas, who posted this video, is an admirer of Burton and a vibraphone student himself. He identifies two of the other musicians as Danilo Perez on piano and Raul Luzzi on guitar. Some of the other four musicians involved look familiar but I don't know my jazz musicians well enough to identify them. Perhaps a reader will step forward and help.

Burton and Corea are touring together as this is being written and Daniel has tickets to see them on Friday. Enjoy the concert for us, Daniel!

If the video does not appear below, click here.

To learn more about Piazzolla videos, visit the Piazzolla Video site.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Drum Antidote

In case your nerves feel the need for an antidote to the immediately preceding 18 drummers, take a deep breath and enjoy this remarkable and soothing dance video.

The dancers are David Gauthier and Catherine Boucher, the occasion is the 2009 Dance Festival in Agen, France, and the music is Ave Marie. David and Catherine dance as the team Impulsion Tango and have developed an incredible mastery of slow grace in the seven years they have danced together. The music is from the film score to Enrico IV and was originally titled Tanti Anni prima to denote the theme associated with one of the characters in the film. That name is fading as the music has gained popularity under the more memorable title of Ave Maria. It is, to me, the Piazzolla piece most capable of causing "goose bumps" when it is played just to the edge of maudlinness.

Thank you David and Catherine for the beauty of your dance and for the goose bumps.

If the video does not appear below, click here.

To learn more about Piazzolla videos, visit the Piazzolla Video site.

The Piazzolla Drum Corp

The question is not how many drummers does it take to play Piazzolla. The question is: how many drummers CAN play Piazzolla all together at the same time? And, the answer based on this video is approximately 18.

It looks like a parent's concert night at the Schule für Individuelle Musik in Freilassing, Germany and percussion instructor, Radu Alex Buzac, is putting his students through their paces. Radu takes the stage near the end to show his skills and at the very end announces the names of all the students on the stage - a classy touch. The pianist is unnamed but deserves recognition - this is not the easiest accompanist job in the world - and, she plays a good Libertango. You can tell by the way the kids respond that Radu is a good teacher. He is also a remarkably good drummer - check out this video.

A good time was had by all and perhaps a world's record for most drummers on a single Piazzolla song was set.

If the video does not appear below, click here.

To learn more about Piazzolla videos, visit the Piazzolla Video site.

New Piazzolla Video - With Gary Burton in Ravenna

A little history gleaned from the Azzi/Collier book, Le Grand Tango:

Piazzolla first met Gary Burton in 1965 at the Club 676 in Buenos Aires where he heard Burton play with Stan Getz. In the early 80's, Piazzolla renewed the acquaintance by attending a Burton/Chick Corea concert. Backstage he suggested a collaboration to Burton. Piazzolla wrote six pieces for that collaboration, including today's featured video, Milonga is coming. After short rehearsals in New York and Milan, Piazzolla made their first public performance together on July 4, 1986 at a Jazz Festival in Ravenna. We are fortunate indeed that someone captured that event on video. Shortly thereafter, Burton and Piazzolla performed the six pieces at the Montreux Jazz festival which can be enjoyed on both a rare DVD and CD. Until this video appeared, my assumption was that those two media represented the only record of their performances together. Both Burton and Piazzolla acknowledged the large influence each had on the others musical life. Burton continues to play Piazzolla's music today.

The performance of Milonga is coming is long enough that it is spread out over two videos. A comment on one of the videos indicates that more may be coming - the person posting Milonga is coming has video of the full concert.

If the video does not appear below, click here for Part 1 and here for Part 2.

To learn more about Piazzolla videos, visit the Piazzolla Video site.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Successful Harp Transplant by Ben Melsky

Ben Melsky strikes me as a special musician. He is a harpist. That is special in itself. There must be 5,000 flute players and 100,000 guitarists for every harpist in this world. He has impressive training from Northwestern University, one of the best music programs in the U.S.A. He has a breadth of repertoire that you can't believe - ranging from the Dixie Chicks to Debussy and at his young age has appeared with the Lyric Opera of Chicago and Clay Aiken. But what probably impresses me most is his commitment to the composers of Latin America. He has personally transcribed for harp, music by Brouwer, Rodrigo, Villa-Lobos and, of course, Piazzolla.

