Faust's deal with Mephistopheles was for ten years, Piazzolla's deal with Aldo Pagani was for six. One result of Piazzolla's deal was the 1977 work, Chant et Fugue, a truncated version of which is our featured video today. The video captures a September 20th performance at the Casa Classica (just a five minute walk from Akasaka-Mitsuke station) by the Japanese group, Trio Kardia: Manami on flute, Saori on violin and Ayumi on piano.
Pagani played a significant initial role in Piazzolla's success in Europe. He was an agent/promoter for a number of noted musicians in Italy and offered Piazzolla a contract with a steady income and an apartment in Rome in exchange for certain rights to the music he created. Many have suggested it was a Faustian bargain and, in a sense, it was. Piazzolla and Pagani maintained the contractual relationship for six years and during that time, Piazzolla lived comfortably and benefited from Pagani's many contacts in the European music world which helped establish his fame on that continent. Pagani gained a long term revenue stream from the music Piazzolla produced - roughly 30% of his recorded output comes from those six years. The royalties from Libertango, a product of that period and a composition performed by more artists than perhaps any other composition of the twentieth century, alone must have made Pagani a wealthy man. Pagani has issued and reissued the recordings Piazzolla made during that period and is the single source of many of the scores performed today. I have heard that he maintains a collection of Piazzolla's manuscripts from the period in a vault somewhere in Rome. He continues to be an active promoter of Piazzolla's music.
Chant et Fugue appeared on the Persecuta album and you can hear the original here on YouTube. It is performed by Piazzolla and nine Italian studio musicians hired by Pigani for the recording. It is a very rarely heard Piazzolla composition. The original work is roughly 6'40" long with the "Chant" lasting four minutes and the "Fugue" the remaining time. The two sections are in different keys, musically unrelated and separated by a mechanical silence. It would not surprise me to learn that Pigani created an assemblage of two unrelated pieces to fill-up the available time on the LP. Without access to the original score, we may never know.
And where did Trio Kardia get their score? I am only guessing but here is what I think happened. Someone in the trio has enjoyed watching the Lombard twins dance to Chant et Fugue on YouTube - watch it here, you will enjoy it, too. Note that the Lombard twins use only the last 28 seconds of the Chant and do all of their dancing to the Fugue. It is surely no accident that Trio Kardia starts with exactly the same 28 seconds of the Chant and play all of the Fugue. Someone in the Trio has transcribed and arranged the truncated version of Chant et Fugue they enjoyed in the Lombard twin video. My guess is that the violinist, Saori, did the transcription. After all, if you are going to go to all of the trouble to transcribe the work, you might as well give yourself the lead part in the fugue. Whether the arranger was Ms.Saori or someone else, they did a very nice job. It is not really possible to replace ten musicians with three but some good decisions were made on which parts to leave out and which to leave in. The music stands as a whole and the Trio plays it very well. I wonder if the audience at the Casa Classica recognized the uniqueness of the musical treat they received that evening - it was almost certainly the premiere of the work as performed by a trio. Maybe someday Trio Kardia will bring us the first three and a half minutes of the Chant - I'll be watching for it.
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