Thursday, December 17, 2009

Jeanne y Paul

In 1972, Bernardo Bertolucci was planning his upcoming film, Last Tango in Paris. According to the Azzi/Collier book, Le Grand Tango, Piazzolla was approached to do the music for the film. For reasons forever lost, he did not get the job - Gato Barbieri ultimately got the assignment to do the score. Piazzolla was evidently miffed and to show that he would have done a better job composed two pieces to show what a sound track with his music might have sounded like. One of those pieces is featured today, Jeanne y Paul.

The original was written for Piazzolla's nonette but it is performed here by a duo: Marcelo Nisinman on bandoneón and Danusha Waskiewicz on viola. The performance came from a program titled Transamericana and is in an orchestral setting in the Festspielhaus at St. Pölten, Austria. The informality of the arrangements suggest it is perhaps an unplanned encore and some of Nisinman's heroics with the bellows suggest that perhaps it was not heavily rehearsed. But this is an excellent performance of a rarely heard Piazzolla piece. The musicians are superb and the arrangement captures everything that was essential in the original. I envy the treat the audience received that night and am appreciative that it has been shared on YouTube.

The original was recorded by Piazzolla on an album long out of print but still available in the hard-to-find boxed set, Tagamente. That same set contains the other song written for Last Tango in Paris, El Penúltimo. Never one to waste a good song, Piazzolla's Italian agent, Aldo Pagani arranged to have both of these pieces recycled into the sound track of the movie, Cadaveri Eccelenti.

If the video does not appear below, click here.

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

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