The featured video shows Melksky playing Triston from Piazzolla's Cinqo Piezas para Guitarra. These guitar pieces were written in the early 80's for solo guitar, probably with the late Cachao Tirao in mind although according to the Azzi/Collier book, Le Grand Tango, they were introduced to the public by Roberto Aussel. Melsky has also provided videos for two of the other Cinqo Piezas, Accentuado and Campero, which can be viewed below. Hopefully, the remaining two, Romantico and Compadre, will eventually make it to YouTube once Ben overcomes some reported technical transfer problems.

If you want to judge for yourself the success of Melsky's transplant of Cinqo Piezas from guitar to harp, you might want to view the definitive performance of Campero by Roberto Aussel (starts at 3'17" into the video) and compare it to Melsky's performance of Campero.

If the video does not appear below, click here.

Two additional videos:

To learn more about Piazzolla videos, visit the Piazzolla Video site.

PortoTango - La Muerte del Ángel

Here's a different quintet voice. Piazzolla's traditional quintet consisted of bandoneon, violin, electric guitar, piano and contrabass. PortoTango addresses the same music with a quintet of violin, cello, two guitars and piano. It's is quite a different sound but one which still touches on authenticity with the advantage of two distinct choirs - smooth strings (violin and cello) and percussive strings (the two guitars) with piano providing a unifying base. The musicians in Portotango include David Wyn Lloyd, violin; Jaroslav Mikus, cello; José Parra, piano; and Óscar Flecha and Jorge Silva, guitars. While not in either of the posted videos, PortoTango also includes vocalist Manuel Vidal.

PortoTango have posted videos of La muerte del ángel and Otoño Porteño. I have chosen to feature La muerte del ángel although the Otoño Porteño takes better advantage of the two choir possibility. The former just sounds better to my ear - some liberties are taken with the melody as presented by the violin in the latter which, while not unpleasant or inappropriate, just don't sound right to me.

PortoTango have two CD's listed on their website and these two songs provide representatives from both. You can buy their most recent CD, Sin esquinas, here. The discography on their website also provides a number of mp3 song samples and a second website provides some additional mp3 samples.

If the video does not appear below, click here.

To learn more about Piazzolla videos, visit the Piazzolla Video site.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Chen Min And The Erhu Meet Libertango

Some may have observed that this blog has a predilection toward Piazzolla on unusual instruments. Those observations are correct. And here is another example: Libertango on the erhu. The erhu is a Chinese bowed string instrument. It has two strings tuned a fifth apart and is bowed with the bow hair between the two strings. Like a banjo, it uses a membrane over a resonator body to amplify the sound. Unlike the banjo, it uses python skin as the membrane.

The erhu player in this video is Chen Min. An article from the Shanghai Star tells us that Chen Min was "born in Suzhou and grew up in Shanghai before leaving to attend college in Japan in 1991, returning in 1997." If you enjoy the sound, Ms. Chen has recorded several CD's, two Japanese imports are available in the U.S. If you enjoy the sound but can't wait for the CD's to arrive, you might view her version of Feel the Moon. It's not Piazzolla but it's pretty.

If the video does not appear below, click here.

To learn more about Piazzolla videos, visit the Piazzolla Video site.

Friday, July 24, 2009

What's New with Mozart and Piazzolla

Yesterday, it was announced that two new works by Mozart have been discovered in Austria. Yesterday, I discovered a new (to me anyway) "bootleg" recording of a concert Piazzolla gave at the Auditorio Juan Victoria in San Juan, Argentina sometime in the 1980's. Today's featured "video" (actually, it is audio only) is an unusual version of Milonga del ángel from that "bootleg." It's unusual because the Quintet has a rough start. You will hear Piazzolla mutter "Está mal eso" and hear an angry dissonant chord before the quintet finally finds their groove after ten seconds of trying.

