Sunday, February 19, 2012

Bailongo - Franch-Puchades-Marín

Bailongo, the word means dance party in Spanish, performed by the trio of Carles Marín on piano, José Franch-Ballester on clarinet and Josep Puchades on viola, is the featured video today. It is a rarely performed Piazzolla work - today's video is the only live performance of it on YouTube. Were it to be played at a dance party, the dancers would break into a nimble footed milonga - quite atypical for a Piazzolla composition.

Bailonga is from Tango Apasionado, a musical drama which Piazzolla created in 1987, around two short stories written by Jorge Luis Borges. Pablo Zinger was the musical director for the production which had a short but successful run in New York City. Unfortunately, unresolved disputes with the Borges estate and perhaps the loss of the original musical manuscripts have prevented the work from being revived. Fortunately, much of the instrumental music survives through the excellent Kip Hanrahan produced CD, The Rough Dancer and the Cyclical Night. You can hear the original version of Bailongo here. The Azzi/Collier book, Le Grand Tango, relates an incident in which Piazzolla got quite upset because Hanrahan was starting to "run down some rough edges" during post-production. Hanrahan relented and left the rough edges - you hear some of them in the opening strains of the Bailongo track when bassist, Andy Gonzalez, gets a bit careless with the beat as he slaps his bass.

Puchades is also just a touch careless with his bow early in today's performance but but otherwise he and the others put together a crisp and lively performance. It is longer than the original and an improved piece of music as a result. The final prestissimo section is particularly well done. I don't think the group has played as a trio before or after today's video was made in December, 2010. There is no credit for arranger but I would wager that the arrangement is by Pablo Zinger. Franch-Ballester is a long time collaborator with Zinger and I see references to Zinger's trio, which includes Franch-Ballester, playing Bailongo in concert so it seems highly likely that Franch-Ballester simply borrowed the arrangement for the evening. More recently, Zinger and Franch-Ballester have been touring Europe with the Zinger Septet and you could buy their new CD titled, interestingly, Bailongo, at their concerts. Hopefully, those of us who could not attend the concerts will be able to buy the CD or download the tracks sometime soon.

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