Astor Piazzolla : a great composer for all times?

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RE: Astor Piazzolla : a great composer for all times?

I guess, Vic, we both missed each other's irony: I took you (once more) seriously and you missed (once more) my point. Of course, what matters is the former.

What you wish to call or maybe label as "obsessive and blinkered absolutism" is, as correctly got it, linked with my genuine passion for this Music. What I learned in studying and serving this Art form was that the Truth is one as far as the structure and development of Classical Music. (The popularity of it and its implications is not of my concern, not even of my business). If you have flexibility in defining the truth about Music, then you don't need any passion, (you might have only the passion for the pleasure out of it, as Sondheim has put it : a pleasurable means to a measurable end).

It is indeed "arrogant" for you to say...what you proposed, but that is not the point, anyway. "How I am perceived" is the least of my (and their) worries. I am not here to defend my pseudonym or a virtual identity and to get any credit for...what? My great concern is the misconception of their position and not the "misunderstanding of mine". So, to use your beloved quote of Bronowski, I always consider I have been mistaken but not for what you think, while they never consider they may be mistaken as well...

The fact that you are a handful majority of people who think I am wrong for what (my tactics, the substance of what I claim or part of it, anything I write?) in this forum, it does not make you a majority out there. That's why I don't have to "consider possible..." here. Out there, things are much much clearer. Anyway, let's see when we can somehow trust each other and each other's passion (where applicable).

Pity we are still far apart, Vic.

Parla

 

RE: Astor Piazzolla : a great composer for all times?

Make them laugh. Make them laugh! In the end, we all will. At least, you proved to be a good entertainer, Andrew.

However, obviously without having any knowledge of what you are doing, you have been offensive, inappropriate and distasteful to some people you don't and will never get to know.

Anyhow, we will be consoled that you made them laugh.

Yours, in absolute certainty, (someone who almost never used postcards),

Parla

RE: Astor Piazzolla : a great composer for all times?

parla wrote:
Make them laugh. Make them laugh! In the end, we all will.

Is that a reference to always getting the last laugh?

parla wrote:
At least, you proved to be a good entertainer, Andrew.

I like to feel the tense is more present than past.

parla wrote:
However, obviously without having any knowledge of what you are doing, you have been offensive, inappropriate and distasteful to some people you don't and will never get to know.

I fail to see anything offensive in my postcard humour, but if I have offended, I apologise to all followers of the Church of the Latterday Greats.

parla wrote:
Anyhow, we will be consoled that you made them laugh.

Well, that's good, anyway...

Audio Editor, Gramophone

RE: Astor Piazzolla : a great composer for all times?

Oh, Vic, you don't read me anymore.

I don't know who is more absolutist : the one who accepts any label for the sake of communication or the one who exploits this fact with a view to keeping labelling, categorising and even defining somebody that he doesn't even know.

I don't know who is the real absolutist : the one who claims that Truth is only one, particularly in the very specific way of music making, or the one who claims that anybody who might be absolutist, in any way, is out of the arena (what a word) of the rational discourse.

Beware, Vic, the way you exclude, wipe out or eliminate things, notions and...people might not be that innocuous, while the terms of rational discourse you impose might not look so dialectical.

If you believe that definitions is a matter of rational discourse and their applications a choice of opinion, then, yes, we have not to engage in any kind of discourse (which, in any case, cannot be rational; it can be convenient and possibly pleasant).

Do as you think appropriate. You are not the only one who is dissapointed. Pity, you, the rational one, cannot see what is really at stake.

Best wishes (if they mean anything, anymore),

Parla

 

RE: Astor Piazzolla : a great composer for all times?

Parla - just for YOU old son I have ordered online a CD of the Sinfonia Buenos Aires and the Four Seasons. (Naxos)

It's alright Parla - you don't need to tell me what to listen out for! And you don't need to tell me not to get that CD but some other one...too late!

I do sometimes act on your suggestions - as for eg in looking at Beethoven's E Minor Sonata, so I will give this composer a try.

I shall get back to you in a few days' time, when I have finished tangoing...I mean listening to it.

Mark

Partsong

RE: Astor Piazzolla : a great composer for all times?

