Thursday, April 15, 2010

Plus Ultra - Stasiu

The years 1958-1960 were difficult for Piazzolla. He returned to the city of his youth, New York City, to seek fame and fortune as a musician. He was not successful. The Azzi/Collier book, Le Grand Tango, reports that at one point Piazzolla was reduced to pursuing a job as a translator in a bank to pay the rent. The death of his father, with whom he was quite close, occurred during this time with the bittersweet result of the creation of his masterpiece, Adios Nonino. But, he did find work as a musician, appearing on American television and recording a number of albums - all of them driven not by artistic achievement but rather the need to support his family, which at that time included his two children. While in most of these albums, Piazzolla led an orchestra playing other people's music there was one album, Take Me Dancing, the Latin Rhythms of Astor Piazola[sic] and his Quintet, which contained eight of Piazzolla's compositions. One of those, Plus Ultra, is in our featured video today.

Although Plus Ultra is not rare, the sheet music is readily available, it is seldom heard. The performance is by eleven year old Stasiu playing at the Mlawa Accordion Festival in Poland. While I have almost become accustomed to seeing children perform music on YouTube, young Stasiu is in a different category than 99% of the young performers. His technical skills are well developed but his interpretive skills are quite extraordinary. Note his careful phrasing and rhythmic control. I hope he is aware that Piazzolla himself, as a youth of the same age in New York City, possessed a similar set of skills on the bandoneón. The musical world is wide open to children blessed with such abilities. Piazzolla certainly made his mark on the musical world and I suspect that Stasiu will also.

You can see more performances by Stasiu on his parent's YouTube channel. If the video does not appear below, click here.

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

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