Astor Piazzolla : a great composer for all times?

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Astor Piazzolla : a great composer for all times?

Astor Piazzolla has been absent of any comment, let alone of a topic, at least the last five months, as far I can follow these forums. Having noticed a great interest, at least from a group of posters, in the importance of 20th century music, I wonder how they envisage the role, significance and contribution of this otherwise great Argentinian composer to the classical or even generally speaking western music.

My personal perception (along with most of the musicians of Chamber Music I know and have worked with) is that he is a truly great composer of serious and substantive music, mostly if not entirely in the tango (nuevo) form. His Music is full of rich and extremely meaningful melodies, second to none; some of them, like the second theme (the hymn) of Addios Nonino, the theme of Oblivion, the second theme of the Invierno Porteno and most of his songs are unique in power of expression, in heavenly divine melodies, while the rhythms are strong, assertive and aggressive at the same time.

His legacy in the tango form is given and safeguarded. The problem lies in his contribution in the classical realm or franchise. Quite a few people think tango does not belong to the "serious" nature of Classical Music. However, a good number of soloists and Chamber musicians as well as ensembles show a constant respect to Piazzolla's music. Kremer, Accardo, Barenboim, YoYo Ma, Patrick Gallois, a great number of guitarists and quite a few Chamber Ensembles have firmly recorded CDs on music of the great Astor.

So, are you aware of the music of this most great Argentinian composer? How much of his music is known to you and how do you evaluate him and his output?

Parla

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

parla wrote:

Quite a few people think tango does not belong to the "serious" nature of Classical Music.

First I've heard of it - who are these people of whom you speak?

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

I'm glad you're not one of them, Craig. I hope more can follow, but...let's see...

On the other hand, what is your view of Astor's music, since this is the main question of the topic?

(To answer your original question, just check the Classical establishment in its various forms : how many magazins, including this one, have dealt at least with the music of Piazzolla, except whenever classical performers involved; how many orchestra halls honour at least Piazzolla's music, unless a classical soloist or chamber ensemble is involved, etc. Of course, tango, in its various forms and throughout the years, has been a popular (originally street) dance music, even a ballroom dance. Its composers, with the exception of the great Astor, left some loose scores susceptible to various interpretations and performers are normally from the popular field, even in Piazzolla's music).

Parla

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

Parla wrote:

So, are you aware of the music of this most great Argentinian composer?

 

Errrrrrr, no!

Pause for thought.

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

With regards to minimalist composers Parla in a previous topic about Holy Minimalism wrote

''If you like it, though, it's fine, but don't fool yourselves that there is any greatness there or any development of music. That's why the movement has few followers and less impact in the evolution of music.''

I think the same can be said of Astor Piazolla's cafe-style music. Quite pleasant though it is, but I had enough after 'Oblivion' - sorry Parla.

Pause for thought.

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

I'm truly sorry, Atonal, but I think your first post was more true than your second. You dont't know Astor!

His music is not "cafe" or any derivative of this. It's very difficult, demanding and, in most of the cases, with full written scores. There is nothing minimalistic; on the contrary, classic forms along with modern ones are used extensively. If you consider "Oblivion" as a "simple" composition, try to perform it to the very end and, then, we talk. Great musicians struggle to perform it properly. On the other hand, its melody would be a dream of any composer of today or the past.

Then, try to listen to some of the original versions of Addios Nonino, treated as a Fantasia, where the two themes (the aggressive and rhythmic one with the sublime Hymn) mingle in a way that reach even the atonal form! His Four Seasons contain some of the more superb themes (well developed) in 20th century music, recognised (by now) by string orchestras which performed them along with the other "Four" of Vivaldi. His Concerto for Bandoneon is another example of great music, based on popular tango style. And the list goes on, if you care to explore it. You may be surprised, Atonal.

Parla

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

Parla

No I am not familiar with his music and never suggested he was any way minimalistic but I used your quote as an example of how arbitrary you seem to be in regarding what you consider 'great' music (and how quick you are to dismiss, on this forum, music you consider not to be 'great').

Anyway after hearing the sound of his instrument, the 'Bandoneon', (which I'm sure he's a great exponent of) I shan't be listening further. Unfortunately not to my taste. 

There are far too many other 'great composers' to explore in my opinion, including Arvo Part and John Adams, etc.

Regards.

 

Pause for thought.

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

Atonal, there is nothing "arbitrary" in describing minimalism as a mere movement within (or not) Classical Music and my perception of Piazzolla's music as "great". My views on the subject have been fully developed. On the other hand, I put the "great" in the title of the topic with a question mark, which means I invite opposite comments, views, etc. on the basis of building an argumentation on this, as I did in the minimalist thread.

As for the susbstance, it's fair enough for me if Piazzolla's music does not fit in your taste and that's your opinion. The only argument/explanation of your distaste for his music seems to be his instrument, the bandoneon (which, actually, is the instrument of a whole tradition in tango)! However, if that is your main (or only) "obstacle", Piazzolla has written solo piano and guitar  works; works for guitar and violin or flute; extremely beautiful and most interesting songs for voice and piano or guitar, works for String Orchestra (The Four Seasons, one of his masterpieces) and symphonic orchestral works (Tangazo is the best known along with a Sinfonietta, three orchestral pieces, etc.). So, it's not only bandoneon music. Give a shot at least to the Four Seasons or Addios Nonino (in a form without bandoneon).

Finally, my "arbitrary" view on his greatness lies in his musical truth, his genuine love of his native land tradition, which developed to an art music, and his great respect of the traditional forms, which, in any way, he expanded in a creative and original way. However, the floor is open for more views further than "personal" taste and mere opinions (that need no explanation, anyway).

Parla

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

parla wrote:

 his greatness lies in his musical truth   ...   views further than "personal" taste and mere opinions 

Parla

Here we go again.  There is "personal taste" and "mere opinions" on the one hand, and Parla's pronouncements on "truth" on the other.  

Vic.

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

You would be right, Vic, but Atonal mentioned himself that Piazzolla's music does not fit in his taste and that was his opinion. On the other hand, I just mention that Piazzolla's greatness lies in his musical truth. If anybody has a different view is welcome to develop it, particularly if he/she knows of AP's music. That's all!

In any case, my posts are as much developed, so that they could be a bit more than..."pronouncements" (of truth or anything else).

Parla

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

VicJayL wrote:

Here we go again.  There is "personal taste" and "mere opinions" on the one hand, and Parla's pronouncements on "truth" on the other.

And random quotation "marks" – don't forget "the" random quotation marks...

Audio Editor, Gramophone

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