Mark, many thanks for the gesture.

The CD you chose is not the best in terms of performance, but it is very good indeed as for the program, since it contains the Bandoneon Concerto (in the CD they used its nickname), which is also a very special work for Astor. Listen carefully to the very moving and emotionally rich slow movement, one of the jewels of his music.

The Sinfonia de Buenos Aires is a less known work, but truly symphonic in nature, with unusual and very interesting orchestration.

Good listening (you'll find out that there is very little time for actual... tangoing, but plenty for proper listening).

Parla

RE: Astor Piazzolla : a great composer for all times?

Partsong wrote:
It's alright Parla - you don't need to tell me what to listen out for! And you don't need to tell me not to get that CD but some other one...too late!

DOH! 

Pause for thought.

RE: Astor Piazzolla : a great composer for all times?

I don't know if this point has been made already - there is so much on this thread - but Piazzolla is not a great composer but a folk musician in the line of Joan Baez or Bob Dylan and no sensible person would think of measuring them against Sibelius or Mahler, any more than a promoter would have put Stan Laurel in the ring to fight Joe Louis.

Adrian

RE: Astor Piazzolla : a great composer for all times?

Can you enlighten us, Adrian3, which expert has claimed that Piazzolla is a folk musician (!) in the line of Joan Baez and Bod Dylan (I never heard, even by experts in the field, that these two are folk musicians ?!).

The fact that Piazzolla's music is constantly recorded in classical labels by classical artists does not mean anything to you? The fact that his compositions are performed all over the world by world class artists, compared to the almost forgotten songs, performed only in specific places(mostly in US) of the other two artists, is a negligible detail, I guess. The fact that Piazzolla wrote specific and definitive scores of even complex works for chamber ensembles, String and Symphonic Orchestra made him a typical folk composer, I think.

Of course, no one is going to compare him with Sibelius or Mahler, but do we compare Ligetti, Messiaen, Hindemith or Britten with anybody else, when we evaluate them as great?

Parla

RE: RE: Astor Piazzolla : a great composer for all times?

parla wrote:
So, now you "rephrase" your initial statement, you refer to the "theory of discourse" and we add the notion of taste along with opinion. Much to my surprise, while definitions are not a matter of opinions, their application (on specific cases), is again a matter of opinion. Fair enough as statements. On which objective grounds, however?

The dictionary contains an objective definition of the word ‘tedious’ but the application of that word in specific circumstances (such as ‘Parla’s self-indulgent waffle is increasingly tedious’) is a matter of subjective opinion. Likewise, the word ‘great’ (in the qualitative sense) has an objective definition, but applying it to a composer is personal opinion. How difficult can that be?

parla wrote:
Music has not been bulit, developed and thrived on opinions or taste, but on very specific rules and definitions. We have learned to pursue excellence beyond our or anybody else's opinion, but on the basis of the definitions of what is the perfect pitch, the best posssible tone, the observance of Harmony,  Counterpoint, etc. So, the application of the definition of Harmony didn't come as a matter of our opinion, as whether we like it to implement it or not, but as a "must" each time we have to perform (much more to compose) properly a piece of music. The same for the tone, etc. What we learned is that definitions in Classical Music at least, exist and are observed. We don't apply definitions. Even in any aspect of our life, whenever we refer to a notion or a word, their definitions exist and either we are aware of them (so we can observe and properly use them) or we are not (and we ignore them and have difficulty in communication).

The ‘best possible tone’ is purely a matter of taste or opinion – you won’t find a definition of that in any dictionary. There are definitions of harmony and of counterpoint, but  how we apply those definitions to a specific piece of music is a matter of opinion – you can’t get a dictionary to tell you how imaginative Haydn was in harmonising the adagio of the Emperor Quartet or to evaluate the sophistication of Bach’s counterpoint in the Art of Fugue. These are purely matters of opinion.

parla wrote:
As for the "musical truth", Elvis and Beatles didn't defend, promote and develop any national form of music.