The "video" was posted by Benjamin Szvalb who is from San Juan - the site of the recording. Szvalb is familiar to YouTube tango fans. He is a young bandoneónist who has shared his own playing and his collection of rare tango recordings for several years on YouTube. He is also a civil engineering student and restorer of bandoneóns. While new to me, it turns out that more serious Piazzollistas have had this "bootleg" for years but I thank Benjamin for making it more broadly available.

If the video does not appear below, click here.

To learn more about Piazzolla videos, visit the Piazzolla Video site.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Singing For Their Supper

It is a treasured memory - the sound of a dozen or so women singing a Swiss folksong as we rode together on an old cog railway from Wilderswil up to Schynige Platte. The singing (and yodeling) was spontaneous as it probably was in today's video which features the group Perpetuum Jazzile singing Libertango in a Buenos Aires restaurant. I envy the memory the other restaurant patrons must have now.

It is probably safe to speculate that Perpetuum Jazzile is the most famous choir in Slovenia, perhaps the most famous in all of eastern Europe. Their fame, alas, does not come from their performance of Piazzolla but rather from their performance of Toto's Africa. The Africa video has been viewed more than three million times. To put that in perspective, the most viewed Piazzolla video is the Yo-Yo Ma version of Libertango which has been viewed about a half million times. Another perspective, less pleasant perhaps, is that Avil Lavigne's Girlfriend video has been viewed more than a hundred million times. But, I digress ...

Tomaž Kozlevčar and his singers are to be saluted. You will find other a capella versions of Libertango on YouTube but you will not find any as fun as this one. There is more Perpetuum Jazzile to be enjoyed here on YouTube. Or, you can buy their 2006 CD, Čudna noč or pre-order their new CD and DVD, Africa, which is to be issued in October of this year. The contents of the Africa CD have not yet been announced but let's hope it includes Libertango.

If the video does not appear below, click here.

To learn more about Piazzolla videos, visit the Piazzolla Video site.

Busking on a Gaudi Bench

Busking on this Baudi inspired, if not designed, bench in Barcelona are three guitarists known collectively as Guitarras Nocturnas. By individual name they are German Prieto, Lucas Turquie, and Jorge Martire. Their sign suggests you can buy their CD for ten euros. If I had witnessed this performance, I would have bought one and left another ten euros in the guitar case as a tip. These guys play gypsy style jazz with a Lunfardo tilt which might be expected since at least two of the three are from Buenos Aires and at least one of them, Lucas Turquie, has formally studied tango music there.

Libertango, the featured tune in today's video, is not the only Piazzolla in their busking repertoire, they also play Fuga y Misterio.

If you are in Barcelona and can't find Guitarras Nocturnas on the street, just drop by the upscale Espai Barroc bar at 11 PM on most Mondays in August and give the man at the door seven euros to get in. I think you will enjoy the music.

If the video does not appear below, click here.

To learn more about Piazzolla videos, visit the Piazzolla Video site.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Academy Award Winner Plays Piazzolla

Libertango is Piazzolla's most popular piece and with more than 100 versions of it posted on YouTube every month, it takes something special to hold my attention. Today's video did. It started a bit awkwardly with a distinguished looking gentlemen playing piano in a formal concert venue. The playing was a bit stiff but the arrangement was unusual - so I listened a little more. All of a sudden the pianist stopped looking at his music and a most unusual and fluid arrangement of Libertango unfolded. My mind had initially classified the performance as "classical" but it morphed into "jazz" as the pianist began to play what he heard in his head. Near the end, he once again looked up at the music and returned to a more formal setting of Libertango. Most curious.

It was not until I googled the name of the pianist, Luis Bacalov, that I understood this was something special. Bacalov is a prolific Argentine composer famous for his movie soundtrack work. Twice he has been nominated for an Academy Award and he won the best original music score award for his music for the movie Il Postino. If you are a movie fan, you have probably heard his music. The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) indicates that Bacalov's music has found it's way into 173 movies!

