Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ouvertura Dramatica Op.5

Today's featured video is certainly a YouTube premiere of an early Piazzolla work and quite possibly a video of only the second performance of the piece in the world. It is an orchestral work, Ouvertura Dramatica, which is labeled as Opus 5. While some program notes from an earlier performance suggest the work was composed in the 1950's in Paris while Piazzolla studied with Nadia Boulanger, the opus number strongly suggests the work was actually composed sometime between 1943 (Op. 2) and 1945 (Op. 7) while Piazzolla was studying composition with Alberto Ginastera. The character of the music also strongly suggests that it was composed under the tutelage of Ginastera rather than Boulanger.

It is thanks to Roberto Pagani Salvalaio that we have the pleasure of hearing this music. Salvalaio has a relationship with Edizioni A. Pagani, the owner of much of the Piazzolla catalog and many of the original Piazzolla manuscripts, which evidently provides him unique access to some of Piazzolla's original music. He has re-scored the Ouvertura Dramatica for today's video as well as the rare oratorio El Pueblo Joven which he premiered in October, 2009 (I believe that Ouvertura Dramatica shared that premiere). The performance in today's video is by the Orchestra Camera Radio in Bucharest led by Mr. Salvalaio, himself.

As to the music itself, to my ear it presages nothing about Piazzolla's future compositions. Like much of Bartok's music and most of Schoenberg's music, there is intellectual interest but the listener is not transported anywhere by the music. It represents an evolutionary dead-end in Piazzolla's development as a composer and reaffirms the wisdom of Mme. Boulanger's advice to Piazzolla to "never leave the tango." I am, nevertheless, very grateful to Mr. Salvalaio for recovering this music and sharing it with us.

If the video does not appear below, click here.

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

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