So what? Setting aside the point that the Beatles probably did more to create the sound of the 1960’s in the UK, you appear to be equating the development and promotion of a national form of music with ‘musical truth’. This is a total non sequitur. Why should this be the case?

parla wrote:
There is music which is greater than other, but it is purely a value judgement, an opinion (and taste) to say which is what. So, tomorrow, if somebody wish to say that his taste (whatever it might mean) and, therefore, his opinion (whatever might be implied) make him claim that Madona's songs are a greater music than Mozart's Symphonies is as valid as anybody's view. Very convenient indeed! Fortunately, I can assure you it doesn't apply but only in some forums like this one.

If you intend some deep irony in your ‘Very convenient indeed!’ remark, it’s totally lost on me. Why shouldn’t someone be entitled to hold the view that Madonna is greater than Mozart?

parla wrote:
Anywhere, either here in Asia or in Africa, there is an unbelievably great demand of the scores of Bach, Haydn, Mozart etc. Their music is heard in national television, in concert halls, performers go abroad in order to come back and teach their own people this music. Particularly, in Africa those who get a scholarship and succeed in their studies in Europe or in US, when they return, they are treated as "national heroes". That's the impact of Great music and of Great composers accross the Globe and in a considerable time framework.

Unless I’m much mistaken, there is an unbelievably great demand for the music of Madonna as well in Asia, Africa, Europe and the US. And it’s heard on national television as well – what point are you making exactly? All you’re saying is that Bach, Beethoven, etc. are popular all over the world  - something which, as far as I’m aware, is not disputed by anyone. So what? Or are you suggesting that popularity = quality? If you are I think Lady Gaga’s popularity far exceeds that of the Well Tempered Clavier or the Missa Solemnis, so therefore Lady Gaga’s music is the superior of Bach and  Beethoven. Is that the point you’re making?

 

RE: Astor Piazzolla : a great composer for all times?

So, Craig, let's see where we'll go:

- If we agree that there are objective definitions in Dictionaries, we don't apply them at will, in specific cases (occasions, etc.); we simply use them, whenever we make use of the respective word. If I call you "bad", it is not because I apply the definition, in a specific case, but, because I see you fit in the description of the word. You, from your side, won't say it was my opinion to apply the definition, but, based on the objective definition, either you will confirm or accept the attribute or you will dismiss it. So, if I call a composer or work "great", it is not because I decided to apply a definition, but because I identify the features and attributes of the definition in them. The problem, normally and often, is about the agreement of the definition rather than its application at will (as opinion).

- "The best possible tone" is "purely a matter of taste or opinion". Ther is no definition on Dictionaries, etc. Apparently, you are not a soloist, or even a player, of Classical Music. If you tell any classical player, much more a soloist, that his/her tone is a matter of taste (whose actually?) or opinion, the least he/she can do is to burst into laughing. One of the reasons, I decided not to follow a professional career in music (not in classical field, necessarily), it was the problem of not managing a fine tone. Soloists, first in the conservatories, then with other professionals and special teachers or seasoned and senior soloists and, finally, by themselves, strive, throughout all their professional careers, to achieve the best possible tone. If you don't find a definition in the common dictionaries, you can discover a lot when you get to the matter. If it was a matter of taste and opinion, every beginner would be potentially the holder of a great tone. He/She didn't have to try much. Have you heard the tone of a novice compared even to a mere soloist? It's a result-oriented process. You don't even need a definition. Then, comes the pitch, the intonation, etc. which are all measurable ends to achieve.

The same applies for Harmony, Counterpoint and any other feature of Classical Music. In the Emperor Quartet of Haydn, we discover (we don't apply any definition at will) the superb use of harmony and in Bach..., well, he is the Counterpoint Meister. He does not need anyone of us to apply any definition or not. His music teaches us the counterpoint. Musicians, Soloists, Conductors, Professors, experts try to cope with his Art of Counterpoint and Harmony.

- The national form of music as "musical truth" of a composer means, again, how well the composer in question used the artistic means of music (great melodies, superb rhythms, inventive harmony, original orchestration, etc) to develop the musical tradition of his country, or region or (in some cases, continent). So, Piazzolla managed to achieve the impossible task to elevate an extremely popular (street level or underground, in some cases) form (the argentinian tango) to a much respected music, performed, nowadays, almost all over the world by great soloists, chamber ensembles and orchestras (respective names have been mentioned in previous posts). As an old soloist has put it very well, Piazzolla is not only good music;  it is good Argentinian music! Something that even for Ginastera is not easy to tell.

