Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tango Callejero - Pablo Zinger

I admit I did not recognize the tune. My ears are not golden like those of friend Pedro in NYC who can identify any Piazzolla tune after listening to a measure or two. I couldn't find Tango Callejero in my usual references and somehow missed the English version of the title that appears 10 seconds into the video. But, I am not embarrassed to ask. Both Pedro and Pablo Zinger responded to email notes with the title: Street Tango. Of course!

Pablo Zinger should know - he is not only the pianist in the video and the arranger of the piece, he was also there for the creation of Tango Apasionado (note: this is a link worthy of a click), the show for which this piece was composed. The Azzi/Collier book, Le Grand Tango, tells the story of Zinger answering the phone and hearing someone announce, "This is Astor Piazzolla" with Zinger's jocular response being, "And I am Christopher Columbus." Today, Zinger allows that what he actually said was "Don't f... with me, who is this?" But it was in fact Piazzolla, asking Zinger to be Musical Director for Tango Apasionado. He did fill that role and led the stage band for the production at the Westbeth Theater Center in NYC and also played the piano in Piazzolla's American Clavé recording,The Rough Dancer and the Cyclical Night which captures the music from Tango Apasionado.

Tango Callejero/Street Tango is performed in today's video by the trio of Zinger on piano, Jose Franch-Ballester on clarinet, and Young Song on cello. Much of Piazzolla's bandoneon part has been moved to the clarinet and Franch-Ballester does a remarkable job of bringing the emotion associated with the bandoneon to the clarinet. To my knowledge, this trio has not preserved their performances of Piazzolla works in a recording. They should and I hope they do - this is wonderful music.

Epilogue: Disagreements with the estate of Jorge Luis Borges over the use of his stories in Tango Apasionado have prevented it from becoming part of the world's stage repertoire. It is time for those disagreements to be revisited so this production can once again be enjoyed by all.

If the video does not appear below, click here.

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

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