The video is from a March 8, 2009 concert at the Teatro G. Verdi di Fiorenzuola d'Arda by Bacalov and singer, Anna Maria Castelli. Videos were also posted of Bacalov playing Invierno Porteño, Decarissimo and his own composition honoring Piazzolla, Astoriando. Ms. Castelli provided vocals for Balada para un loco and Yo soy Maria. The concert also included many classic tango tunes and they are all a delight and they are all on YouTube. You can read a full review of the concert here.

If the video does not appear below, click here.

To learn more about Piazzolla videos, visit the Piazzolla Video site.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Metropolitan Museum of Piazzolla Video

Here's the fact: HAranquiz has posted more than 1200 tango videos on YouTube, many of them of historic interest, many of them related to Piazzolla.

Here's the fiction: Wealthy Argentine industrialist, Hugo Aranquiz, has purchased the apartment building at 313 E. 9th Street in New York City which was the boyhood home of Astor Piazzolla and converted it into a museum to house his vast collection of historic tango video. The ground floor houses the museum shop where music and videos are sold. Each of the next four floors are named after a movement in Piazzollla's L'histoire du tango and feature a dozen 102"Samsung HD video monitors playing video from the collection. Sound is provided through wireless headphones which capture the sound of the video being viewed. The top floor of the museum contains a reconstructed Buenos Aires dance hall and functions as a performance space with concerts offered Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday night. Museum director, former New York Times music critic, Dr. Chester Timribber, has announced that the museum's collection of Piazzolla scores will soon be open to the public.

Before you try to visit the museum, I repeat - it is fiction, I made the whole story up. But, wouldn't it be a great idea?

Now, back to facts. HAranquiz has posted a number of Piazzolla videos, most of which are new to YouTube. These videos include:

From the 1989 Amsterdam concert with Sextet

La Yumba
Adios Nonino
Preludio y fuga (new)
Milonga del angel (new)
Buenos Aire hora cero (new)
Luna (new)

From a 1983 concert at Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires:

Adios Nonino (new)

Thanks, Hugo

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Finally Together, Again

We began the story of the historic 1989, joint performance in Amsterdam of Astor Piazzolla and Osvaldo Pugliese in this blog earlier this month. If you don't know the story you might want to read that blog entry before viewing today's videos.

The first video below finishes the joint performance as Adios Nonino follows La Yumba. Note the perplexed looks on the faces of both Piazzolla and Pugliese as Geraldo Gandini, then pianist with Piazzolla's sextet, provides an improvised and most unusual prelude to Adios Nonino.

The second video is an interview with the two legendary tango artists.

Thank you, Hugo, for sharing the video.

If the video does not appear below, click here for Adios Nonino and here for the interview.

Video embedding is currently blocked. You must click the links above to view the videos.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Is It Sacha or Sasha?

I doubt if Sacha Cohen, the actor, has ever heard of Piazzolla but I am confidant that Sasha Cohen, the Olympic Silver Medal winning ice skater has. If fact, it would not surprise me to learn that more professional level ice skaters than professional level musicians know Piazzolla as a composer. His music is very popular as accompaniment to "short and long program" competitive skating and ice dancing competitions although the choice of composition seems limited to Libertango, Oblivion or Adios nonino. Today's video of Adios nonino is not a performance video, the usual topic of this blog. It is rather, a preview (a teaser) of the "short program" music that Sasha Cohen plans to use in the upcoming 2009-2010 season. One can easily imagine the double axels, the triple loop jumps and the flying camel spins appearing as the music goes from a booming, heavily brass-enabled orchestra, to the quiet reflective moments of the delicate bandoneon/piano duet, to the lush strings leading to the Beethoven-9th-Symphony-Freude-Schöner-esque choral climax. There must be lots of money in this ice skating game to afford to commission a performance like this.

If you like your Piazzolla over-the-top, this is the performance for you.

If the video does not appear below, click here.

