Concert d'aujourd'hui is the black sheep of Piazzolla's Histoire du tango family. There are four movements to the Histoire, each depicting a period in the development of the tango. The first two, Bordel 1900 and Café 1930, are in the top ten of the most performed Piazzolla compositions. The third, Nightclub 1960, is thirteenth on the list and the fourth, Concert d'aujourd'hui, barely makes the top thirty. After questioning many performers who have posted their interpretations of the Histoire on YouTube, their reason for ignoring the piece has become clearer: they don't like it. I will partially accept that answer but unspoken is another reason: they don't understand it. The Histoire were written originally for flute and guitar and, without exception, the pieces have been performed as "classical" duets - as if they were composed by Mozart. That actually works rather well with the first three of the series. But with few exceptions, the classically trained musicians does not succeed when bringing this approach to Concert d'aujourd'hui. The music is meant to represent the tango nuevo as conceived by Piazzolla - it requires flare, unusual accents and rhythm you don't find in a metronome - what students of tango call canyengue, but as updated by Piazzolla.
You may sense my frustration. But today's video gives me hope. This Concert d'aujourd'hui is different. Unlike all the other interpretations, this one is arranged as a quartet - not a duet. Unlike all the other interpretations, this one is played in a jazz mode - not in a classical mode. And it works! Thanks be to the group Bluebaroque for finding Concert d'aujourd'hui, arranging it creatively and sharing it with us on YouTube. Bluebaroque consists of four professors from l'Ecole de Musique et de Danse de Saint-Joseph: Daniel Jaulin on contrabass, Sandrine Peter on piano, Jean Paul Bénard on flute and Roger Ebrard on drums. Their performance is creative, spirited and structurally interesting - I really like the way the contrabass and piano bring the music back after the unexpected drum break. Not quite canyengue but they have put this music on the right track. I hope others will listen and follow.
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