Edouard Pecourt was one of the few people in Paris in 1954 who knew the name of Astor Piazzolla but he did not know that Piazzolla had just arrived in Paris to study with Nadia Boulanger. Pecourt ran a record shop called La Boîte à Disques but more importantly, he was in love with the music of tango and had begun what was to become a lifelong obsession for collecting tango music memorabilia. He had taught himself how to read Spanish and knew of Piazzolla from reading tango magazines imported from Argentina. A mutual friend introduced them which started a close friendship, lasting until Piazzolla's death in 1992. Pecourt was a remarkable man and this interview by Greg Tozian, made shortly before Pecourt's death at the age of 83, is worth reading. It not only details his close relationship with Piazzolla but also gives a sense of the enormous vitality which Pecourt possessed.
Pecourt's collection grew to tens of thousands of items - recordings, video tapes, magazines, scores, posters, photographs - all related to tango. The collection includes what may be the definitive collection of Piazzolla recordings, an enviable collection of Piazzolla concert videos, a set of correspondence between he and Piazzolla and at least one autographed score of the piano cadenza to Adios Nonino. The collection resides today outside of Portland, Oregon where it is curated by his American wife, Jocelyn Howells. Today's first video features a tour of that collection narrated by Pablo Aslan. This blog recently profiled Aslan and his new recording, Piazzolla in Brooklyn. The tour Aslan shares in the video was part of the research he did in preparing that wonderful recording.
Piazzolla immortalized his friendship with Pecourt by dedicating to Edouard and his wife, Chau Paris, a piece he composed while studying in Paris and which he recorded there in 1955 on the album, Sinfonia de Tango. There are a number of versions of Chau Paris on YouTube but the one which I think is the most authentic is the performance by the Orquesta Típica "Central" del CSMA, a group which has been previously profiled in this blog. It is included below as the second video.
If the Pecourt tour video does not appear below, click here.
If the video of Chau Paris does not appear below, click here.
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