They make a fascinating pair: Pablo Ziegler and Karen Gomyo.
They make a fascinating pair: Pablo Ziegler, 1984 and Pablo Ziegler, 2012
They make a fascinating pair: the two video performances below of Mumuki
"Mumuki" was a term of endearment that Piazzolla applied both to his wife, Laura, and to one of his dogs, Flora. It became the title of one of his most beautiful works, composed in 1984. It must have been one of Piazzolla's favorites since he recorded it on seven different occasions and performed it frequently. For a work composed for quintet, it is relatively unusual in that the bandoneón is silent during the first three and a half minutes as the beautiful melodic lines are passed between guitar, violin and piano.
Mumuki has not been featured before in this blog and it is appropriate that its appearance comes through a video by Pablo Ziegler's quartet with Karen Gomyo as a guest artist. Ziegler was pianist with Piazzolla's quintet when Mumuki was very first recorded live at a concert at the Roxy theater in Mar del Plata, Argentina (that recording available here). He knows the work better than any living artist today. Ziegler is a jazz artist and often his current performances of Piazzolla enjoy the freedom that jazz can bring to music but with this performance of Mumuki, he is very respectful of the original and follows, almost exactly, the original score.For some time now, Ziegler has worked with the other three members of his quartet: Hector del Curto on bandoneón, Claudio Ragazzi on guitar, and Pedro Giraudo on bass. They are sometimes joined in concert by Regina Carter as a guest violinist to form a full Piazzolla quintet. In today's video, they are joined by a new guest violinist, Karen Gomyo. Ms. Carter is no doubt one of the better violinists of the day but, for me, her playing has never captured Piazzolla. In contrast, Ms. Gomyo is absolutely superb. It is not just the Stradivarius violin she is playing, she captures the very essence of Piazzolla's sound as defined by Fernando Suárez Paz in Piazzolla's second quintet. If we were to create an All-Star Piazzolla Quintet today, Ms. Gomyo would get the nod as violinist. Today's video is from a March, 2012, performance at Koerner Hall in Toronto, Canada and, unfortunately, I see no further performances together on their calendars although Ms. Gomyo does consistently include Piazzolla in her concerts. You do have one other opportunity to see Ms. Gomyo and Ziegler together in the YouTube video of Michelangelo 70 which is very good but not quite "pure" Piazzolla.
For the purpose of comparisons, I have included a second video which shows Piazzolla and his quintet performing Mumuki in a 1984 Venezuelan television production. The pianist in the quintet is a Pablo Ziegler with the loss of 28 years of age. It is fun to click back and forth between the two videos and compare the music. You will note a slightly slower pace in today's version and you will notice that Ziegler plays fewer notes today than he did in 1984 - he has distilled his part to its essence. The other musicians in the 2012 version stay remarkably true to the path defined by their counterparts in 1984.
If the videos do not appear below, click here for the 2012 version and here for the 1984 version.
To learn more about Piazzolla videos, visit the Piazzolla Video site.
Follow Piazzolla on Video on Twitter.