Sunday, September 5, 2010

Windy - Minneapolis Guitar Quartet

Windy was a Yorkshire terrier and still just a puppy when Piazzolla composed the piece which carries her name in 1976. It appeared on one of Piazzolla's more experimental recordings, Persecuta. The album notes suggest that the music "flowed to a new rhythm, the tangabile." Perhaps not too new since Piazzolla first used the term for the piece Allegro tangabile which appeared in his operita, Maria de Buenos Aires, in 1968. I don't know the meaning or derivation of the word tangabile but would agree that there is something new and different in the music. Like most of the other pieces on Persecuta, Windy is not a piece that can instantly be recognized as a Piazzolla work. It has a strange combination of new age repetitiveness, a Schoenberg-like serialism and Renaissance rhythms near the end. The only Piazzolla "hooks" are the early melodic theme, which is recycled from the cinema score for Il pleut sur Santiago, and a brief interlude on the bandoneón in the middle of the original.

The piece is very rarely performed. Today's video is the only live performance of the work available on YouTube. The performance and arrangement are by the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet. Both the arrangement and the performance are superb. The voices of the four guitars are distinctive, the technique is flawless and the performance is very musical. Perhaps more important is the arrangement which is truly inspired leading to a finished product which is, in almost every way, better than Piazzolla's original. This performance is the gold standard for Windy.

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