Sunday, March 6, 2011

Concert d'aujourd'hui - Marimba Duo

On April 17, 2010, this blog issued a challenge to vibraphone and marimba players for a performance of Concert d'aujourd'hui. That challenge has now been met in today's video by Tatsuo Sasaki and Michiko Noguchi, who perform together as the Marimba Duo.

Concert d'aujourd'hui is the fourth movement in the Histoire du tango series composed in 1985 for guitar and flute. The first three are composed in the tango styles of 1900, 1930 and 1960, respectively. The fourth is meant to represent nuevo tango as conceived by Piazzolla. It is the most difficult of the four from both the perspective of the musician and the listener and for this reason it is the least frequently played - for every four performances of Cafe 1930 on YouTube, you will find only one of Concert d'aujourd'hui.

In addition to today's video, Marimba Duo have recorded two of the other Histoire series and they are available on their excellent CD, Riverdance. You can hear samples of these on YouTube here: Bordel 1900 and Cafe 1930. Sasaki and Noguchi only began playing together in 2009, but they have both long been stars in the marimba world. Sasaki is the Gary Burton of the classical world. He has performed around the world under conductors ranging from Leopold Stokowski to Zubin Mehta and was a Fulbright Scholar at the Julliard School. Ms. Noguchi has also performed around the world and has even played her marimba in the Japanese Imperial Court for the Emperor, his family, and nobles. In addition to her performing skills, she is also well known for her arrangements of a wide variety of pieces for marimba. The arrangement performed here of Concert d'aujourd'hui is hers and while her Histoire arrangements have not yet been published, you can find many of her other marimba arrangements published at Steve Weiss Music. Together, Sasaki and Noguchi certainly form one of the best marimba duos in the world.

Still missing from Marimba Duo is a performance of Nightclub 1960 to complete the Histoire series. Hopefully, we'll see that soon on YouTube or find it in their next recording.

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