Magnificent and moving: two words which best capture for me the Walter Rios interpretation of Adios Nonino in today's video. This is perhaps the best orquesta típica arrangement of the piece I have ever heard. Adios Nonino, while not performed as frequently as Libertango, is still arguably Piazzolla's most famous composition. The Azzi/Collier book, Le Grand Tango, suggests that Piazzolla wrote at least twenty arrangements of Adios Nonino and those range from solo bandoneón to full orchestra. The arrangement he provided for his famous duo concert with Osvaldo Pugliese would qualify as an orquesta típica arrangement but Rios has captured the breadth of the composition even better here and even includes a little salute to Pugliese in one of the more joyous moments in the arrangement.
Adios Nonino was composed in 1959, at the time of the death of Piazzolla's father - known to Piazzolla's children as Nonino (translates approximately as "little grandfather"). It was based on a joyful tango he had composed earlier, titled Nonino, but contrasted that melody with musical expressions of the sorrow felt strongly at the time. The best arrangements always capture both the joy of remembrance and the sorrow of passing and Rios does that beautifully here. The poignancy communicated in the bandoneón solo at roughly five minutes into the video is just perfect.
While I believe this performance is new to YouTube, it is actually from a famous August, 2005 performance at ND Ateneo which included many of the most famous tango musicians of the day. It was a complicated arrangement in which the musicians alternated through roles of performer, arranger and conductor - sometimes doing all three as Rios does in this video. In addition to Rios, members of the orquesta tipica are Ernesto Baffa, Horacio Romo, and Pablo Mainetti on bandoneón; Mario Abramovich, Eduardo Walczak, Mauricio Marchelli, Damián Bolotín, Pablo Agri, and Miguel Angel Bertero on violin, Mario Fiocca on viola; Diego Sánchez on cello; Horacio Cabarcos on contrabass; and Nicolás Ledesma on piano. The beautiful violin solo which Rios generously acknowledges was by the reigning dean of tango violinist, Mario Abramovich.
This performance is available as Seleccion Nacional de Tango: En Vivo in both CD and DVD formats.
My thanks to the poster of the video, Carla Romma, for the additional information which made this blog posting possible.
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