To learn more about Piazzolla videos, visit the Piazzolla Video site.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Adios Menino

"Libertou-se o menino", the phrase titled a blog posting by Clovis Horst Lindner, a Lutheran pastor in Brazil, on the day Michael Jackson died. The phrase translates roughly to "The boy is liberated." Libertou-se o menino was one of the more thoughtful commentaries on this very public and tragic event. Then yesterday, Sonia Silveira from Montreal, Canada took the words from that commentary and created a PowerPoint presentation with a series of black and white photos of Jackson and a soft Chopin accompaniment. Today, the text and photos have found their way to YouTube in three versions - the first simply a YouTube version of the PowerPoint presentation, the second shared again the slides but to the accompaniment of Jackson's Heal the World, and the third - our featured video today - adds to the text and photos, a somber solo bandoneon version of Piazzolla's immortal Adios Nonino performed by Juan Martín Fernández.

It makes a powerful tribute. Adios menino.

If the video does not appear below, click here.

To learn more about Piazzolla videos, visit the Piazzolla Video site.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Milonga del Ángel - Fugata Quintet

The definitive Saito discography indicates that Piazzolla recorded Milonga del ángel ten times spread across nearly 25 years beginning in 1965. If one just listened to today's video by the Fugata Quintet, one might be convinced it was one of those ten performances. It is very, very close to the Piazzolla originals. The slight timbre differences between the accordion and the bandoneon and perhaps a little less urgency in the middle portions of the piece are the only clues that this is not the real thing. I salute Fugata for their devotion to the authentic Piazzolla. I note there is no music in front of them during the performance - this is something with which classically trained musicians like those in Fugata are usually very uncomfortable. It is a tribute to Fugata that they have internalized the music to this extent and can add their soul to the notes that Piazzolla provided. I believe it is adding to the listeners experience.

Fugata is a new group to me and I believe this is their first appearance on YouTube. Their website is excellent and contains bios of the musicians: Zivorad Nikolic (accordion), Anastasios Mavroudis (violin), Antonis Hatzinikolaou (guitar), Anahit Chaushyan (piano) and James Opstad (double bass). You will also find downloadable mp3's of Milonga del ángel and Primavera Porteñas (they are already on my iPod) and a sample of Concierto para quinteto for listening.

I want to see and hear much more.

If the video does not appear below, click here.

To learn more about Piazzolla videos, visit the Piazzolla Video site.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Why? Why? Why?

A chain of why's formed from viewing a mediocre violin performance of Piazzolla's Tango Etude No. 3. Why would someone post such a unflattering performance? Why would someone play an etude written for flute on a violin? Why, for that matter, did Piazzolla write not one but four etudes for flute?

I think the answer to the first "why" is that the offending video was posted by a clueless "friend" - if you are a performer, watch out for the tiny camcorders pointed your way. Answer to the second is because it is nice music for not just the flute but for many instruments as will been demonstrated in the three posted videos below. It is the third question which really puzzles me. The flute was fundamental to early tango but Piazzolla was hardly tied to early tango in any way. Piazzolla did include a flute part in the original score for Maria de Buenos Aires and included a flute player, Arturo Schneider, in the later formations of his octet in the late 70's. One his most popular works (from the perspective of frequency of performance), Histoire du tango was composed for flute and guitar. Were these written for Schneider? Were they written as commissions? Were they written as a gift for a special friend? Did Piazzolla secretly play the flute? Perhaps the answer is written somewhere and most certainly there are those alive today who know the answer to those questions. Hopefully, you will read the answer here some day. If you already know the answer, please comment below.

While the etudes were written for flute, they are challenging and intriguing enough that all sorts of instruments attempt them: violins, guitars, mandolins, clarinets and baritone horns. Here are three examples of Tango Etude No. 3 for you to compare and contrast. The first is played on flute by Frieda Chan (you need to go 3' 40" into the video to see No. 3). The second, the strongest of the three in my view, is on violin by Jean (Rudy) Perrault from the University of Minnesota at Duluth. And the third, the most unusual, a virtuosic performance on clarinet by Anton Dressler at the Hong Kong International Chamber Music Festival.

If the videos do not appear below, click these links for flute, violin and clarinet.

