Friday, March 11, 2011

Fuga y Misterio - The Folk Process

Musicologists are fond of citing the folk process at work in such tunes as Barbara Allen or Fisher's hornpipe. The original tune or lyrics are transmogrified to something different as they pass aurally from musician to musician. Classical musicians think of themselves as "above" the folk process but it goes on there too - at least it does with Piazzolla's Fuga y misterio. Fuga y misterio began as incidental instrumental music for the operita, Maria de Buenos Aires. It is played as Maria leaves the suburbs, enters the city and wanders in bewilderment. The first video below features the audio track of the original version from the initial production of the work in 1968. Piazzolla himself opens the fugue on the bandoneĆ³n.

The great classical popularizer of Piazzolla's music, Gidon Kremer, plays a very literal interpretation of the work on his CD, Maria de Buenos Aires. Even the instrumentation remains the same. No folk process at work here. But then, vibraphonist Andrei Pushkarev, makes an astonishing creative leap and arranges a second version for Kremer which bursts with jazz energy. Arguably, it is a better piece of music than the original. Kremer and Pushkarev would call it "an arrangement", but it looks like folk process to me. That version is the second video below.

And then in another astonishing creative leap, Natalie Galstyan, has "transcribed and arranged" Pushkarev's arrangement for chamber orchestra and voices. "Transcribed" usually means "I don't have the original score but I listened carefully and wrote down the music for what I heard." In this case, Ms. Galsyan took the additional step of arranging it again. Sounds to me like the folk process at work. Arguably, it is a better piece of music than Mr. Pushkarev's. The "misterio" section now becomes a full blown, ragtime-gypsy-inspired celebration topped off with some Swingle singer type vocalization. The result is a real crowd pleaser that should be replicated in concert halls all around the world. That version becomes the third video posted below.

Pushkarev, one of my favorite interpreters of Piazzolla, has been featured in this blog before. Ms. Galstyan and her Dominatus Vox Orchestra are new to me and for such a unique and talented organization they deserve more attention - something like a world tour. I was unable to find much information about Ms. Galstyan but she is clearly both a creative force and a very confident, charismatic and photogenic musical leader. It would not surprise me to see her "discovered" and find herself on the fast track to fame. Armenia's loss would be the musical world's gain.

If the videos do not appear below, click here for the original -- here for the Pushkarev/Kremer version -- and, here for the Galstyan/Dominatus Vox version

The Original


Galstyan/Dominatus Vox

To learn more about Piazzolla videos, visit the Piazzolla Video site.

Follow Piazzolla on Video on Twitter.

No comments:

Post a Comment