Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Adios Nonino - Raúl Jaurena

A lifetime of immersion in the sound of Adios Nonino is captured in the bandoneón solo by Raúl Jaurena in today's video. For those new to Adios Nonino, this is not a performance of that work. It is a fantasia on a theme from Adios Nonino created by a master of the bandoneón, a composer, a student of the tango and a dedicated admirer of Piazzolla. There are other such fantasias but this captures the elegiac portions of Adios Nonino better than any I have heard. It is very original in concept (yes, I know the Bach is there and I think Piazzolla would appreciate the salute) but faithful to the emotion of the original and the execution has a spontaneity about it which is surprising - one feels this is the first time he has played it this way, yet, surely it the work of much practice. It is a wonderful work that holds up well to repeated listening.

Juarena has recorded extensively and has performed with many of the best tango musicians in the world. His biography indicates he has been playing the bandoneón since he was a child and was playing in a tango orchestra when he was eight. The biography also refers to his playing with Piazzolla at the Montreal Jazz Festival - something which I cannot confirm. In fact, some references refer to a teenage Juarena performing with Piazzolla at the Montreal Jazz Festival. That is highly unlikely since Juarena, born in 1941, was 39 years old when the Montreal Jazz Festival began in 1980 and 43 years old when Piazzolla played there in 1984. Surely their paths crossed - Piazzolla had a home in Juarena's native Uruguay and the world of bandoneónists is pretty small - but perhaps some stories have been conflated to create the Montreal Jazz Festival connection.

While he has recorded extensively, Juarena tends to record his own compositions or classic tangos rather than the works of Piazzolla - a recording of solo bandoneón interpretations of Piazzolla would certainly be welcome based on the evidence of today's video.

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