To learn more about Piazzolla videos, visit the Piazzolla Video site.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Harmonica, Seriously

Harmonicas have appeared in this blog before - both in the hands of virtuosi and otherwise. Today's video features a serious harmonica player, José Staneck. Mr. Staneck has a masters degree in music from Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro and is director of the prestigious music school, Musiarte, in Rio. In 2006, he recorded a solo album of serious music composed for the harmonica, including a piece by Villa-Lobos. He is also a composer of music for the harmonica and you will hear one of his pieces on his MySpace page.

In today's video he joins Ricardo Santoro on cello and Flávio Augusto on piano to perform Primavera Porteñas. The harmonica may provide the novelty in this video but the attractiveness of the music lies more in the beautiful playing of Santoro, whose rounded and mellow style reminds me of the richness of Fernando Suarez Paz, and the more than capable Augusto on piano. You will find this duo on other videos on YouTube. I particularly commend their performance of Villa-Lobos's O Canto do Cisne Negro where Mr. Augusto's skills are quite apparent.

However, if it is the harmonica that is of interest, you may wish to also view the performance videos of Invierno Porteño and Meditango, both of which feature Staneck and his harmonica.

If the video does not appear below, click here.

To learn more about Piazzolla videos, visit the Piazzolla Video site.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Nightclub 1960 - Solo Vibraphone

Gary Burton set a high standard when he began to perform Piazzolla's music on the vibraphone but that standard may now have been exceeded by Andrei Pushkarev (you will need to scroll to the bottom of the linked article to read his bio) as demonstrated in today's video of a solo performance of Nightclub 1960 by Mr. Pushkarev. Nightclub 1960 was composed as part of a suite for flute and guitar. It is not unusual to see performances where either the flute or guitar part is taken by a vibraphone but this is the first instance I have heard where both parts are taken simultaneously by a single vibraphone. While not credited in the video, I believe that the arrangement is by Pushkarev himself. Pushkarev was once percussionist in Gidon Kremer's famed Kremerata Baltica and later toured as a duo with Kremer, playing violin-vibraphone duets of Piazzolla's music which he had arranged. Let's hope video or audio recordings of those duo performances will be made available in the future.

Pushkarev moves smoothly between wistful and hopeful moods in the piece and creates a sense of anticipation that riveted me to my screen throughout the performance. That such beautiful music can be created by hitting aluminum alloy bars with rubber balls on sticks is a tribute to the skills and sensitivities of Mr. Pushkarev.

There are two additional Pushkerev videos you may want to enjoy: Fuga y misterio played with the Kremerata Baltica and Jean & Paul played with his Vibe Trio.

You may need to adjust the loudness of your viewing device up to fully appreciate this video - the gain is a bit low in the original.

If the video does not appear below, click here.

To learn more about Piazzolla videos, visit the Piazzolla Video site.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

New Piazzolla Video - Finally Together

Today's video captures a bit of one of the most famous concerts in tango history. On June 26 of 1989, in Amsterdam's Royal Theater Carré, Astor Piazzolla and his Sextet appeared on stage simultaneously with Osvaldo Pugliese and his Orquesta Tipica. It was a classic moment when the two musical groups fused to play, in a single arrangement, Pugliese's La Yumba followed by Piazzolla's Adios Nonino. This video provides only the La Yumba portion of the performance but provides hope that the Adios Nonino portion of the video survives and will someday appear in this blog. The full performance can be heard in the now discontinued 2 CD set, titled Finally Together.

Pugliese was 84 when this video was made and survived another six years to die at the age of 90. Piazzolla was 68 and survived only three more years, dying exactly 17 years ago today (July 4). This video, in fact, may be the last made of Piazzolla as a performer.

If the video does not appear below, click here.

To learn more about Piazzolla videos, visit the Piazzolla Video site.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Diana Piazzolla (1943-2009)

The death of Diana Piazzolla, Astor Piazzolla's only daughter was announced today.

Diana was a talented poet and writer. She collaborated with her father on two pieces, Requiem para un malandra and Todo fue, providing lyrics for both.