-Of course, someone is entitled to hold an opinion that Madonna's songs (not Madonna; she's not a composer herself and not the composer of her songs) are greater than Mozart's work, as long as it's his/her opinion and that's all. From the moment that we claim that this very personal opinion holds the same validity as the view of composers, musicians, professionals and experts, then, we have a fundamental problem of perception not only of Music but of Art in general. And, definitely, we don't need magazines like Gramophone, since its reviews are mere opinions with the same validity of the Pizza delivery guy who can hum three notes in a row and, if he wants to express his view in public, we have to take it into the same serious consideration.

- You are mistaken, if you believe that there is an "unbelievably great demand" for the music of Madonna, Lady Gaga, etc. in Asia, Africa or in every country in Europe (I cannot tell for sure for Latin America). Particularly in Asia and Africa (which are the most recent experience I have), the only presence of Pop artists (forget jazz and the rest) is in record stores of the very big cities. In National Television, occasionally and only for commercial purposes, you might see some video clips and that's all. In Africa, it's even worse.

However, what I meant about Classical Music in major countries of these continents is that the State, the Authorities, the People are involved in projecting this music and its ramifications. The artists who achieve a certain degree of international fame, like Lang Lang, become and, to some extent, treated as "national heroes". Those who succeed in their scholaships are rewarded or awarded respectively, at national or regional level. Despite there are quite a few local singers, dancers, players of popular music, they are conidered and treated, in the best possible cases, as national "stars", with no further projection, in any other way. Of course, they make some good money and get an ephemeral fame. On the other hand, magnificent and very expensive theatres, venues, conservatories are being created all over the big cities (China, only, has over 20 cities with a population of more than 1 million), while very little or nothing is being made for any other form of music, except for some special consideration for the traditional one. So, it is nothing about popularity. It's about building the culture of their nations.

Parla

RE: Astor Piazzolla : a great composer for all times?

This thread quickly degenerated into a virtually unreadable Parla v the rest affair. A pity because its ostensible subject, Piazzola, whose music I've been prompted to seek out, strikes me as very interesting. Maybe not a great composer, as Parla suggests, but certainly not a café composer either. For the moment I'm looking forward to hearing more of his work.

RE: Astor Piazzolla : a great composer for all times?

I can assure you, Guillaume, it was not my intention at all to deviate (not to degenerate) the thread but I found myself compelled to respond to provocative posts that led astray.

However, the important fact is that you found Piazzolla's music "very interesting" (greatness needs time and more exploratory listening). That was the purpose of this thread: to generate some awareness about a composer who, in UK (and not only), is virtually unknown.

I sincerely hope you will explore his musical output as much as you can. If you need any suggestion, I am always at your disposal.

Parla

 

 

RE: Astor Piazzolla : a great composer for all times?

parla wrote:

Can you enlighten us, Adrian3, which expert has claimed that Piazzolla is a folk musician (!) in the line of Joan Baez and Bob Dylan (I never heard, even by experts in the field, that these two are folk musicians ?!).

Joan Baez is definitely a folk singer. As to Bob Dylan, he certainly was at the start of his career. And if the tango isn't a form of folk music I don't know what is.

 

Adrian

RE: Astor Piazzolla : a great composer for all times?

In this vein, Adrian3, Brahms, Bartok, Liszt, Kodaly, Shostakovich a.o. should be folk composers, but they are not because they use the folk or popular forms of their or ancient times and transform them to serious written music.

Tango is mostly a popular than a folk style of music; it was used as a salon music for ballroom dancing elsewhere in US and in Europe or it was restricted to the underclass people in Argentina. It is hardly a folk music, since it is associated with quite a few countries in Europe (e.g. Spain, Finland, Denmark) and Latin America. The Argentinian Tango became the most famous, but it's not the only one and Tango nuevo has been established as a form by Piazzolla, who tried to promote a more academic form, breaking the classic notions and ideas of his native music.

Parla

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