Thursday, October 14, 2010

Libertango - Astor Piazzolla

I believe today's video of Astor Piazzolla performing Libertango is new to YouTube. The video, which I assume comes from Italian television - probably from 1974, shows Piazzolla and six accompanying musicians performing the original version of Libertango. In fact, I believe the sound track in the video is exactly the same as in the initial Carusello LP while Piazzolla and the others are syncing a performance in the studio for the visual part of the broadcast. Since Libertango went on to become Piazzolla's most performed composition (roughly one third of all Piazzolla performances on YouTube are of Libertango), this video is an important part of the video history of Piazzolla's music.

Libertango was composed in 1974, as one of seven short instrumental pieces aimed at radio play and commercial success. According to the Azzi/Collier book, Le Grand Tango, Piazzolla once joked to his son, Daniel, that "inventing the titles ... was harder than writing the music." The other titles from that set are Meditango, Undertango, Violentango, Novitango, Amerlitango and Tristango. The pieces were recorded in a Milano studio with studio musicians - some of whom are probably in today's video. Based on notes from the CD reissue of the original album, the musicians in the video may be: Gianni Zioli on marimba, Hugo Heredia or Gianni Baiocco on flute, Giuseppe Prestipino on bass guitar, Filippo Dacco on guitar, Tulio de Piscopo or Andrea Poggi on percussion. The sixth musician appears to be playing a synthesizer and there is no synthesizer player listed on the album notes. That musician looks a bit like young Daniel Piazzolla to me. Could it be?

Note added 14 October, 2010 after initial publication: Sergio López, an active member of, has noted that the marimba/xylophone player is not Gianni Zioli but is actually Aldo Pagani - the producer of the original Libertango album. That is very curious.

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