Todo fue is provided below in her memory.

If the video does not appear below, click here.

If Angels Can Dance . . .

If angels can dance, they will choose to dance to this music. One of Piazzolla's most perfect compositions, Milonga del angel, is rendered here in a classical manner by Dutch guitarist, Nathasja van Rosse. Every note has a full life and purpose in this careful and thoughtful interpretation. Ms. van Rosse has a special interest in music of Latin America and her first CD contains music not only of Piazzolla but also of composer and guitarist,Leo Brouwer, who did not arrange this piece but is responsible for arranging a widely played guitar version of La muerte del angel (played here by Brouwer, himself). Her second CD, Levantine, has a more contemporary flair.

Adding to the enjoyment of this video is the superb sound. Guitars are not the easiest instrument to record, particularly in a live concert environment, and it is done perfectly here. Congratulations to Frank Reijgersberg of Gitaarsalon who I am guessing is responsible for the good work here.

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To learn more about Piazzolla videos, visit the Piazzolla Video site.

June Review of Piazzolla Videos

There were 525 videos of Piazzolla’s music posted on YouTube in the month of June, 2009 – the highest number posted this year. 379 (72%) of the videos were performance videos featuring live performances. The others were videos which used Piazzolla’s music as a sound track for photo or video montages. I highlighted my journey through these many videos in this blog.

Forty-four percent of the performance videos were in the classical mode, 21% in Nuevo tango, 19% in pop and 16% in jazz.

Here are the most frequently performed pieces this month (Libertango was the most frequently played – 37% of the total; the others follow in order):

1. Libertango
2. Oblivion
3. Adios Nonino
4. Invierno Porteño
5. Histoire du Tango - Café 1930
6. La muerte del ángel
7. Verano Porteño
8. Histoire du Tango – Bordel 1900
9. Histoire du Tango – Nightclub 1960
10. Milonga del ángel

The top three on this list seem to be fairly stable month-to-month but the bottom seven change every month.

The performance videos came from 46 different countries. Italy posted the most videos: 60. Israel appears on this list for the first time. The top ten posting countries are listed in order here:

1. Italy
2. USA
3. Argentina
4. Spain
5. Brazil
6. Russia
7. France
8. Japan
9. Germany
10. Israel

There was only one video posted which featured a performance by Piazzolla. The video, a solo performance of Adios Nonino, had not been posted previously on YouTube.

Quality of performance varied from excellent to bizarre. There were a number of truly excellent performances this month ranging from a jazz performances of La muerte del ángel by a marimba consort from Venezuela to the marvelously somber rendition of Oblivion by Stjepan Hauser on cello but the video that emerges as the winner was the performance of Café 1930 by flutist, Ann Elkjär, and guitarist, Martin Fogel, selected for the sheer musicality of their performance.

The choice for most bizarre this month was less difficult. A solo accordionist serenading Japanese tourists with Libertango in a gondola in the canals of Venice was the winner.

The best and most bizarre videos may be viewed below.

I have put a table with links to all 525 videos as well as some more information on the videos on the June link in my Piazzolla on Video website.

Best video for June, 2009:

Most bizarre video for June, 2009:

To learn more about Piazzolla videos, visit the Piazzolla Video site.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Adios Nonino - Piazzolla Bandoneón Solo

The catalog of original Piazzolla videos on YouTube continues to grow with today's solo performance by Piazzolla of his classic, Adios Nonino. Perhaps a reader of this blog can comment with additional information on the date and source of this video. The text with the video suggests it came from a TV program titled Mateico but my lack of success finding information on such a program on Google leaves much to be known. The format of the clip suggests that the original included an interview with Piazzolla. Unfortunately, only a few seconds of that interview remain.

A well-done but short biographical video of Piazzolla was also recently posted. No new video of Piazzolla was included. If you enjoy this biographical view, there is a 2008 video posting which is similar but contains more early photos from Piazzolla's career.

Many thanks to YouTube member, discepolin, for providing today's video.

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To learn more about Piazzolla videos, visit the Piazzolla Video site.