Tango Festival y Mundial de Baile 2012 - Buenos Aires was the official title of the event and it is appropriate - winning the dance (baile) contest at this event is the tango dancer equivalent of winning football's World Cup. This year's winners, Cristian Sosa and María Noel Sciuto, will travel broadly this year and be recognized and rewarded as the best tango dancers in the world. Some, but not all, will recognize the significance of the music to which they danced to win the finals. That music, featured at the very end of today's featured video, is a 1972 recording of Piazzolla's El Gordo Triste performed by Piazzolla's Quintet with vocalist, Roberto Goyeneche.
The Tango Festival was dedicated this year to Astor Piazzolla in honor of the twentieth anniversary of his death so it was fitting that the last dance was to a Piazzolla melody, no accident I am sure. They could not have chosen a better song - it honors not only Piazzolla but also three other giants of the tango world: Anibal Troilo, Horacio Ferrer and Roberto Goyeneche. Troilo was a mentor and great friend of Piazzolla. A bandoneónist and composer himself, he gave Piazzolla his first job as a bandoneónist in a "big time" orquesta tipica and Piazzolla soon became the arranger of the music for the group. El Gordo Triste was not, as some people believe, composed to honor Troilo after his death - it was composed in 1970 some five years before Troilo's death - and was meant to be a living tribute to the man nicknamed "El Gordo." The lyrics were composed by Horacio Ferrer and are less mystical than most, conveying some sense of Troilo's character. The singer, Goyeneche, was also a friend of Troilo and recorded some 26 records with Troilo's orchestra - it is no wonder his gravelly voice sings the work with true feelings. El Gordo Triste was first recorded by Amelita Baltar and an orchestra led by Piazzolla in 1972 but not released until 1976 on the difficult to find RCA recording, El Gordo Tristi, although a re-release can be heard on the CD, Piazzolla and Amelita Baltar. But it is the recording by Goyeneche that made the song famous. The Goyeneche version used in the Tango Festival performance was recorded live in May of 1982 at the Teatro Regina in Buenos Aires and is available in the CD, Piazzolla - Goyeneche en Vivo. Goyeneche and Piazzolla's Quintet appeared together at the Regina for nearly two weeks. According the the Azzi/Collier book, Le Grand Tango, Piazzolla composed many new songs for the concerts but as a courtesy to Goyeneche, whose health was failing, ultimately performed a concert of traditional tangos familiar to Goyeneche. It is one of the few times that Piazzolla included traditional tangos composed by others in a concert.
The video below is long and includes some wonderful traditional tango dancing as well as a performance by Piazzolla Electronico of Otoño porteño (at 24' 00" in the video) and an appearance by tango dancer legend, Maria Nieves. If you want to jump directly to the final dance performance to the music of El Gordo Triste, you can click here.
Again, if you only want to watch the final dance performance to the music of El Gordo Triste, you can click here.
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